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Editorial Team
22 Apr 2021



Top 5 Pillars to Shape Organizational Agility as a CHRO

organizational agility

Agility strengthens an organization’s ability to proactively renew itself, adapt quickly, respond, and succeed in the changing industry and marketplace. The pandemic outbreak has been optimistic in elevating the role of CHROs who most often help CEOs lead their organizations into the future.

The Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) is the NEW crisis manager!

With the unprecedented challenges burgeoning during the pandemic, HR leaders became the frontline workers to help organizations steer forward amid the widespread uncertainty. They’ve become the linchpins that can navigate during the challenging era.

Many companies including Thrive Global, Accenture, P&G, Levi’s, and Walmart have started working with Chief of Human Resources Officers and their teams to keep their workforces supported.

Research by State Street says, “companies seen to protect their employees and secure their supply chain are more likely to experience a higher institutional money flow with less negative returns.” (Source: State Street)

Organizing for the future

It is the CHROs who have started stepping up to create organizational agility, respond to employee needs, model empathy, and provide support and inclusive leadership.

Before we delve deeper and talk about the five key attributes through which a CHRO can build an agile culture, let us briefly study a KPMG survey. This survey captured perspectives of nearly 1,300 HR executives worldwide to determine how they managed or handled multiple areas (purpose-driven culture, data and analytics, workforce-shaping, enabling technology, and employee experience) amid the continued uncertainties. (Source: KPMG 2020 HR Pulse Survey)

Here’s a broader picture of the survey:

Vishalli Dongrie, Partner & Head – People and Change, from KPMG also says, due to the pandemic, organizations across the globe now consider people their number one priority. As a result, a company’s human resources now emerge as a critical function to create business value. Not to mention, businesses do not create value; but people do.

Perhaps this is the right time for organizations to understand that the value of an HR is much larger than an administrator. They’re the leaders of tomorrow’s agile culture.

Building organizational agility

Agility requires two crucial elements, one is the capability to be nimble, fast, and responsive, and the second is stability, a backbone that provides a springboard for the organization. Every organization needs an anchor that remains constant while a bunch of other things instantly change.

Organizational agility is a strategic imperative, not just for organizations to thrive but to survive. Below are the five major drivers for CHROs to build an agile culture:

1. Adaptability

Enterprises need to create flexible organizational structures and processes that enable businesses along with leadership to make a quick transition during uncertain times. Open discussions across departments like legal and finance is a good start for the chiefs of human resources to stay adaptable and gain support.

2. Upskilling

Organizations need to implement well-structured plans to upskill their employees and increase employee engagement.

(Source: World Economic Forum)

The CHROs job is to ensure the right hiring and training is made to secure the organization with future skills.

3. Empower

CHROs must take the authority to empower decision-making at every organizational level. This is possible only when employees are equipped with complete information to make independent and informed decisions. Enabling more access to data can also act as a core component in managing strong employee relationships during remote work.

4. Responsive

Continuous and real-time planning is one aspect companies must start preparing for to overcome uncertain times. This indicates that CHROs must start implementing real-time planning to maintain agility and ongoing challenges like fluctuating teams. On failing, the chief of human resources could face challenges like an unsupported workforce or a shortage of workforce that are not at all equipped with relevant skill sets to transition amid the pandemic.

5. Gain control

Chief human resources officer must have the ability to recognize failure and immediately act upon it. If things are not going as planned, they need to try a different approach. Transitioning to avert risk and seeking different ways to measure performance are significant traits to stay agile amid trying times such as the ongoing crisis, and must be integrated into the organization’s culture.


Furloughs and remote work have wrought a sense of realization among CHROs about the importance of agility and why they need adaptability traits to thrive. Therefore, 2021 is a year for leaders to consolidate their learnings from the crisis by adopting the modern and agile ways of working for the long term.

The key to greater agility is by building an agile culture!

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