Why agile organisations great and small gain the advantage

Building an agile organisation that can respond rapidly to change helps companies to retain a competitive advantage and keeps employees engaged, explains Dr Linda Holbeche, author of The Agile Organisation.

This article is taken from a series surrounding Relocate’s Festival of Global Mobility Thinking on 11 May 2018. The highly successful, interactive event included speakers such as Prof Dr Dimitry Kochenov, author of the Henley & Partners Quality of Nationality Index (QNI); and Dr Linda Holbeche, author of The Agile Organization. For more information and to find out how you can get involved in this unique event next year, contact: events@relocatemagazine.com 
Marianne Curphey speaks to one of the Festival's expert speakers, Dr Linda Holbeche, to find out more about agile organisations.The successful organisation of the future will be agile, diverse and possess a global corporate mindset, says Dr Linda Holbeche, international consultant, developer and author in the fields of HR, leadership, strategy and change.“The biggest challenge around this is changing mindset and skill set,” she says. “It’s about businesses being willing to shift out of their current silo thinking, and consider mobile working, virtual working and virtual teams, bringing together the best people wherever they are in the world.”

Changing skill sets 

Skill sets are going to have to change, she says, not just in terms of digital skills but also the ability to make decisions quickly, but effectively and in the long-term interest of the business.Agile firms need to be able to work across boundaries, bringing together teams of people from across the world,” she says.Based in the UK, she was previously director of Research and Policy for the CIPD, director of Leadership and Consultancy at the Work Foundation and director of Research and Strategy at Roffey Park. She is currently a visiting professor (HRM and OD) at Cass Business School, a member of several advisory boards and a Fellow of the Institute for Employment Studies and Roffey Park.

Developing a global corporate mindset

“Even for firms which are based in the UK and don’t have offices abroad, there needs to be a global corporate mindset,” she says. “It’s about being able to spot talent and bring people together in the best way.”The changes will affect the way HR departments function, how they recruit and reach out to people, and how appealing a business will be to potential employees.
“Some organisations have fundamentally changed the way they work – becoming leaner and more agile,” she explains. “Take, for example, local government, where staff numbers have reduced and working practices have changed, or building societies, which were seen as old-fashioned organisations and are now becoming leaner and more agile.“If as a company your brand is old fashioned and unappealing, you need to rethink the way you approach business in order to recruit the best people. Diversity can help to achieve that, by attracting different people and different age groups.“Bigger organisations may think that they have enough business as usual to ignore the bigger market trends, but they are going to be more vulnerable in the future if they do not move fast enough.”
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There will be different roles for managers, different career paths and more global mobility in the future, she says. Building an innovative and flexible organisation that can respond rapidly to changing circumstances will enable companies to retain competitive advantage and keep employees engaged.Her new book, The Agile Organization is a practical blueprint to building both agility and resilience at individual, team and organisational levels. It draws on case studies such as ING, the UK National Health Service, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Atkins, as well as on the lived experience of HR and organisation development (OD) professionals, to show how it is possible to build a sustainably agile business while enhancing employee engagement and resilience.For related news and features, visit our HR section. Find out more about our Relocate AwardsRelocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory 

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