“Agile working is defined by the Agile Future Forum as a set of practices that allow organisations to establish an optimal workforce and provide the benefits of a greater match between the resources and the demand for services, increased productivity and improved talent attraction and retention.”
However, as we strive towards an increasingly agile future – how do we marry the needs of our business and our workforce whilst retaining our culture?
As many commentators have highlighted – moving to an agile workforce is not an overnight switch you can flick and neither is it something that will necessarily work for every, or all parts of a business.
The foundations of your business are built firmly on your values, what you hold true to whenever you make strategic decisions. Moving to agile after all is purely that – a strategic decision:
Is there a need? (i.e. a lack of available skill),
Is there a demand? (is your workforce seeking to work in an agile manner, will this help with attracting the best and brightest in your industry?)
Will it make a difference to your business? (are there cost savings on office space, travel time and cost etc..).
This is where your culture needs to be something that is truly absorbed by everyone in the company. If it’s a set of values derived and driven top down this can mean that if senior management do not have the trust to implement agile working practices – this will filter in to mid management and beyond.
Your culture drives your behaviour and as such – if you culture is based around a fixed desk ideal then agile will always be a difficult thing to implement. This will require a step change in attitude, but also an adjustment in culture – which can take some time to achieve.
Similarly, if the culture is not supported by the right systems and technology this can cause an inability to communicate which in turn can cause tension and resentment.
As managers and businesses owners we have the greatest responsibility. We need to apply the logic to understand where agile could work and be honest where it won’t. We need to ensure the culture is robust and absorbed throughout our business to ensure that no matter where the workforce is, they believe in the business they are working for. We need to create the right environments for agile to thrive and set clear expectations and measurement to ensure success.
Do you have an agile workforce?
If you would like to learn more about agile working practices please contact email@example.com