Employee Engagement, Employee Surveys

Business Agility: improve your Organisational Fitness

Lydia Watson

Fitness is often a New Year priority. With the chocolate selection boxes cleared out, it’s often the time that we get our lycra and running shoes on – making a new resolution to get fit. So what better time for organisations to work on their performance too?

How can HR help you achieve Organisational Fitness?

You might be more familiar with the concept of organisational health – focused on understanding if parts of your business are ‘ill’, recognising the symptoms, and identifying a cause or cure. But our methodology of Organisational Fitness is different.

Think of it like being a runner. You could be a seasoned marathon-enthusiast, or just kicking off your first couch-to-5k, but either way, your focus is on performance. You might want to beat your best time, or go a little further – maybe you just want to start enjoying running instead of suffering through it!

Whatever your goals, it means understanding your strengths and limitations – from good stamina, to the tendency to get blisters. Only then can you train and improve in a way that works for you. Ironically, there is no finishing line when it comes to fitness – but that’s why we think it’s a better way of thinking about your business.

Probability of High Cusmoter NPS chart

Our methodology focuses on 16 key areas that assess fitness in your organisation – from leadership to decision-making – giving you the insights you need to improve your performance. And the higher your overall fitness score, the better you’ll do:

  • You’ll be 4.6 times more likely to have high revenue growth.
  • You’ll be 16 times more likely to have the highest levels of customer service
  • You’ll be 1.4 times more often to be the most profitable in your sector

There’s a lot of different aspects to Organisational Fitness – but in fast-moving times of change like this, business agility should be a key focus.

‘Agile business’ definition

What does agility mean in business? For you sporty sorts, it’s about moving quickly, easily, and efficiently – involving speed, stamina and strength. And for an organisation, it’s a simple concept. Some call it being “nimble”, having the ability to “renew…, adapt, change quickly, and succeed”, or enabling teams to “respond rapidly to changes… without losing momentum or vision”. It means facing significant challenges internally and externally, and being able to adapt business practices to both survive and thrive.

The benefits of becoming an agile organisation

It may feel counterintuitive to be too changeable, or flighty, as a business. Stability, careful planning, processes and procedures – they all feel like steps to success. But life is anything but predictable. And since we’ve seen how world events can impact business, from Brexit to coronavirus, being able to “change course” is crucial – MIT research even shows that agile organisations get 30% higher profits.

Becoming agile, and prioritising fast decision-making, was already important pre-Covid – thanks to digitalisation, globalisation and other factors. But as it’s an organisational trait that is in short supply – with just 40% seeing their own workplace as agile – it should be your goal now more than ever.

A business agility model is needed to overcome Covid-19

The pandemic has been challenging for businesses – an average of £277,000 was reported lost by organisations with 64% predicting further losses, and 24% pausing their trading completely. 51% say they were unprepared, and 30% blame themselves for this, but who could have foreseen the impact of the virus? That’s why it’s less about preparing for a crisis before it comes, but having the agility to react and act quickly.

Research supports this: agile businesses were seen to outperform others, using quick objective-led actions, performance-tracking tools, and by structuring their workforce into dedicated teams. While everyone was forced to make some changes – including enabling people to work from home effectively –  the continued uncertainty of rising and falling infection rates, loosening and retightening restrictions, and the added pressures of Brexit mean unforeseen changes are likely to keep on coming.

5 ways to increase business agility

1. Live in the moment – fast!

Speed is a key aspect of agility. Planning, testing, checking, and double-checking all leaves you at risk of missing the moment completely. But by making quick decisions and taking action, you can either capitalise on new opportunities or mitigate emerging challenges. And that involved taking your hands off the reins…

2. Empower teams to take control

Some organisations form “squads” to encourage agility – teams specifically dedicated to particular parts of the business, or certain outcomes. They each have their own customer-focused goals to achieve, and the decision-making powers to make it happen. It’s all about empowering them to do their job, do it well, and do it quickly.

3. Stay grounded in your mission

A fast-moving organisation can quickly go off track. That’s why maintaining a stable sense of identity is key – whether that’s from the founder, if the business is young, or by consistently reiterating what everyone’s shared purpose is. If your employees know where you’re heading, thinking in the short-term will follow through into the future.

4. Communicate like clockwork

As always, communication is key. Not just for reinforcing your values and purpose, but for checking in on your dedicated team’s performance. Set a schedule of meetings, check-ins, bulletins, and calls to make sure everything’s going smoothly – without overwhelming people, and distracting from their actual tasks.

5. Stay innovative by being diverse

Innovation is the bedrock of agility. New challenges need different approaches, and you need a creative approach for that. The best thing you can do is encourage a diverse, inclusive workforce that encourages contributions from all. Diversity of thought will superpower innovation, and make agility a reality.

Track your performance with our platform

To be agile, you need to be organisationally fit. Our framework is designed to look at your organisation holistically – from your employee’s opinion of the leadership, to how empowered they are to do their job. By understanding your performance in these areas, you can take an agile approach.

Our platform makes that easy with leadership reports and manager dashboards to see employee survey results, all powered by advanced language analysis tech. Learn more by booking a demo:

It’s time to start the conversation

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