A bouncy ball or a deflated tube – which one would you choose?

Modern employers prefer a workforce that is agile, flexible and resilient.

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The greatest danger in current times is resistance to change. The hiring goals of HR have changed over the years. The qualities they seek in their people are agility, flexibility and resilience. These traits are closely related to one another, so we shall combine them into one attitude — agility.

Agility is an attitude, which gives people a mindset that quickly aligns their thoughts and actions to suit the needs of a fluctuating environment. Agile workers are quick learners, respond fast and adapt quickly to the changing situations.

Lalit Kar, HR head, Mumbai International Airport explains the importance of an agile workforce in his industry. “There is continuous stress in my line of work because of strenuous IR situations and external interruptions. These can cause a shut-down at the airport. I call this emotive pressure, and every workplace has emotive and work-related stress. An agile employee will be able to handle emotive pressure and bounce back quickly. Agility is defined by how a person renews his resolution every morning and how resolute he is in his attitude,” says Lalit.

Lalit Kar

“I call this emotive pressure, and every workplace has emotive and work-related stress. An agile employee will be able to handle emotive pressure and bounce back quickly.”

Agility has become an essential trait in the workforce due to digitalisation of businesses. Technology is developing at rocket speed and its influence in business practices has grown massively. Today’s workforce faces competition not only from people but technology as well. Attitudes, such as agility and flexibility are the forces that give employees the resilience to learn from their mistakes and bounce back quickly.

When people don’t fear failures, they innovate and pioneer new trends. We spoke to Girish Menon, HR head, Swiggy, to find out his views on agility.

Girish Menon

“We are open to hiring entrepreneurs who have invaluable learnings from their past, folks who have the mindset to try new areas and take chances in their careers. Agility for us is a combination of bias for action and the ability to unlearn, learn and adapt to new scenarios /businesses.”

“We keenly look for ‘bias for action’ — one of the eight values at Swiggy that shapes our culture. We are open to hiring entrepreneurs who have invaluable learnings from their past, folks who have the mindset to try new areas and take chances in their careers. For us, these are clear indicators of agility. To summarise, agility for us is a combination of bias for action and the ability to unlearn, learn and adapt to new scenarios /businesses,” says Menon.

Qualities that make a person agile

Positive thinking: Essentially, an optimistic person will be more open to trying new things. In a workforce dominated by such people, the combined force becomes very powerful and can turn a negative situation into an opportunity. Positivity is contagious. A positive person brings about similar traits in other people in the organisation, thus influencing the culture of the organisation.

Experiential learning: Agility is about learning from one’s actions. These people learn best at work from their victories and failures. They are more open to trying out new practices and procedures to derive innovative processes. They act fast, do not overthink strategies and learn fast. On failing, they bounce back quickly as experiential learning through reflection is more important to them.

Adaptability: An agile person’s mindset is as flexible as an acrobat’s. For instance, employees who have worked in a labour-intensive, non-mechanised business environment upgrade their skill and work in a techno-organisation. Today, as companies are increasingly challenged in the changing environment, this trait in its people ensures survival and development at the same time.

It is observed that an agile company will focus on acquiring an agile workforce. Human capital is essential for the success of any organisation, and therefore, employers carefully define the lines for acquiring workers to improve adaptability in a volatile and dynamic environment. They look for agile, flexible and resilient employees.

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