There are various ways to improve agility in the workplace. But where to start? Let’s have a closer look!
Head of Business Development
We all know how important agility is, especially with the current rate of change in the business environment. Over the last few years, we have seen some of the amazing benefits of becoming a more agile organisation:
- Agile companies are able to compete in the market on a different level. They are better and faster at responding to new opportunities in the market. This means they stay ahead of the rest, even when markets change.
- Agile companies not only act faster when the market changes, but also when a customer needs change. This leads to an increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty. In short, their customers are happier and stay with them for longer as a result. This also leads to happier employees, who prefer to work in a more flexible environment with great customers.
- Agile companies are able to identify and act on industry risk at a much faster rate and therefore reduce the impact of negative changes in the market. Being able to see problems early on and acting on them is a superpower that only agile companies share.
I am sure that we do not need to further impress upon our friends in the South African corporate environment the need to be more agile. It makes logical sense, and even more so considering the events of the last few years. There is, however, the question of how we do this practically.
We wanted to share some tips on how you can do this:
Adopt a flexible work policy as part of your EVP
- Allowing employees, where possible, to work from home on certain days and to have more flexible working hours will increase efficiency.
- Reducing the time spent in traffic for employees has a direct positive effect on their stress levels.
- Allowing teams to choose the terms for their day-to-day interactions has proven to be highly effective in increasing focus and output.
Empower employees to take ownership of their work
- This sounds logical, but how often do we prescribe what and how an employee must do on a daily basis? If we create space for them to make their own decisions on how to get the job done, you might be surprised at how often the result is better than expected.
- Teams need to manage themselves to achieve the required output and be self-sufficient and self-organising.
Utilise and embrace technology as a way to streamline and automate processes
- Technology is an amazing enabler of faster work processes and there are so many options available to choose from. It is important to be careful and selective about what to use, but creating a healthy appetite and curiosity for new technologies is crucial.
- Just remember this saying and you will be all right: “Do not do manually that which should be automated, but do not automate that which should not be done at all.”
The most important practical tips for being a more agile workplace, however, can be achieved with a few basic people practices that companies do not always give the credit it is due
Make open communication an absolute priority:
- Train employees and model for them how to communicate regularly and more openly.
- Choose communication methods and channels that employees enjoy/prefer.
- Have multiple ways of keeping in touch.
- Make project status documentation and updates as accessible and transparent as possible for your organization.
Encourage collaboration on all levels:
- Ensure that all employees are part of a team and mix it up from time to time to expose employees to other individuals and departments.
- Create an internal marketplace for short-term assignments/gigs that employees can apply for.
- Support working teams where possible and institute annual peer coaching.
- Make a big deal about project feedback sessions and invite different departments to participate.
- Put formal systems in place to evaluate, recognise and reward individual and team contributions within all departments.
- Publish small wins achieved at various levels of the organisation.
- Recognise achievements publicly.
Create a learning culture:
- Make sure that employees know that their development is important to the company.
- Allow employees to design their own learning journey.
- Offer learning resources freely.
- Reward learning achievements.