How to Build a Culture of Organizational Agility

Current State

Forget static structures. In today’s whirlwind of disruption, agility reigns supreme. Organizations that can adapt, pivot and conquer change are the ones poised for success. Organizational agility is about anticipating customer needs at lightning speed, delivering value in record time and seizing new opportunities as they emerge. This era of digital transformation demands a relentless focus on agility – the ability to outpace the competition by constantly iterating, evolving and staying ahead of the curve.


In today’s unfolding narrative, where change is constant, traditional organizational structures often struggle to keep pace. Designed for a more static environment, these frameworks lose their footing amid the continuous plot twists that define our current reality. Additionally, many organizations lack the agility to effectively navigate this unfolding narrative or leverage new technologies to adapt on the fly.


Many organizations are not aligned on a common vision of how to adapt to change and control their evolution and success. The potential consequences to the workforce have to be considered.

  • Increased Pressure: The fast-paced environment of agile organizations can lead to feelings of pressure and stress for employees. Meeting tight deadlines and constantly changing priorities can be demanding.
  • Unclear Roles: Agile structures can sometimes lead to unclear roles and responsibilities. This can create confusion and frustration for employees.
  • Skill Gaps: The shift to an agile environment may require employees to develop new skills. Organizations need to provide adequate training and support to help employees adapt.
  • Work-Life Balance: The constant change and pressure in an agile environment can make it difficult for employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Organizations need to be mindful of this and promote healthy work practices.

The good news is, Brandon Hall Group™ is seeing organizations prioritizing fixes to these potentially negative impacts based on responses to the 2024 HCM Outlook Study. Consider where your organization lines up with these priorities.

Critical Questions

  • Are our organizational structures flexible and adaptable to changing needs?
  • Does our leadership team value and encourage experimentation and calculated risks?
  • Do our employees have the skills and knowledge needed to work in an agile environment?
  • Are our processes streamlined and efficient, allowing for rapid iteration and learning?
  • Do we have a culture of open communication and psychological safety?

Brandon Hall GroupPOV

Organizations must have a culture that views change as an opportunity to drive innovation to improve the organization and better serve customers. We believe that organizational agility is an outcome of an engaged workforce. Therefore, employers must focus on these drivers of engagement:

Drivers of Engagement to Build Organizational Agility


Employees must be physically and emotionally healthy to do their best work, adapt to change and innovate to improve individual and organizational performance. If employees have the tools to track and improve their well-being and there’s enough flexibility on the job to balance work with personal aspirations and responsibilities, they are in a better position to innovate and evolve.


Having a strong connection to the organization helps employees feel confident adapting to new challenges. A sense of belonging is built from the hiring process, onboarding, having supportive managers, the right tools to do the job, an understanding of organizational values, an affinity to organizational leaders and the freedom to be one’s true self at work without fear of scorn or reprisal.

Feeling valued

It is much easier for employees to put forth the required effort to evolve and change if they feel valued. That comes from having performance goals tied to career aspirations, receiving feedback and coaching from managers and peers, being compensated fairly and equitably and recognition for meaningful contributions. To be agile, employees must feel their contributions matter. Otherwise, why should they have to continually evolve and adapt?

Employee development

For employees to grow and change with the organization, there must be opportunities for continuous learning that go beyond courses to coaching, mentoring and learning from peers through a variety of networks, participation in team practices and having time to practice new skills.

Career advancement

There must be something to employment besides a paycheck and helping the organization grow. There must be opportunities for career advancement. Why should employees keep evolving if it doesn’t fulfill their professional goals? There must be mutual benefits for employee and employer if the organization is going to be truly agile. Career advancement does not necessarily mean moving up the management ladder. It means being able to grow within one’s current position or perhaps changing course in their career.

Alignment with the organization’s mission and goals

This is imperative for employees to grow, change and adapt. Employees, especially younger generations, want to know what the organization stands for. Many want to actively participate in demonstrating those values within the organization and in the community.

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Claude Werder



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Claude Werder

Claude J. Werder Senior Vice President and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group Claude Werder runs Brandon Hall Group’s Talent Management, Leadership Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) practices. His specific areas of focus include how organizations must transform culturally and strategically to meet the needs of the emerging workforce and workplace. Claude develops insights and solutions on employee experience, leadership, coaching, talent development, assessments, culture, DE&I, and other topics to help members and clients make talent development a competitive business advantage now and in the evolving future of work. Before joining Brandon Hall Group in 2012, Claude was an HR consultant and also spent more than 25 years as an executive and people leader for media and news organizations. This included a decade as the producer of the HR Technology Conference and Expo. He helped transform it from a small event to the world’s largest HR technology conference. Claude is a judge for the global Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards and Excellence in Technology Awards, contributes to the company’s HCM certification programs, and produces the firm’s annual HCM Excellence Conference. He is also a certified executive and leadership coach. He lives in Boynton Beach, FL.

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