HR roadmap to agility: infographic

2 minute read

Agility is the next critical capability in HR, says influential HR thinker Dave Ulrich. In this infographic ThePeopleSpace looks at some of the steps HR must take to start the agility journey

Sian Harrington

Progress is being made in the quality of HR departments, professionals and practices, but slower than one would hope, says influential HR thinker Dave Ulrich. In his 2017 book  Victory Through Organization, Ulrich says there continues to be a 20-60-20 distribution in HR: 20% of professionals being exceptional and delivering real value; 60% open to learning and making progress towards more impactful HR; and 20% who are laggards, not able or willing to use HR to drive business results.

But now there’s a new way for HR professionals to make impact, and that is in helping to increase organisational agility. Agility – the ability to anticipate and quickly respond to emerging opportunities – is the next critical capability to build in an organisation, says Ulrich (the others being talent, customer focus, innovation, collaboration and culture).

In today’s world of relentless change, it is imperative to create an agile organisation. And HR’s role is help build organisational agility as a capacity to respond to the external change in which we live. For, as research by Ulrich, Rensis Likert professor of business at the Ross School, University of Michigan and partner at The RBL Group, and his colleagues finds, HR should focus its attention on the organisation as a system rather than on individual talent. This research, based on data from more than 32,000 people in 1,200 business, shows that the organisation (culture, capability, workplace and process) has four times the impact of the individual (talent, competence, workforce, people).

So how does HR start on this journey? In this infographic, ThePeopleSpace summarises some of Ulrich’s thoughts plus looks at how one company, General Motors, has developed new services through taking an agile approach.

Agility roadmap


Published 24 October 2018. Dave Ulrich's new book on agility will be published in 2019
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