Agile HR with Leila Ljungberg

By June 24, 2019 Marketing, Others

HR goes Agile is not a new topic to circle all HR managers desks, but what does it mean and how does it work? Agile could for some be a business buzzword that companies throw around to sound up to date but in actuality lacking the applications of agile in their way of working. Again, it is about walking the talk. Furthermore, agile could be summarized as redefining processes in order to respond to the change or disruption in the market. This to gain competitive advantage through digital innovation and technology. How agile principles and HR merch can still cause confusions, therefore I asked one of the pioneers of Agile HR, Leila Ljungberg to tell us more.

Leila Ljungberg is currently the Head of People and Culture at Volumental. She has for a long time been interested in how the IT departments have come so far within Agile work methods, whereas HR and many other departments are so behind. HR needs to be flexible and responsive to the environment around it, otherwise, it will cost both time and competitive advantage.

How would you define Agile HR?

– I would say that this is about applying the agile principles on the HR work (the Agile Manifesto). An example would be that when we have to choose in between creating value for the individual or following the process, then we would choose to create value for the individual.

How do you work with it today?

– I work a lot with the agile practices as standups, sprints, backlogs, prioritization after user value, user stories, retrospects. I design organizational structure for interactions and nurture a motivating environment. I realize that I don’t know much about tomorrow but can maximize the value of today, that often means small improvements and first deliveries. I productify a lot! Like onboarding – a great thing to productify – let’s say you have user stories about what is valuable for your new employees – you develop an onboarding product to satisfy the most important needs, put rest in backlog, try it, get feedback, reprioritize the backlog and do the next version of your onboarding product.
Leila and Sofia talking about Agile HR

Leila and Sofia talking about Agile HR

Why do you think it is important?

– It is also about recognizing that work-life has changed, HR as it looked during the industrial era is outdated, we need to create a work-life that creates more optimal ways of working for humans, our main power is our people and their brains. And we want work-life to suit those needs. Agile principles are very well matched from that perspective.

What is the most challenging with Agile HR?

– Having people to give up on legacy structure – like not driving efforts from the budget, rather creating value after user needs. Getting over old culture legacies about employees not being able to handle information, making decisions or not being seen as “grown-ups”. Getting managers to let go of hierarchical power structures, transforming leadership to servant leadership. Also just letting go of ideas of “how it should look”  and “what we must do” and instead explore the unknown with curiosity and creativity. And then we have the question of agile for HR or HR for agile – of course, the combo of both of them is the best example. HR knows people and change – let’s put the focus on that!

We would like to thank Leila for this interview, and if you would like to participate in such an interview, feel free to contact us for more information.