Connecting Agility, Culture and Change Management | VA Benefits Advisors

Every company wants to lead their industry, and doing so means remaining competitive.  With the rate of speed the world experiences change in this age that is a very difficult proposition.  For an HR professional, it is increasingly more difficult to stay ahead of the curve.

So, what are the critical pieces to the strategy?

  • Agility
  • Change Management
  • Culture

Knowing that, how do the three concepts tie to one another?

We start with agility.

When it comes to this part of the strategy, what HR professionals really want is to be able to adjust at a moment’s notice.  But it’s not enough to just be able to make the change.  The HR professional wants to effectively implement the change in the organization.

Of course, that change doesn’t just happen at the drop of the hat.  It requires leadership and even some maintenance. 

That’s where change management comes into the mix.  HR Exchange Network contributor John Whitaker says:

“Change can and will come quickly. Change management is a helpful (and sometimes hopeful) way to plan the actions and responses needed during a change process. But you must take advantage of those times where you are thrown into a chaotic situation without the benefit of planning.”

Finally, that brings us to culture.

In addressing this concept, CultureIQ worked with Bloomberg to survey 300 senior executives about the Future of Work.  In that research, one of the first things they learned is work is becoming more complex.  How?  Consider first that companies are becoming more agile either by force or organically.  Executives know they have to do this in order to remain competitive.  Optimizing a talented workforce, predicting talent needs and keeping retention rates high are critical to sustaining your organization’s competitive advantage.

In fact, CEOs recognized that one of the most important factors in their organization’s performance for the next three years was ensuring their organization was agile.

CultureIQ says agility ranked higher than other attributes like collaboration, engagement, or innovation.

A company’s culture is imperative to its strategy especially when you consider this fact:  culture influences whether talent is attracted or not attracted to the company.  It’s also significant in the company’s ability to retain their best employees.

According to Gallup, 4 in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree their organization’s mission and purpose makes them feel their job is important.  Furthermore:

“By doubling that ratio to eight in 10 employees, organizations could realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism, a 33% improvement in quality, or in the case of healthcare, even a 50% drop in patient safety incidents.”

Gallup has studied organizational culture and leadership for years.  They find some organizations have difficulty in successfully establishing their “ideal” culture and attribute that to the fact that culture is constantly in flux and is not the same one moment to the next.

Earlier this year, researchers looked specifically at how HR leaders fit into the process of changing culture. 

“Our analytics show that in the world’s highest performing organizations, HR leaders play a central role in creating and sustaining the culture their organization aspires to have. As the stewards and keepers of the culture, HR leaders are responsible for inspiring desired employee behaviors and beliefs — and in turn, realizing the performance gains of a thriving culture.

By owning their pivotal strategic and tactical roles in shaping work culture, HR leaders can cultivate exceptional performance and prove to senior leadership that they deserve a seat at the table.”

For HR, Gallup set forth three roles that explain how leaders influence culture.

  1. Champion – Executive leaders create the vision of the perfect culture, but HR leaders champion it. They are responsible for turning words into deeds.
  2. Coach – HR leaders, as coaches, make sure managers and employees are on the same page and help the two entities take ownership of the culture.
  3. Consultant – HR leaders here consistently check culture metrics such as employee engagement, customer outlines and performance indicators. In this way, HR leaders can make sure the culture strategy stays on track.

By Mason Stevenson

Originally posted on