HR is largely seen as the driving force behind creating a positive employee experience, but in some ways, HR teams are merely the faces and voices of the organizations to new hires. In many cases, particularly in the era of remote work and COVID-19, they can’t be seen or heard or without technology.
The pandemic has put HR and IT in the same boat in terms of their importance to each other and operational cohesion. HR can’t successfully engage the workforce or create positive experiences without IT while IT tools are largely meaningless if employees aren’t engaged enough to use them or the culture doesn’t actively encourage it.
Every device, system or tool an employee uses over the course of their employment, from preboarding to onboarding all the way to the exit interview is an important tool in shaping their experience. Technology gets employees out of silos, working across teams in a culture of collaboration that is going to become increasingly vital in the era of remote work.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the principles and ideals HR leaders need to follow as they hone in on healthy collaboration with IT teams that will result in improving employee experience.
The collaboration between HR and IT should be driven by design thinking, or the desire to understand the work of the people whose situation you’re trying to improve. Understanding what their workflows are like, what their limitations are (both technically and personally) and how this will fuel their goals as an employee as well as the company’s goals should all be taken into consideration.
HR implementing a learning solution that company hardware can’t support isn’t helpful or productive, no matter how well intentioned it may be. IT providing a new communication tool with no guidance from HR on how to use it and what the expectations are for decorum will not help those tools have the impact on culture and collaboration that they’re intended to.
The systems we use are another aspect of IT and HR collaboration. Something like an LMS can’t be properly implemented and maintained without the help of IT, but it’s HR that is going to drive the content and use of the system. Here again, a healthy relationship between the two combined with a clear understanding of what the employee needs, wants and expects will ensure that the technology is as effective as it can be.
Understanding each other’s needs and capabilities as well as the employees will drive success, but keeping an eye on what the employee is experiencing outside of the workplace also helps. Expectations for technology within the company is growing, particularly as digital natives become a larger part of the workforce. Providing them tools they know how to use and already feel connected with will be more conducive to a positive employee experience and more effective in achieving goals.
Keeping Up with the Industry
Part of the reason employee expectations are so high is what they see when they look around at other companies. The need for technology and the hunger for it in the HR space is driving investment from venture capitalists looking to get in on the workforce solutions market. In the second quarter of 2020 alone, investment in HR technology solutions rose more than 14% from Q1, or a little more than $1 billion.
The investments were heavy on the human capital management side rather than talent acquisition, pointing to the pandemic pushing trends that were unfolding pre-pandemic even further.
IT’s ability to fuel efficiency in HR is unquestionable. Whether it’s automating recruitment, designing systems for the future, helping you mine data for hiring tactics or revamping your onboarding process with technology, there’s no shortage of ways IT can support improved HR functions. To do it they’ll need tools that address employee struggles which HR, as the bridge between the employees and IT, inform them about. Right now, a healthy relationship with IT should be at the top of every HR professional’s priorities.