How to Generate Employee Agility and Thrive Amid Change
No organization is immune to digital disruption. When the environment around you is rapidly changing, having the ability to adapt is fundamental to maintaining a competitive edge — and surviving.
Simply investing in innovative technology is not sufficient for maintaining a competitive advantage in today’s constantly evolving digital business landscape. In addition to innovation, organizations are realizing the importance of being agile in the face of change.
Unless you cultivate employee agility, it will be impossible to achieve it on an enterprise level.
Employee agility has become a top skill in the digital workplace
While experience, specialized skills, and other measures of qualification will always be important, employee agility has become one attribute that separates average employees from exceptional ones.
In the digital era, in which change is fast and sometimes unexpected, you want people on your team who can drive ahead and embrace challenges instead of resisting them.
Employee agility drives digital transformation
What does employee agility look like? It’s a trait that is demonstrated through great collaboration skills, a fail-fast attitude, willingness to embrace change, resilience in the face of setbacks, and the desire to be a constant learner.
Agile employees are adept to work on cross-functional teams. They are keen to innovate and problem solve, and they take a natural interest in industry news and trends.
Since employee agility has a positive impact on digital transformation efforts, we’ve prepared these tips to help you cultivate it within your organization.
1. Don’t get too hung up on technical skills and experience
One common mistake by hiring managers is to automatically disqualify candidates who don’t possess the full list of skills or experiences required to fulfill a role. While different positions require different degrees of expertise and experience, many things can be learned on the job.
Agile employees can provide immense value, and their desire to learn and self-driven attitudes make the learning process much faster when it comes to acquiring the necessary skills.
Hire people who show a history of openness and nimbleness; it will be much easier to train them to constantly expand their knowledge in an evolving workplace.
2. Offer training that supports a culture of open-mindedness
Training for something abstract, like agility, can be difficult to put into action. Employee agility is a soft skill and it involves a different approach than training for traditional skills.
Developing agility means fostering a culture of open-mindedness and developing broad skill sets. Offer cross-training so employees can learn different functions outside of their specific role. For employees to be agile, they will need constant training and development opportunities as well as some on-the-fly guidance.
Make sure every employee understands the broader business goals that drive the organizational strategy, as well as how their role contributes to the big picture. Be transparent about the changes that are taking place, and be open to employees’ ideas and feedback.
Finally, know how to explain how employee agility affects the organization and individual employee success.
3. Provide ongoing feedback and improvement
It is clear that employee agility drives organizational agility, and vice versa. After initial onboarding, it is important to have an infrastructure in place to allow employees to grow within this structure.
Developing a culture that promotes employee agility, requires you to knock down a number of traditional barriers. The definitions of employee roles will need to expand and be flexible to give room for change. Rather than traditional quarterly results, employees will need a constant feedback loop to continually improve their performance.
4. Don’t let enterprise tech be a bottleneck
If you want your employees to move fast and grow, don’t let them get stuck on technology.
It’s safe to assume the digital platforms and apps you implement are designed to bring innovation and productivity to the next level. But according to our employee digital experience survey, only 14.5% of employees are “very satisfied” with the usability of their workplace software.
Poor usability on enterprise technology represents a massive bottleneck to employee efficiency, as well as their ability to be agile. In an era of rapid change, your digital tools are the vehicle that will take you from one point to the next. But your employees are the drivers — finding a solution to make using technology seamless and easy is integral to support agility development efforts.
According to the survey, employees cite inadequate training (74.1% of employees), complex and confusing interfaces (43.6%), lack of guided learning tools (34.2) as the biggest barriers to usability.
Overcoming these obstacles requires a digital adoption solution that will provide proactive, on-screen guidance in the moment of need, so employees always know how to navigate their platforms, even if they are unfamiliar.
Agile employees will drive you to success
Digital transformation success requires a high degree of employee buy-in and motivation. Agile employees are best equipped to champion change, as they are the most comfortable with diving into the unknown, embracing new opportunities, acquiring new skills, and persevering in the face of failure.
Hire for employee agility, train for it, reward it, and you’ll see the payoff in your digital transformation success.