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What if agility was not only about tech?

by Arielle Rasoanaivo
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Our latest Peer to Peer Live session brought together digital learning managers and training directors who discussed workplace agility. The workshop was facilitated by Xavier Van Dieren, CEO of NOW.be and Yvan Demumieux, pedagogical coordinator at NOW.be, and was the occasion for all participants to talk about their ideas and challenges about agility.

What is agility?

When we mention agility, we often associate it to agile methodologies, developed with precise steps. Agile methodologies are based on the capacity of creating fast, thanks to iteration and to the engagement of all participants in the organization.

An agile workplace is globally an organization that is not static in its processes. It can adapt easily to unforeseen events and new trends, while staying truthful to a strategic, operational and human continuity.

Today, the scope of agility is global. It does not only relate to the production. Agility can be used for a multitude of different topics, especially when it comes to management. “We wanted to widen the horizons of the term agility”, Xavier Van Dieren stated.

Now more than ever, companies must evolve in a moving world, made of unexpected events and perpetual twists. For example, due to the sanitary crisis, companies had to rethink their work and production processes. Hybrid work now holds a primordial spot.

What challenges does agility imply?

The following question was asked to the participants : “What are the agility challenges in your activity area or points of interest?”. The challenges could enter the scope of management, agile methods, hybrid mode or even be related to a larger view of agility.

Further reading: Flex office and teleworking: what are the benefits for the company?

The 4 challenges below emerged from the brainstorming session: 

  1. Fostering the sense of belonging when working remotely
  2. Working according to an experimental methodology
  3. Managing and engaging the participants remotely, staying aware of the non verbal signals
  4. Providing support to manage change in the workplace

All participants split up into subgroups to discuss the topics, exchange ideas and suggest solutions.

1. Fostering the sense of belonging when working remotely

Since the beginning of the sanitary crisis, hybrid work, meaning the teams that alternate between in-person and remote work, has considerably increased. 

If this new working mode calls into question the sense of belonging due to the decrease of team interactions or the absence of marks of a physical environment, there are solutions to boost it. 

How to maintain or generate the sense of belonging to your team members?  How to foster cooperation within the teams?

Suggested solutions: 

  • Working on common and/or transversal projects to engage more interactions, promote collaboration and stimulate team spirit.
  • Gather teams in collaborative spaces to go back to shared moments and more conviviality.

Furhter reading: 5 tips to boost team building among your teleworking staff.

2. Working according to an experimental methodology

When creating training programs, it is necessary to update them often.

How to use agile methods to design training programs? 

Suggested solutions : 

  • Creating scenarios to try new training activities
  • Trying them out on samples representative of the future participants
  • If the tests come out great, implement new activities
  • Regularly test the participants, in order to act iteratively and not based on tunnel mode

3. Managing and engaging the participants remotely, staying aware of the non verbal signals

During the covid crisis, the needs in professional training did not decrease. Nevertheless, it was no longer possible to gather the participants in one place. Training sessions were held online and it was sometimes difficult for the facilitator to provide support to the participants, especially when they did not turn on their camera or microphone. 

How to know if the participants are committed during the sessions? How to identify misunderstandings in a session?

Suggested solutions : 

  • A speaker can be reached in order to explain one’s misunderstanding, through private channels. This person guarantees the link between the training instructor and the participants
  • Making camera mandatory, so the training instructors can detect non verbal signals
  • Setting up sessions for serious games, ice-breakers in order for the participants to know each other
  • Creating tools for the participants to talk in private, out loud, as they would do in-person

Further reading: How can you give an effective virtual class?

4. Providing support to manage change in the workplace

When setting up training, it is hard to recognise we took the wrong turn and that it’s time to change. It is also hard for the teams to adapt to change, to the use of new softwares, to the setting of a new work methodology or new purposes. 

How to figure out in time you took the wrong turn? How to de-emphasize change?

Suggested solutions : 

  • Regularly make checkpoints in order to follow up on the progress of the project
  • Company play : stage situations so they de-emphasize change.

Companies that were present during the session : Sorbonne Université, Lactalis, Korian, Jungheinrich, Ubisoft, Raynet, Thales, Disneyland Paris, Groupe Cassous, Kedge Business School, Lyon Métropole Habitat, Ozon, Aftral, Lectra, Paris Habitat, Orange, Aprolis, La Poste Groupe, Hublot, Cegid, New Learning Solutions.

Glowbl is a collaborative platform designed for hybrid work. To find out more, reach out to our teams or try it for free.