HR is From Venus, IT is from Mars

Jun 13, 2024

“Ugh. IT want more information before they’ll approve the new platform. We need it straight away!”

“Bah! Who do they expect to fix this when it breaks? HR have no idea.”

With more business processes becoming digital, particularly the prevalence of human resources information systems, the dynamic between Information Technology and Human Resources teams has become increasingly crucial. However, inherent differences in priorities, perspectives and language can sometimes create barriers, causing general eye-rolling and hindering effective collaboration.

“In an increasingly SaaS world, the IT Department is losing control of a lot of things. Operational Departments are regularly bypassing them to acquire technical solutions.”
– John Sumser, HR vs IT

To ensure operational efficiency and mitigate risks, IT need to maintain technology infrastructure, support data security and optimise system performance. HR’s priorities revolve around talent acquisition & retention, employee development, minimising people-related legal exposure and building a positive workplace culture.

Despite their differences, IT and HR need each other. HR relies on IT to provide secure and user-friendly platforms for recruitment, onboarding, performance management and employee portals such as the intranet. Conversely, IT requires HR’s expertise in change management, training and communication to ensure successful technology adoption, user acceptance and compliance.

To bridge this gap, both teams need a deeper understanding of each other’s roles, priorities, and challenges. Here are some strategies that can help IT and HR teams work together more effectively:

1. Regular Communication

Open and transparent communication is the foundation of successful collaboration. Regular meetings or dedicated communication channels to discuss ongoing projects, challenges, and opportunities can help align expectations, identify potential roadblocks, and facilitate timely decision-making even if it seems like a chore at times.

2. Shared Understanding of Priorities

While IT and HR teams may have different priorities, it is essential to recognise that their goals ultimately contribute to the organisation’s overall success. By developing a shared understanding of each team’s objectives and constraints, they can work together to find solutions that balance security, usability, and employee experience.

3. Cross-Functional Knowledge Sharing

Encouraging cross-functional training and knowledge sharing can bridge the gap between IT and HR teams. IT professionals can provide insights into technology trends, cybersecurity requirements (and consequences) and system capabilities. HR professionals can share best practice for change management, leadership skills and tips for dealing with difficult people. You could add a bit of fun where the HR team must guess what an IT acronym stands for, and vice versa.

“Perhaps its time to ‘geek up’ HR. With HR and IT in concert on user parameters and administrative rights, policy enforcement can become more distributed and effective.”
– Scott Lang, BeyondTrust

4. Side by Side

Bringing HR & IT together to drive innovation, tackle complex projects or problems enables organisations to leverage their collective expertise and reinforce the perception of being on the same side.

Adopting agile and iterative approaches can also help. By breaking down projects into smaller, manageable phases, both teams can provide regular feedback, address concerns, and adjust throughout the process rather than resorting to blame and finger pointing later on.

5. Prioritise User Experience

Strive for a balance between security and usability when implementing IT solutions. Collaborate with HR to ensure that technological advancements enhance, rather than hinder, the employee experience. Solicit feedback from end-users and incorporate their input into the design and implementation process.

6. Celebrate Successes and Learn from Challenges

No matter whether you like talking about endpoint security or Kolbe scores, most of us appreciate a decent beverage and some fancy snacks. Recognising and celebrating successful collaborations between IT and HR teams can reinforce the value of their partnership and motivate continued cooperation. Additionally, openly discussing challenges and lessons learned without blaming can strengthen the bond between the two teams.

“More than ever, the companies that succeed are those where HR and IT work in conjunction.”
– Workday

Effective collaboration between IT and HR teams is essential for organisations to deliver strong digital employee experience. When these two teams speak the same language and work in harmony, they can create a seamless employee experience, foster innovation, and position the organisation for long-term growth and competitiveness.

Share this: