The world of work is changing more rapidly than ever before. Organizations are embracing hybrid and remote work, the “Great Resignation” is well underway, and team members expect consumer-grade tools in all areas of their lives.
Forward-thinking HR teams are getting to work on upgrading their infrastructure in order to thrive in the new normal. This often requires strong collaboration with the IT department to implement and maintain the solutions that improve the People Operations function. If you don’t already have a good relationship with your IT team, it’s never too late to build one.
Here are 5 tips to strengthen the HR and IT partnership so you can build the technology stack your organization needs to succeed in the new world of work.
1. Start building the relationship early
Spend time getting to know your IT team well before collaboration needs arise. Share your master plan, including the biggest pain points you’re facing and how you plan to solve them. Also review the current state of your HR technology stack, where you would like to make changes, and how the right infrastructure could positively impact the entire organization.
Ask your IT team for their feedback and advice around your master plan, and incorporate the suggestions that would improve it. IT professionals may have valuable insights based on their point of view and experience with a wide variety of technology. This can help build a true collaboration and a stronger long-term partnership.
2. Rope them into projects from the start
If you’re considering a new HR software investment, consult with your IT team early. Share some background on why you’re looking into new solutions and the expected outcomes from your chosen solution.
Ask your IT counterpart whether they’d like to join for product demos, and at what point in the evaluation process. Their involvement can help them understand why this solution is helpful and how they can help with a smooth implementation. They may also be able to raise red flags or concerns to address with your shortlist of vendors.
3. Be respectful of the IT department’s time
Your IT team supports every other department at your organization, and may have urgent support tickets that take priority over other requests. Be respectful of the IT team’s time.
Prioritize your own projects and communicate those priorities with the IT team so you're all on the same page. Ask the IT team for timeline estimates for each of your projects, rather than giving them a deadline. If their limited availability would hinder your ability to reach your goals, discuss the option of engaging external vendors.
It’s important to be respectful of your IT team’s time for smaller tasks as well. For example, give them as much notice as possible if you need them to provision accounts and set up equipment for new hires. These seemingly small things can add up in a big way and push off more strategic projects.
4. Show what’s in it for them
HR and IT serve the same internal customers, so your projects can benefit the IT department as well as your own. For instance, the right employee onboarding solution can automatically provision accounts for new team members, taking this task away from IT. Similarly, HR technology investments can create a stronger employee experience, thus decreasing turnover and reducing the IT department’s workload related to other onboarding and offboarding tasks, like setting up equipment. Share these benefits with the IT team so they understand what’s in it for them.
Later, show the IT team the results of your collaboration. Data around reduced turnover, higher productivity, or better engagement can motivate stronger collaboration on future projects.
5. Simplify their jobs
Your IT team works hard to make your department more efficient, so try to return the favor. This could mean learning to write better support tickets that reduce the need for clarification. Or it could mean introducing your IT department to your vendor points of contact, so they know who to reach with questions. This means less digging and fewer blockers, so your requests can be addressed more efficiently.
Ask your IT department for feedback on a regular basis, so you can improve your collaboration over time. A longstanding partnership should continue to evolve and improve over time.
Despite how different IT and HR may be, you are working toward a common goal to support your internal customers. Take the time to get to know your IT counterparts and learn how you can best work with them. A strong partnership will not only improve your People Operations—it will level up your entire organization.