Is cross functional collaboration between HR and IT active within your organization?

By Anna Kopp, - Employee experienceFuture Workplace

Today’s workplace comprises of three elements: space, technology, and people. There needs to be some level of synergy between these areas, especially when it comes to technology and people.

Currently every business is being tasked to do more with a lot less. Universally, employees are constantly trying to optimize their output with less of their previous budget. To make this task achievable processes must be as efficient as possible, which means having the best people enabled with the right tools. It’s a combination that can only be matched by aligning IT and HR processes – but it’s still common to find these teams in silo from one another, because most workplaces are still in the discovery phase of this newfound relationship.

There is a lot of evangelizing to do around the benefits of moving HR and IT closer together, as well as just outlining what this entails. So, it seemed an apt time to get that conversation going through a webinar recently hosted by Fujitsu, which I was proud to be a part of.

It was great to be involved in the conversation, and as the business world is still at the beginning stages in understanding HR in relation to IT, there were multiple and varied views that offered food for thought. Here, I’m going to highlight some of the takeaways and talking points I found useful.


Starting off on the right foot

The new hire experience is a prime example of how HR and IT need to interact to make competitive gains for businesses. So, it was an area I’m pleased we were able to get into on the webinar. I think we’re still at a point of forging what best practice is concerning digital onboarding in a hybrid workplace, but there were many useful pieces of advice.

These days, you need to get people on board and make sure they’re up to speed quickly. This onboarding doesn’t just involve human-to-human introductions which are naturally overseen by HR. It also involves being able to access new equipment, and this lies with IT.

For example, an employee will need their PC, an account, and email address on their first day. These things may sound like simple logistics but when the processes between HR and IT departments aren’t smooth and collaborative, it’s often the new employee that’s sat in the corner waiting to be able to do something. Often, this leads to new employees feeling unwelcomed and uncatered for because the company hasn’t made the effort to prepare for their arrival. Even at the early stages, employee experience can determine how long colleagues will decide to stay at their company. So, getting the onboarding process right is vital to talent retention.

Making the onboarding process smooth and efficient is key to success because we can’t afford to do months of learning and training. The current market environment requires businesses to ramp up their resources quickly. Therefore, there’s a need for coaction between HR and IT, and this isn’t something that’s going to go away.


Don’t forget about the human transformation

Digital transformation isn’t just about technology and the IT team that sits behind it. Ask any expert and they’ll tell you that a key part of digitally transforming and engineering agility within a company is people. There must be a cultural transformation that moves towards supporting greater use of tech and strives for efficiency. Again, this entails a natural partnership between HR and IT.

Digital transformation requires employees to be able to use tech to execute plans within two to three weeks. To do that, HR need to curate a culture in which people are comfortable with learning from failure, so employees have the confidence to act quickly, rather than spending ages deliberating what might be the right approach.

At Microsoft, we’ve partly been doing this by instilling leadership principles from the HR program through the whole organization. It encourages managers to ask what needs to be done to create clarity, generate energy, and deliver results. Making these questions universal across the organization means that everyone is on the same page. But it also means that the actions of HR are intentionally facilitating a culture that supports the focus that IT needs from employees to make digital transformation successful.


Initiating a HR and IT relationship

The business need for a tightly knit HR and IT relationship is only going to grow. Right now, for most people, focus on this crucial relationship is only in its infancy. So, attention really needs to be on raising awareness and looking for more information about realigning HR and IT, which is why the webinar I attended was at such an ideal time.

If you’re an industry leader, my advice would be to sit down with HR and IT to audit what they have in-house and what they may need in terms of external resources and consulting.

It’s key here that you have the infrastructure to facilitate open communication between the two departments. At Microsoft, we have a manager community program. We have a Teams channel where all the people managers can discuss news. There’s also an opportunity for our 200 managers to meet in-person.

I think what’s clear, and the insights from the webinar supported this, is that the actions your business takes to move HR and IT closer together don’t need to be hugely expensive strategic programs.

Now, it’s about learning and understanding how the theories surrounding HR and IT alignment can be applied to your business, which is why reading literature and attending webinars is important right now. Then, it’s initially about opening those communication channels and curating a culture that hopefully harnesses the symbiotic relationship between HR and IT which will go on to strengthen your competitiveness.

You can dig into the insights of the webinar for yourself, by watching the session here.

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