3 Reasons Why HR Agility Matters in a Time of Crisis
Posted on 22 December 2020
Mr. Paduma Subasinghe, Director of HR, GRI examines why HR agility has been a key driver in building business resilience and readiness to adapt amidst a global pandemic.
“HR agility is closely intertwined with our organizational agility and structure. You drive people to be more adaptable, which is driven by situations in the markets. If we look at COVID-19 and its impacts, one of the reasons GRI has been successful is because GRI has been able to adapt and be agile through its HR functions over a long period of time even before the pandemic,” notes Mr. Subasinghe.
The Customer is the Nucleus
For GRI, the customer remains the company’s North Star.
As a company with a global presence, GRI has staff working in different countries in diverse cultures and markets. HR agility requires it to adapt to these diverse markets and different customer expectations. To do this, GRI maintains a close link between the satisfaction of its customers and its employees.
“We are a global sales, manufacturing, and shared service organization. The customer is always our nucleus. But it is also important to remember that our customer and employee experience is inter-related. When you have strong and highly engaged employees, you are able to drive customer value across a global sales organization,” explains Mr. PadumaSubasinghe.
“Everything has to bein-sync. The manufacturing arm and all the links along the value stream in-between need to be attuned towards achieving customer satisfaction. And this daily agility becomes a strength in a crisis such as the global pandemic witnessed this year.”
Everyday HR Agility: Small Steps towards Large Goals
“Agility should not just be a word. It should be embodied in everyday organizational activities,” says MrPaduma Subasinghe.
HR agility is embedded through everyday operations via GRI’s Objectives and Key Results (OKR) process. Daily morning huddles at a senior level offer quick windows into the days' operations.
across functions, so that senior managers can make rapid decisions and support each other as needed. This underscores leadership commitment towards an agile, resilient business, leading by example. This agile process is further enhanced with a Weekly Sprint meeting where we track the progress of everyone’s key objectives. The performance management system at GRI also separates performance and development to ensure that organizational agility and employee development go hand-in-hand. A cross-functional emphasis on all processes ensures ownership and accountability among all employees and an ability to adapt swiftly.
A Happy Employee Equals a Thriving Business
A key foundation of HR and building agility within HR is motivating employees to meet customer needs. This occurs through multiple levels and at all stages, from hiring to developing talent.
“We spend a lot of time looking at getting the right talent, management of talent, motivating employees and rewarding performance,” says Mr. Subasinghe. “Connecting people emotionally to the organization is critical. We always try to reinvent our employees' experience to drive agility and get them excited about the purpose of our organization. Businesses need to work in a way that aligns both employee purpose and organizational purpose.”
A key part of agility in HR is knowledge building and sharing. Staff is given the autonomy to bring their own flavor into the work they do. GRI also has a shadowing process, which allows senior staff to impart tacit knowledge gained through years of experience to juniors. GRI works with leading institutes and business schools to support employee development, encourage new leadership and bring global best practices into the organization.
“Everything is driven on value and is interlinked. Our HR strategy is always aligned to our business strategy and agility is a constant, everyday process. Our focus is to create value, create purpose, and create new experiences for GRI’s employees. Building employee motivation and HR agility deepen the connection with our diverse global clientele, enabling us to withstand challenges such as this year’s pandemic,” emphasizes Mr. Subasinghe.