May 18.2017, 4.31pm
Driving Organisational Change: 4 Reasons Why HR and IT Need to Collaborate
Have you ever wondered how the city of Venice rose from the salt marshes between over 100 sandy islands? The first thing it needed was engineers who knew how to drive wooden stakes into the marsh and establish solid foundations on which the city could rise. But it also needed leaders to steer the fledgeling community’s growth and create an organisational structure that could survive and thrive.
In many ways, it’s a metaphor for the situation that’s currently facing HR. Now more than ever, HR and IT must become partners if they are to provide the workplace technology needed to support an organisation. If your company ignores digital transformation, it’s destined to sink.
Technology can give HR the tools you need to innovate but you must work closely with the people providing these tools to achieve your business goals. Integrated HR systems are increasingly providing the technological infrastructure on which global corporations are built. They provide the basis for people management, data analytics, organisational change and strategic decision-making.
Just as the early Venetian leaders needed to work with the city’s builders to provide the right foundations, HR has to collaborate with IT and work from the same set of blueprints. Organisational success is more dependent than ever on the technology that you adopt and the strategic partnership you form with IT. So why is it so important?
Getting the right system for you
There are numerous HR platforms out there – choosing the right one is critical. HR and IT need to work together to ensure they choose the technology that fits the unique needs and requirements of the organisation. IT are also going to play a key role in the implementation and integration of any new system – making sure it works seamlessly with your current IT infrastructure.
HR departments are increasingly becoming drivers for organisational efficiency as technology frees them up from mundane admin tasks and allows them to focus on strategic decision-making. It’s important that all the key stakeholders are steering an organisation’s digital transformation in the same direction.
Developing a strong relationship between your IT and HR departments will streamline the process of integrating technology and will ensure that your talent pool has the necessary tools to exceed expectations. It also avoids unmet expectations, integration issues or poor investment that can occur when a silo mentality exists between the two departments.
Balancing function and security
Data security has become a major organisational responsibility and also a major cause for concern with even the largest corporations suffering the consequence of a cyber attack. Just look at the global devastation caused by WannaCry (ransomware) — which overtook hundreds of thousands of computers at hospitals, universities, and telecommunications companies around the world.
Employers and employees need to know that their data is safe. HR and IT need to work together to make sure that privacy and security are paramount when selecting technology.
HR need to ensure that technology fulfils all the requirements from an organisational and employee level whilst IT need to scrutinise any system that’s adopted and ensure that the infrastructure is hosted in a safe and secure environment.
For instance, the ongoing trend of meeting security requirements by moving to the cloud shows no sign of slowing down. HR leaders need IT to debate the merits of cloud-based software and assure the C-Suite of the benefits of such an action.
The culture of increased flexibility in terms of working hours/locations and BYOD (bring your own device) can bring increased productivity but it can also create a security nightmare. Increased collaboration and familiarity with the issues facing both departments can help HR shape better policies and procedures in relation to technology and security.
Meeting employee demands
One of the challenges facing organisations is to adapt to disruptive technologies and to create an environment that will attract digital natives. Using technology to give employees a better working experience is now high on the HR agenda. Self-service tools give the employee access to their own information and offer a platform for ongoing feedback – allowing them to chart their personal development with ongoing managerial input.
Technology has changed the way we manage our working lives, being able to perform simple actions online like booking time off or viewing a payslip is no longer a novelty, it’s standard procedure. Especially Millennials, who now come with certain technological expectations. Not only are 20% of millennials prepared to quit a job over poor workplace technology but 80% would be influenced to take or decline a position based on the available workplace technology, according to the Dell Workforce Study.
So technology can significantly impact your ability to attract and retain top talent. Having the right tools will obviously dictate whether you can get the most from your workforce. However, IT and HR need to collaborate closely to provide a digital infrastructure that can ensure employee needs are met. This is vital if they want to compete for the best candidates and hold on to their star performers.
The drive for organisational change
According to the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, 90% of executives identified building the organisation of the future as the most important challenge for 2017. Organisational agility is at the heart of this change as hierarchical structures are replaced by flexible networks of teams.
“As the enterprise as a whole becomes digital, HR must become a leader in the digital organisation,” the report says. “This means going beyond digitising HR platforms to developing digital workplaces and digital workforces, and to deploying technology that changes how people work and the way they relate to each other at work.”
At the heart of this change is having the means to measure performance, assess best practices, identify areas of concern and build strategic models based on real-time analytics. Integrated HR systems provide the metrics that make all this possible.
Talent management software is also vital for getting the most from your workforce, increasing employee engagement and reinforcing a positive company culture. Self-service options and structured progression opportunities can also improve employee satisfaction and experience.
HR needs to be able to leverage technology to provide the strategic and analytical functions that are increasingly coming within its remit. So the roles of IT and HR are becoming intrinsically linked as they pursue innovative digital strategies to get the most from their resources.
Just as everyone who established a city in the middle of a swamp would go on to become Venetians, the once siloed roles of IT and HR are increasingly becoming joint stakeholders in the unified pursuit of digital transformation. The ability of these digital leaders to integrate and work as a team will ultimately dictate whether a company continues to grow or is overwhelmed by the tides of change.
Want to learn more about the biggest challenges facing HR?
By Conor Kiernan