Agile High Potential Employee (HIPO) Strategies: modern talent management

Agile High Potential Employee (HIPO) Strategies: modern talent management
  1. A compact summary of agile forms of work
  2. Agile work and process models: From Scrum to Design Thinking
  3. Agile in a team
  4. Agile recruiting and SCRUM in HR
  5. Values, principles, instruments

Talent management is a central strategic task, but many companies find it difficult to implement. Only through a better understanding of talent management, you can secure your competitiveness and success.

Understanding of talent management does not exist in either science or business practice. Divergent perspectives make understanding difficult. This article focuses on a subform of talent management, the “narrow approach”. It does not address the question of how the potential of each employee can be raised, but rather the focus is on high potentials who can secure the company's success in the long term. Winning, developing, motivating, retaining, and deploying these people in a targeted manner requires a systematic approach. The main features of high-potential management are presented below.

Our working world is changing: In addition to the pioneers of agile forms of work from Silicon Valley, there are also increasing numbers of companies that have mostly positive experiences with the “New Work”. Under melodious titles such as “Leadership 2020”, “Now” or “NewWoW”, they start initiatives to shape their working environments of the future. This page offers a comprehensive definition of agile work.

A compact summary of agile forms of work

From Scrum to Design Thinking: The world of agile forms of work brings not only new process models and methods, but also a new language. This executive summary gives an initial overview.

Since Scrum and Kanban became established in IT, these process models have been equated with agile work in many companies. But over time, these new forms of cooperation have developed into a holistic system that goes far beyond the two procedural models. What began with home office or open space room concepts was expanded to include management and organizational models, salary systems, and many other components.

Agile companies are changing the way they work together at all levels and in all areas. It is not just about the individual methods. Above all, you need an agile mindset, an attitude that enables hierarchy-free work at eye level, self-organization, and self-management. Only the mindset provides the necessary freedom, allows a team to take on responsibility, and develop a passion for their topic that is rarely found.

“If you adopt only one agile practice let it be retrospectives. Everything else will follow.”

Woody Zuill

Agile work is primarily characterized by collaborative forms of work that serve to identify innovation or development potential and to convert it to a solution with the highest possible acceptance. Whether in agile project management with Scrum, in innovation management with design thinking, or with agile organizational forms such as Holacracy: it is always about agile teams composed of experts from different disciplines to solve the problems of a defined group of people in collaborative cooperation. They take full responsibility for their product or service, learn from their customers, and make all the necessary decisions independently. With agile work, you are 15-60% more successful than teams in a “command-and-control” work environment.

Agile work helps to manage projects or ongoing developments in an environment of constant change. Whenever it is not a matter of identifying or developing new solutions, but rather of optimizing constant production processes, models and methods from lean management are more likely to be used in agile organizations.

Agile work and process models: From Scrum to Design Thinking

When agile work is talked about, process models such as Scrum, Kanban, or Design Thinking are mostly meant. At the operational level, there are various models that teams can use to achieve their goals. Instead of specifying a single agile method, teams with these procedural models receive comprehensive tool cases, practices, and principles - supplementary guidelines for the various levels of collaboration:

The 6 levels of agile work

  • With agile principles and values, the teams receive practical points of orientation according to which they should act in everyday life.

  • The agile methods of the frameworks offer concrete tools that help the team to solve a specific problem.

  • Each procedural model has different agile practices and rituals that ensure better collaboration in everyday life.

  • Agile teams work with different process models depending on the context.

  • If the context of the team changes in the course of development - for example, because a new product idea reaches the product-market fit - a team will also change its process model.

  • In an agile organization with a higher degree of maturity, teams make this decision completely self-organized.

Agile in a team

Let's look at the management method in terms of an agile content strategy. The starting point is clear. A content strategy needs a lot of different content that has to be played on different platforms - and not just once, but continuously. Sure, in many places - especially when distributing the content - you can rely on marketing automation. However, there are also limits to marketing automation, and people and teams are required to research and implement these strategies, especially when it comes to each content element.

This brings us to the individual players in the team. There are a total of four different types, each with a clearly defined task or assignment.

1. The Product Owner

In the classic sense, the product owner is the manager who mediates between the SCRUM team and the stakeholders. It represents the interests of the management so that the content is based on the central corporate strategy. Part of his job is to ensure that the respective project has a planned influence on the company value and that the priorities are set accordingly.

2. The SCRUM master

The SCRUM master keeps an eye on the individual processes, systems, and procedures. His task aims to ensure that all members of the SCRUM team adhere to the framework conditions. Ultimately, he leads the SCRUM team step by step through the process so that the individual team members can concentrate optimally on their work, namely the creation, digital storytelling, and distribution of the content.

