Workplace Agility: The Best Way to Grow Your Business
The need for businesses to pursue digital transformation continues to increase. Accelerated by the pandemic, businesses need ways to streamline workflows and processes so their teams have more time to think and work strategically.
While digital solutions are a vital component of successful digital transformations, workplace agility is also critical.
Unfortunately, businesses struggle to set up a truly agile workplace.
Done right, workplace agility creates an environment that optimizes productivity and profitability. And paired with digital solutions, you create a truly competitive business.
To get there, you need a clear roadmap with goals. And you need to understand the benefits of workplace agility to inspire your transition.
Let’s dive into it.
What Is the Goal of Workplace Agility?
Workplace agility focuses on providing an enabling environment for employees. This environment allows teams to work more efficiently, collaborate better, and be more productive. All while reducing stress and obstacles to growth.
Workplace agility aims to simplify business processes and reduce inefficiencies so the organization can better adapt to change. As a result, a company can achieve goals faster, inspire team members, and improve customer satisfaction.
Workplace agility focuses on the employees.
It’s about reconfiguring the workplace environment to better support success. Some changes are cultural. Others are technical.
Either way, changes enable teams to access information better and enjoy a work-friendly atmosphere, which boosts productivity.
This environment allows organizations to make quick changes without derailing employee engagement, productivity, or customer satisfaction.
Even better, agile companies are better positioned to recognize market shifts and business challenges (often before they arise). This improves business performance, creating a positive feedback loop that drives further agility and employee/customer satisfaction.
How to Establish Workplace Flexibility
The results are clear: agile companies experience a 20% - 30% increase in their financial performance.
But implementing and supporting a flexible work environment isn’t always easy.
Here are some actionable steps to get you started:
Hire the Right People
The human workforce is an integral part of a company's setup.
Hiring the wrong people leads to inefficiencies. Plus, it can negatively impact workplace culture. Worse, it can create a toxic or stagnant environment for the business.
Hiring the right people leads to tangible results. But, it can be difficult. You can either do it yourself or outsource it to a Hiring Manager.
When hiring, be sure to:
- Determine the positions to fill.
- Determine the qualities you need.
- Write and post the job descriptions where applicants can see them.
- Conduct interviews to find the best fit(s).
- Onboard the selected applicants.
Without the right people, you’ll struggle to progress toward an agile workplace. The right people create a firm foundation for workplace agility to form.
Promote Influential Leaders
Choosing employees with the right leadership traits encourages agility in the workplace.
Bad leaders are insensitive to the needs of the company and their coworkers. This leads to frustration, disunity, and unhealthy competition among the staff.
It also leads to a drop in productivity.
A leader is empathetic, responsible, and admits mistakes. They seek ways to progress the company and create an agile environment for other staffers.
Evaluating your team can help you identify candidates with leadership traits.
Allow Flexible Schedules
As of 2022, 16% of companies in the US are fully remote. And more employees crave remote work environments. In fact, 24% of employees would agree to a pay cut of 10% - 20% if allowed to work remotely.
Organizations that don’t offer remote openings risk missing out on the best talent. If you don’t offer that kind of flexibility, your competitors might.
And that puts you at a disadvantage.
Workplace agility and flexible hours also allow employees to choose their work hours. In short, they can work at the time of the day when they’re the most productive.
Ultimately, they can knock out work quicker, achieve better results, and still maintain a work-life balance.
If your business can function with remote workers, you should consider it. But that’s not always the case for certain types of businesses.
Collect Accurate Data
Without accurate data, it isn't easy to establish agility in your workplace. After all, your team cannot work efficiently if they’re working off inaccurate or dated insights.
Accurate data provides you with the knowledge and experience to handle challenges better. With clear data, your team can identify challenges early on (or before they arise).
This accelerates their productivity, enhances their results, and improves customer satisfaction. Those results from feedback back into your business culture, fueling further improvements that impact agility.
The most successful businesses inspire innovation. Innovation means evolution. It’s key to remaining competitive. And a business either evolves or dies.
There is no middle ground.
Challenge your employees to develop and share (new) ideas with their colleagues.
To achieve this, put ego aside and assure your workers that you value their ideas. Encourage them to speak up without fear of criticism.
This creates a sense of belonging and boosts their ego. They believe they're capable of wonderful innovation. As a result, they’re motivated to do more.
Success isn't achieved without failure.
Creating agility in your workplace means your team needs to embrace the possibility of failure and the lessons it provides.
- Accept that failure is part of the process.
- Encourage feedback.
- Be transparent with losses.
- Reflect on failures and underscore learning opportunities.
- Discuss challenges and solutions openly.
- Set soft repercussions for failed experiments.
Embracing failure creates creativity, builds confidence, and increases productivity. All of which are key to maintaining an agile workplace.
Promote Employee Empowerment
Employee empowerment means giving your team the right resources to carry out tasks.
It promotes independence of thought. And builds the trust your employees need to be incredibly productive.
It also involves establishing a hybrid workplace arrangement.
The employees, in turn, feel more responsible and accountable. As a result, they’re inspired to carry out their assignments diligently.
How to empower your employees:
- Trust your team to carry out tasks.
- Inspire them to lead.
- Emphasize clear communication.
