- Creating propositions, products and services from multiple points of view, means products and services have broad appeal.
- Having the flexibility to respond to changes in employee’s circumstance helps to build a culture of business agility.
- Making change happen inclusively, not just as an HR initiative, means it is more likely to be adopted.
When we talk about business agility, we are trying to express the need for an organisation to respond quickly to changes in their operating environment. Given that organisations, by definition, are a collection of people that need to organise with a common purpose and to achieve shared goals, people lie at the centre of what they do.
Each person is unique, of course, but it can be convenient to place people into common groups, and this happens all the time. Categorisation of people has also led to many atrocities and continues to lead to discrimination on a regular basis. This isn’t the purpose of this post, but is a reflection upon how, even in modern organisations, it is still commonplace to take a generalised view of people.
Creating propositions, products and services from multiple points of view, means products and services have broad appeal.
Putting aside the moral, ethical and legal need to treat people with equality, taking a diverse and inclusive approach to growing an organisation makes complete business sense. Considering this from a commercial perspective, for example, in today’s digitally dominated world, we now have even greater access to services and products for a wider variety of people. I’m not suggesting digital doesn’t also pose challenges for, and has the danger of excluding, some people, but there is greater overall access. So, we need people who better understand the diversity of the consumer and to understand the user journey of the individual service user.
Having the flexibility to respond to changes in employee’s circumstance helps to build a culture of business agility.
There’s not just the user journey of our customers to consider – each one of us has a journey through our employer organisation. It’s not so long ago that people would join a company straight from education and stay until they retire, but people are more agile in their careers today. Therefore, recognising there are different stages in people’s time within the company, as well as different stages in their personal lives, is key to their ongoing engagement with the organisation. There are planned and unplanned events that can have impact: the birth of a child that means part-time working; an accident leading to mobility issues; children have left home, so more time for work. Just because circumstances change, people’s contribution to the business should not diminish. The knowledge attained by the person during their time in the organisation is achieved by investment and it makes business sense to retain the value of the investment in the organisation.
Taking a flexible or agile approach to how we contribute as individuals and how we support people as employers, means we think about the value of the individual contribution.
Making change happen inclusively, not just as an HR initiative, means it is more likely to be adopted.
When it comes to being a diverse and inclusive organisation, it should be something that is established as normal business practice. Getting there, though, might require some change for organisations, in different degrees. Taking a multidisciplinary approach to this, that is people from all parts of the organisation rather than it being seen as another HR initiative, will affect change more quickly. Not only will multiple perspectives be brought to the plan and execution, but there will be an extended sense of ownership beyond the usual domain of HR.
Adding to this, agile change management – taking an incremental and iterative approach – means we make change happen in smaller steps, learning quickly at each step to inform the next. People like to see real results and see them quickly, so finding areas of successful adoption and using this to build confidence helps to motivate people to take on more change.