3. The SCRUM team

The SCRUM team includes everyone involved in the project. This is where the product owner, SCRUM master, and the individual specialists come together who are necessary for the implementation of the project. Since the SCRUM approach comes from software development, the term “developer” has established itself for these specialists.

4. The stakeholders

Finally, there are the stakeholders. This is an interest group of people outside of the SCRUM team who, however, have a strong interest in the project's success. They are basically outside observers - and maybe at some point, they are beneficiaries. Nevertheless, here and there they can indirectly influence the content project through their feedback and comments.

Typically, stakeholders are members of the management, employees from other departments (e.g. product development, sales, customer service) or investors or, in some cases, customers.

Agile recruiting and SCRUM in HR

Dynamic markets and ever new customer requirements demand more and more flexibility and short reaction times from companies. Classic top-down management can hardly meet this requirement. Processes are too slow and rigid here - especially in the area of ​​human resources.

Agile recruiting - Scrum

That is why companies are increasingly relying on agility and agile methods such as Scrum. But agility does not work as an isolated solution. It calls for a new mindset across the company - also in the area of ​​HR.

What is Scrum and why is it relevant for HR?

Like all other areas, the HR department can benefit from Scrum. It even plays a key role when companies strive for change management for agile principles:

  • HR is responsible for the most important corporate capital: the employees. The HR department acts as an intermediary or link between management and employees.

  • One of the core HR tasks is to make these employees better and to guide or support them in an agile reorientation.

  • HR uses the new corporate values ​​to develop tools that guide employees towards agile ways of thinking and acting.

Also, the HR department creates important structures for future work in the company: for example with new processes and organizational structure, new salary models, or career paths.

These tasks partly coincide with the classic field of activity of an HR department. HR is increasingly relinquishing a previously important task in an agile company: recruiting.

This is now done by the teams themselves and also hired independently. HR supports you from preparation to help with contractual issues and onboarding new employees. HR is thus developing into a kind of personnel consultancy for company teams.

Your agile realignment is essential. The tasks of the HR department are extremely complex - especially when it comes to accompanying change management and the later intensification of the changing corporate culture.

The Scrum methodology fulfills the resulting requirements very well. Because Scrum is not a detailed instruction manual for individual cases, but merely provides a framework that can be filled out individually.

Which HIPO methods are interesting for HR?

# 1 Scrum always starts with a long-term plan: the backlog. In contrast to conventional project management, this plan is flexible and is regularly adjusted and optimized.

# 2 Individual subtasks and steps of the plan are defined in so-called sprints. The goal of every sprint is a concrete intermediate result. Sprints can consist of several subtasks - so-called tickets.

# 3 Depending on the size of the company, HR forms a team or several teams for implementation. Two team members take on the roles of Product Owner and Scrum Master, the rest do the actual teamwork.

Values, principles, instruments

One of the agile principles is personal responsibility. At the same time, the team as the most important unit for value creation comes into focus. In Scrum, the development team works in a self-organized manner after it is clear what has to be processed in the respective sprint. Working in iterations is another important principle. In the beginning, the essential functionalities are determined and then further developed incrementally in each sprint. After a development cycle, the team reflects in reviews and retrospectives, and the customer's feedback is incorporated. So it is a development process in which the customer keeps seeing intermediate results. What this needs is the most important question.

The elements mentioned can also be transferred to agile HR. I consider four principles to be particularly important:

Customer focus: It must be clear that a product, program, or process is made for someone who has a need or problem. And that someone is not the HR department. HR is not made for HR. So it is important to deal less with what one or the HR department believes than to ask: Which problem (of the business) needs to be solved?

Iterative work: Nowadays it is important to drive on sight - for business and also for HR. In other words, what the product that is to be created will look like in the end is not clear at the beginning. The product development takes place in iterative loops in which the conversation is repeatedly sought and feedback is obtained.

Flexibility: In today's fast-moving world, nothing is set in stone. Today, processes and programs must be flexible and quickly changeable. And it needs extensive adaptation to individual needs.

Nevertheless, HR can take responsibility for the respective process, such as in recruiting, and empower employees and teams to largely operate the personnel selection themselves. In this way, HR helps people to help themselves and makes sure that the recruiting goes well. HR helps others grow.

You could say that it all sounds a lot like HR work that is geared towards the employee experience.

And of course, the mindset of Agile HR is very similar to that of Employee Experience. But with agile personnel management, the role of the transformer is even more important. Personnel work that is also geared towards making the organization and its employees more agile. Which is not only geared towards the needs of employees, but has also made it its task to shape change. For example, promoting a corporate culture that not only allows collaboration across hierarchy and departmental boundaries, but sees it as an enrichment. This also means that agile competencies and an agile mindset are brought into the company and lived there more intensely.

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