Optimizing HR Support For Agile (Team) Management


The effective interviewing and selection of highly qualified team-related employees is, by far, the most important aspect of any onboarding effort

  1. Employees in team-related positions should be given high priority throughout the entire process.
  2. Provide a detailed offer letter that clearly stipulates the key job responsibilities and known team projects, staffing, budget, authority, compensation (salary, benefits, and bonus and stock offerings, if applicable) and potential skills development and job/career advancement opportunities.
  3. Emphasize and illustrate how past team accomplishments have led to improved company and/or department business results as much as possible.
  4. Understand how your company’s culture and team success reputation is perceived in the outside labor market, especially related to financial performance, sales, markets/products, quality, among others. Respond to each potentially negative perception, whether real or not, as needed.
  5. Continuously utilize line management to identify potential external team-related candidates for any future position openings.
  6. Utilize talent acquisition system technology to predict internal attrition, provide job opening forecasts and use predictive data to consider the best qualified team-related candidates.
  7. Provide a 30/60/120 day job review session with the hiring manager and HR manager for each new employee in a team-related position.
  8. Continuously reinforce with the managers of team-related positions that they should always be sensitive to any employee who may be exhibiting signs of concern related to their job and/or team duties.


Typically, employees in team-related salaried positions are high performers who receive an annual salary action that, if appropriate, is based on their combined performance in normal job duties and team projects.  Some such positions may be bonus-eligible and, if so, any bonus usually occurs at the end of the fiscal year and should also be based on their combined performance.

  1. Fair and equitable salary administration is predicated on having accurate salary ranges that reflect the reality of the relevant outside labor market. Market-priced salary ranges from a reputable source are much more preferable than those developed from a job evaluation system because of the critical link between the salaries of employees in the key team-related positions and the relevant outside labor market salary data.
  2. There should be a performance review practice in place which is designed to evaluate an employee’s specific performance results, as measured against the key job duties and/or job objectives, as well as team objectives. This review should also include an evaluation of the employee’s interpersonal skills and business values that are included in the company’s corporate culture.
  3. When the employee is participating on a team project, his/her performance review should be a weighted mix of both job and team performance (such as 50% job/50% team), as evaluated by the supervisor and team leader respectively.
  4. The employee’s team performance should be based on: a) his/her personal team performance accomplishments, and b) the importance of those accomplishments to the team’s overall performance results.
  5. When external and/or internal inequitable salary situations occur (with the outside labor market and/or with other employees in the same position respectively), additional salary actions should be implemented to correct the problem though such actions may take a year or more to fully correct them.
  6. Rewarding employee or team risk-taking, especially when unsuccessful, is a controversial issue that must be resolved by your company’s top management.
  7. Since key team members are typically among the company’s best employees, as a general rule, they should be receiving a higher salary increase percentage than the department and company average, especially when they are making the most important contributions to team success.
  8. When a team employee desires to receive a financial reward in some other form, such as time off, such requests should be honored whenever possible.
  9. Team projects vary widely in complexity, difficulty, cross-functionality and importance. When a project directly impacts the company’s ability to achieve one of its financial, operating or strategic business objectives, the use of a team bonus would seem appropriate when sales, cost reduction, product development, quality, customer service, manufacturing efficiency and other key operating measures are involved.
  10. A team bonus could utilize a bonus pool that amounts to 3 to 5% of the team member’s base salaries. There could be a mid-term project payout of half of the bonus pool in equal percent-of-salary payouts to each team member. At the end of the project, the remainder of the bonus pool could be distributed to each team member based on their particular team accomplishments in relation to the team’s overall results in meeting its project business objectives, thereby allowing different percent-of-salary payouts for each team member.


  1. Most experts agree that well-trained teams greatly facilitate team results, especially on key projects of business necessity, including the development of new products, improving customer service, cost reduction, improving speed to market, improving quality, innovation and the implementation of other important changes. However, the key question is what should be the training content for team leaders and/or team members?
  2. Some training will involve typical conference training and meetings with management concerning the business necessity of the team project, while most will involve group discussions of relevant articles, research reports, and books that have previously been distributed to the team leaders and members.
  3. Some commonly-used, skills training content includes problem-solving, conflict resolution, and team trust and collaboration skills.
  4. However, additional training content will vary widely from company to company based on its relevancy to a company’s business and team project situation. Therefore, an appropriate group of the company’s line and HR management should review the potential training content subjects to determine which ones would be most relevant. To facilitate that review, here are some practical resources that should be helpful for any team leader and/or team member training.


  1. A company’s employee engagement program should be based on following simple yet practical definition: having employees feel that they are doing meaningful work that makes an important difference to the department while also satisfying their personal and job/career aspirations AND, simultaneously, helping the department and the company to achieve its business objectives.
  2. Since the recent Gallup survey indicated that only 32% of U. S. employees are engaged in their work, finding answers this engagement problem has become a major challenge for H.R. In response, it seems clear-cut that team projects are good for the company and good for its employees because it engages them in the achievement of the company’s business objectives.  Therefore, they should be supported by H.R. to the greatest extent possible.
  3. Any team project can have the positive short-term effect of achieving the project’s objective and the company’s business objective, but it also has a much more positive long-term effect of connecting the employees with the company and its management in a much more meaningful and practical way.
  4. By fully supporting a company’s key team projects and business objectives, HR can become more directly involved in the company’s operational, strategic and financial mainstream.
  5. Since team members are typically a company’s best employees, H. R. should ensure that they are given higher than average salary increases, provided with skills development that meets their job/career aspirations, given consideration of any appropriate promotional opportunity, given top management visibility whenever possible, have regular and ongoing performance discussions, given the opportunity to join future, more complex team projects and be included in any appropriate high potential and succession planning program.


Jack Bucalo
Jack Bucalo
JACK has led the Global HR function for a Fortune 500 and 1000 international company and several other large international companies. With four years of line experience complementing his HR experience, he believes that the CHRO or HR Leader should play a more direct role in helping the CEO to achieve the company's business objectives and strategic goals, while effectively implementing its administrative duties. In doing so successfully, the CHRO or HR Leader can become an equal business partner with his/her line management peers while becoming more directly involved in the company's operational mainstream, rather than being just an administrative afterthought. As a pragmatic practitioner, Jack publishes detailed and actionable articles on a wide variety on critically-important HR issues on BIZCATALYST 360°. He is also on the advisory board for other web sites. Jack's over 20 years of executive-level HR experience for which he was responsible for company, executive and Board-related matters, form the basis for most of viewpoints.