Why the future of HR is all about collaboration with IT

There are important similarities between HR and IT that when combined, can help mitigate today's biggest human capital risks.

The author

Ilja Rijnen

HR Director, Emerging Asia,

Beam Suntory

Over the past decade, we have seen a revolution in the HR and technology space. More than ever before, employees expect their organisations to deliver an employment experience that mirrors the best customer experiences. The line between consumer technology and employee technology is being blurred – big time.

With the arrival of Big Data, and more HR processes moving to a system’s environment, we are now witnessing how predictive analysis impacts HR and talent management. Companies that are on the forefront of this revolution have been shown to outperform their peers by up to three times when it comes to bottom line performance and delivering talent and recruitment solutions.

Most traditionally-run HR functions fail in successfully incorporating technology and analytics into their day-to-day business partnering. Should the HR and IT function in the future therefore merge? Or should one be led by the other?

Traditionally, both HR and IT have been both tasked to run support organisations within the corporate structure. Although the services they provide are essential to the performance of the whole organisation, employees that run them can sometimes be considered “second-class citizens” of the corporation.

The people in each of these functions are very different. Most IT professionals are analytical engineers who will use a language that stands in stark contrast to that used by the rest of the corporation. IT also tends to be male-dominated.

HR teams, meanwhile, are typically made up of people with experience in organisation effectiveness or human behaviour, with a relatively large portion of female leaders.

Because of the differences in people and specialisation, it is highly unlikely that either function can successfully lead or incorporate the other. But discovering similarities between these departments, combined with the potential impact that each function has on the future performance of the organisation, demands a closer collaboration.

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have an enormous impact on enterprise technology and the employees that interact with it every day. The combined powers of the Chief HR Officer (CHRO) and CIO can play a big role in diminishing one of today’s biggest risks of the company’s performance: employee disengagement.

By having a close collaboration between HR and IT, the needs of the most important resource at any company, its people, can seamlessly translate into IT solutions where appropriate.

In return, the analytical IT engineers get exposure to the approach of a leader who is focused on people first. Having the CHRO and CIO collaborate will raise the profile of each department to the point where these professionals can bring their full value to the company.

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