Better together: Why HR and IT need to work as a team

If you’ve worked in an office, you may already be familiar with the feeling that someone doesn’t understand a work challenge you’re dealing with – particularly if they’re from another department.

If they just understood your job function, then maybe it would be okay, right? It’s particularly prevalent between IT and HR teams in Europe. In a recent IDC survey of 1,352 European HR professionals and line managers, sponsored by Cornerstone OnDemand, almost half (47 per cent) of IT managers said they view HR processes as a key source of frustration, compared to just 39 per cent of other line managers. Likewise, 56 per cent of IT managers don’t feel they receive the right support from HR and top management to avoid stress.

This misalignment between IT and HR is now raising concerns over the success of digital transformation among European businesses. The HR function is on the cusp of revolutionising how employees execute their work, collaborate with others and are managed throughout their careers, so these two departments need to learn to work together as a team – not opponents. So what are some of these revolutions?

Keep things flexible

Firstly, the IT team has to work with the HR department to enable flexible working. Across Europe, workers are wanting flexible and collaborative workplaces with consumer-grade technologies more and more, which opens up a wealth of possibilities for boosts in productivity.

The IDC survey found that flexible working actually improves employee engagement and happiness scores overall, and that active collaboration – which can be facilitated through technology – has a significant impact on financial performance. It’s a no brainer – more access to flexible working technologies, equals a happy and engaged workforce, and in turn better business results.

HCM is changing

Secondly, human capital management (HCM) solutions are entering a new generation, and these new generations present opportunities for talent management and sourcing. This in turn means that the definition of HCM is changing.

Previously, HCM would just refer to a system of record that had poor flexibility and was overall quite process-oriented. What’s more – implementing these HCM systems was often a burden because of long implementation times; they required huge administrative time from HR professionals to keep the system up to date.

These days, many HCM solutions offer self-service for line of business managers, minimising the admin HR needs to do and allowing it to focus on the people and skills within the organisation. Additionally, these HCM solutions have business reporting tools and talent management features to identify and reward employee performance. From a technology perspective, implementation times have been dramatically reduced with the advent of cloud deployments and easy integration with existing infrastructure.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of organisations want to use digital transformation investments to revolutionise internal operations first, greatly impacting HR, and how employees execute work, collaborate and are managed – improving workplace productivity and financial performance overall. Yet, IDC report that HCM solutions are seldom the priority of the CIO, regularly ranking low in interest for IT spending, showing IT teams are not involved enough in HR technology decisions.

Other business functions do not always seek to involve the IT department too though. The IDC study uncovered that business executives from sales, marketing and customer support also bypass the IT department for developing technology. Yet, the research highlights that this creates significant risks, and IT managers need to be involved to protect against such problems as data privacy and governance and to ensure project feasibility.

It’s time to ask ourselves: how can digital efforts within the enterprise be successful without IT involvement? IT has an essential role to play in the enterprise’s digital transformation, and evolving HR with it is critical.

IT and HR teams working together will help them overcome increasing challenges linked to skill s development, finding and retaining talent, and developing flexible work practices.

Geoffroy de Lestrange, Product Marketing Manager EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand

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