- Pay for them to attend capacity-building workshops.
- Organize seminars to update them on new business developments.
- Give them time to learn and grow.
- Bring in outside thought leaders to share insights.
Communication is key to an agile work environment.
It involves proper expression of thoughts between team members with ease and minimal confusion or misinterpretation.
Ineffective communication not only decreases productivity but also causes disharmony and hinders collaboration.
Effective communication gives each team member a voice. This increases the bond among team members.
You should have clear systems for communication among team members. Whether you use a project management tool, email, calls, or in-person meetings, there should be a system for tracking communication.
Additionally, everyone should know which channels to use for each type of communication.
Ideally, collaborative tools like Slack, Asana, MS Teams, G Suite, or Basecamp can improve communication. But without systems, even the best tool can turn into a noisy, chaotic environment.
The last thing your agile team needs.
Listen to Your Team
Employees quit their jobs when they feel the employer doesn't listen to them.
This is a loss of human capital and decreases productivity.
82% of employees have better ideas for moving the company further. But many employees feel unheard at work.
As a leader, you need to listen if you want your teams to be agile.
How do you become a good listener?
- Request feedback from your team.
- Take notes on ideas your team shares.
- Give your team time to share their insights with you.
- Run surveys to gather ideas.
- Meet with team members 1-on-1.
- Involve your employees in decision-making.
Nurture Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing
Teamwork makes the dream work. Collaboration is key.
Lack of collaboration renders an agile team ineffective. It breeds unhealthy competition among teammates.
Team members who collaborated on tasks stayed longer on the job 64% more than employees who didn't.
Most workers in Europe and the USA believe their teammates hoard knowledge. Ultimately, this means that the company doesn't use the best ideas to solve problems.
To foster team collaboration and knowledge sharing:
- Set goals for collaboration.
- Get employees working together.
- Create teams designed to promote strengths.
- Organize off-work social activities that foster bonding.
- Don’t pit employees against each other.
- Reward teamwork.
- Lead by example.
Leverage Low Code
In addition to workplace changes, your employees need the right tools. Otherwise, they’ll end up wasting time on menial processes. And that will negatively impact your overall business agility.
This is why so many organizations are transforming the way they do work.
However, the need for digital transformation constantly burdens your software engineers and budget. This creates bottlenecks that reduce your organization’s ability to scale while limiting resources.
Low-code tools tackle this problem.
Low-code tools speed up application development by empowering users to build custom apps with prefabricated code snippets on an accessible user interface.
In short, you can drag and drop new applications into existence.
Within days or weeks, your team can build custom applications at a fraction of the cost. Teams can integrate tools, automate systems, and create applications that speed up workflows and refine processes.
By streamlining business processes, your team can save time and increase productivity. Instead of getting bogged down by menial tasks, they can automate systems and get more time to focus on high-level, strategic goals.
Embrace Citizen Development
While speeding up the application development is key to remaining agile, it can still overburden IT teams and developers.
Citizen development can reduce that burden.
Citizen developers are tech-savvy employees who design apps using low-code/no-code tools. As business users, they leverage their unique work experience to build simple solutions.
They don’t replace IT teams and software engineers.
Instead, they reduce your IT department's overload. As a result, they help reduce bottlenecks and free up IT backlog by tackling low-level development tasks.
Ultimately, IT teams get more time to focus on business-critical tasks. And citizen developers can create the exact tools they need to do their best work.
Citizen development ensures collaboration among the staffers, driving workplace agility.
But, you need a structured framework to lead citizen developers properly. Otherwise, you’ll end up scaling inefficiencies while increasing risk and costs.
5 Benefits of Workplace Agility
Agile organizations are better positioned to succeed. If you’re on the fence about transforming your business into a more agile organization, here are 5 benefits to consider.
1. Greater Employee Satisfaction
A flexible environment improves job satisfaction since the employees set the working conditions. And there are clear benefits here:
- More Profitability: Companies with a strong and positive work culture could see a 400% increase in revenue.
- Reduced Employee Churn: Agile organizations retain employees longer because they often feel more job satisfaction.
- Reduced Costs: It costs businesses roughly 33% of a worker's annual salary to replace an employee.
- Attract Better Talent: Satisfied employees recommend their workplace to other employers and employees.
2. Increases Productivity
Agile teams are 25% more productive than their peers when given the same time and level of expertise.
Flexibility enables a seamless environment where workers meet targets. It fosters collaboration, leading to better business processes and increased productivity.
3. Faster Time to Market
Speed is the most important component to business profitability. The quicker you deliver your products, the more money you'll make, provided the quality is the same.
Agility makes it easy for companies to get their products to market. It reduces the time delay between product creation and market entry.
Your team can detect changes in market trends early and take necessary actions.
4. Improved Profitability
Agile businesses see a 25% increase in profits. This is because flexibility boosts confidence, motivating your workers to finish tasks.
Agile teams have more time and energy to innovate and think strategically. They complete tasks faster, see better results, and use that feedback loop to drive more innovation.
This increases profitability.
5. Increased Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is the focus of every business.
Agility in the workplace prioritizes effective communication with customers. It also encourages customer feedback on the company's products and services.
Customer satisfaction generates word-of-mouth marketing for your business, driving more business.
To get there, you need agility.