Hiring the Right Employees to Work in an Agile Environment

The modern workplace is in a continual state of flux. Modern methodologies and technology are constantly improving workflow and communication, streamlining operations within traditional workspaces and enabling more extreme options such as remote work and outsourcing.

While the complexity of a modern agile work environment offers a variety of options for employers and managers to work with, it can make recruiting a challenge. What traits and skills are required for an employee to survive and thrive in a workspace focused on things like efficiency, productivity, and flexibility?

Defining an Agile Work Environment

Before getting too far into the specifics of how to find workers who will survive and thrive in an agile work environment, it’s important to define the attributes of an agile work environment.

The agile project management approach strives to replace the rigidity of a traditional office, eschewing it in favor of a more open-minded alternative. The agile approach prioritizes people over process and is laser-focused on productivity rather than adhering to pre-defined behaviors within the workplace. Among other things, agile work environments prioritize:

Transparency — already a building block of effective team management, it is absolutely essential when employees are working more independently.  Adaptability — required by an agile approach as your team constantly adjusts to an ever-evolving workspace. Flexibility — part and parcel with the agile experience is a willingness to adjust to workflow, location, and expectations. Simplicity — the inherent complexity of a less rigid office space makes a simplistic, streamlined approach to processes and guidelines important, enabling everyone to remain on the same page. Collaboration — essential for agile teams is the ability to maintain smooth teamwork and communication. Decentralized authority — along with individual empowerment, this is a requirement for the agile environment to thrive, considering factors like flexibility and adaptability constantly influence how an office functions.

In other words, an agile workspace tries to give employees what they need in order to reach their goals and perform their jobs in the best way possible. This, in turn, leads to higher productivity and greater efficiency, which translates to greater output and lower use of resources for the company itself.

What to Look for When Hiring for an Agile Work Environment

When properly structured and executed, an agile work environment can be a tremendous boon to a company’s bottom line. However, in order to survive, the methodology must be propped up by a supporting cast of employees who have bought into the agile mentality — which is why you need to make sure you’re looking for the right attributes when hiring for an agile workspace. 

In order to find these attributes, interviewing using behavioral questioning is one of the best methods for assessing candidates. Because these traits are often intangible, finding hard evidence of them is difficult. It is through their interviews that you will find the right candidates.

Flexibility

Just like the workspace itself, a candidate for an agile work environment must be flexible. This doesn’t just apply to the initial understanding of how your team functions, either. It must extend into the future as they adapt to changes in company operations and managerial expectations on a regular basis. 

Ask a candidate questions similar to:

Describe a time in your career when you’ve realized that your goal or strategy was not the

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