Reading Time: 6 minutes

In a time of change and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever for SMEs to remain resilient, adaptable and focused. With teams working remotely, or flexibly across locations, ensuring processes and team culture is maintained is a key focus of many businesses.

What is an agile mindset?

The agile mindset is a set of beliefs. In business, this methodology enables resilient, adaptable and focused teams. The methodology outlines four key values, recognition, communication, trust and learning. When embraced, these are said to improve respect and collaboration within teams, improve learning and development, and importantly during these times, enhance the resilience and adaptability of the business.

“Building an agile mindset and culture offers a way to harness the power of the people in your organisation to find ways to be more adaptive, innovative and resilient.”

Agile Business Manifesto

Mindset, values, and principles of a business are not always visible, but are the most powerful indicator of a culture that will drive the business success.

The agile mindset builds an agile culture – of happy, high-performing teams who deliver value to their customers.

In a company set on the agile mindset, working style is typically executed in small team groups who work together in short project sprints. This allows faster progress, and greater responsiveness, through less hierarchy, more pride and ownership, enhanced communication and collaboration, and transparency.

Co-location was previously thought to be a key factor in the success of the agile mindset and culture – with teams side-by-side, communicating and problem solving was easy, and trust was quickly built. This is being challenged, as businesses built on the agile mindset go remote, and many find that they’ve adopted remote working practices relatively seamlessly, given the resilience and adaptability that the mindset instils in teams. 

However the speed at which these changes happened recently, can mean that not all of the processes and platforms or tools were in place for remote teams to work effectively. With remote work being embraced more widely, and set to stay even post-pandemic, ensuring teams remain connected is a key management focus.

Swingvy recently hosted a webinar in partnership with Decode HR, where we shared our tips on how an agile mindset and culture within businesses can translate and be retained across dispersed teams. Below are some of the insights that were shared.

Download the presentation slides, and watch the on-demand webinar video below.

During the webinar, we asked attendees if their business was currently using the agile methodology. The majority (38%) agreed with the vision and values of the agile mindset but had not yet fully implemented it within their business. 17% were actively using the agile mindset, and a further 17% were looking to adopt it soon.

Tips for retaining an agile mindset and culture in remote teams.

Many people love remote working. And many business leaders are reaping the benefits of reported higher productivity of remote staff. However, this has not come without its challenges. We’ve lost the casual conversation with our colleagues, body language in our communication, and insights and ideas that can be generated through casual encounters. As companies gear up to remain remote in the long-term it’s time to evaluate how we can continue to engage with our people in meaningful ways and continue to deliver value to our customers.

Focus on People Agility

Without a central office, it’s more important than ever to make people feel valued and like they have a voice. Building casual conversation into scheduled 1:1 calls is a great avenue to keep open communication lines with your team. It’s important to not only discuss work, but to check in on how they’re doing personally, and to understand their responsibilities outside of work. What is happening in personal lives affects how people show up. When you seek to understand people on an individual level before making decisions for the team, you will build your teams’ trust in your decisions. 

When conflict arises in or between remote teams, seek to understand, and ask ‘why’, rather than presenting answers. Conflict can turn into collaboration with understanding and can build stronger teams.

As communication moves online, many people are suffering fatigue from so many online meetings. To support this, ensure that meetings are action-oriented, and encourage preparation before calls. Making sure people have time in their days to get work done on an individual level is as important as enabling teams to talk, share, and learn together.

Adjust Development, Training and Recognition Structure

Taking an agile approach to results and performance coaching means adjusting current processes to align with new ways of doing business. Without seeing your team every day, it may be easy to forget to check-in, and keep up with the work and projects your team are completing. 

However, as people navigate their role and responsibilities alone at home, regular check-ins and providing feedback is more important than ever. Rather than limiting feedback to only direct managers, encourage recognition by peers and other team leaders, and also give people a chance to evaluate themselves. They know what they are doing, and as it may be less seen in a remote environment, give your people a platform to talk about their achievements and progress. 

Performance coaching and training opportunities can keep your people motivated during trying times.

Enable Easy Communication and Collaboration

According to the National University Health System’s (NUHS) Mind Science Centre, 61% of people working from home feel stressed and burned out

Productivity may have increased, but many are suffering from longer working hours, without the previous divide between work and home life.

So how can you help? Equip them with the right tools to communicate effectively. 

People are used to having people around in a work setting and can feel lost while working siloed at home. Implementing tools to allow instant messaging and video conferencing between and within teams, can help your company stay connected. Keeping the video turned on during meetings helps to maintain the feeling of connection, as supports communication with visible body language.

80% say they would have better relationships with more frequent team communication while remote working.

Harvard Business Review, Workplace Trends Study, March 2020

When choosing the right tools for your team, here are some considerations: 

  • What functionality do you need?
  • What information will be sent over this platform? Are their security considerations that need to be addressed?
  • How easy is the user experience and the interface to understand and pick up, even in teams who may not have previously needed to be very technologically savvy? 
  • Are the tools compatible with other software you’re using? Can connections and integrations be made?

Embrace Transparency and Accessibility

According to a TinyPulse Engagement Survey, transparency is the #1 contributing factor to employee happiness. 

With many teams remote, and some implementing flex work between home and the office, ensuring everyone has access to the same information and work documents is an essential step to improving transparency. Get your whole team working from the same page – digitally. This year has seen the rapid acceleration of timelines to digital transformation for many businesses, however, many remain reliant on paper processes. Almost 60% of businesses report that up to 30% of their processes still rely on paper. 

Remove paper processes and streamline workflows by digitising content and making use of cloud-based and mobile enabled platforms. This will improve the transparency and transfer of company information and ensure all work is accessible to your team no matter where they are.

Updating user access and security settings, ensuring your people have access to their own records and employment information, and implementing project management tools so everyone is aware of what’s happening on projects are great steps to ensuring productivity is maintained, without added workload.

Who is Swingvy?

Swingvy is an all-in-one cloud-based Human Resource Management System (HRMS). Swingvy’s mission is to create a workplace where work empowers people. By seamlessly connecting all HR information — HR, leave, claims, payroll and benefits — Swingvy automates all administrative work without hassle.

Posted by:Katie Ash