Today there are few relationships in business more important than that between the HR and IT teams.
IT teams have traditionally focused on commercial systems rather than systems to support internal service functions such as HR, and the majority of the budget allocation for IT spend has reflected this focus on commercial, customer-facing applications.
Even those companies investing in internal functions, tend to place HR at the bottom of the spending list, below the needs of departments such as finance and procurement.
But things are changing. There is a growing recognition from business leaders that HR has a pivotal role to play in supporting the organisation to achieve business success.
Once an organisation buys into the idea that people are its greatest asset, it’s an easy leap to accepting that HR also needs to partner with IT to gain access to transformative technology.
One way of building the relationship is to ensure that both parties understand each other’s needs. Inviting HR to technical planning meetings and inviting IT to HR strategy planning sessions is an excellent place to start.
Where possible, a dedicated IT resource focused on HR will help to fast-track digitisation plans, as well as to enable IT to support budget allocation, and to be proactive in sourcing and implementing software to support HR.
Typical areas where IT can have a tremendous impact on the ability of HR to contribute to business success include the provision of a core HRMS, learning management system, and data analysis software.
A centralised HRMS enables HR to gather employee data and processes into one centralised system, providing benefits such as cost savings, efficiencies in processing administrative tasks, and speed of processing.
Core HRMS functionality includes features to support recruitment, onboarding, compensation and benefits, payroll, time and attendance management, performance management and off-boarding, amongst others.
In-built administrative workflows can simplify and speed up approvals for leave requests, benefits and payroll processing, amongst other things. Providing system access via mobile devices extends benefits further when managers can access and approve requests at any time and from any location.
Learning management systems (LMS) support and enable employee development, whether online, blended or classroom based. These systems can provide personalised learning paths, provide access to a library of internal and external resources for self-development, and link to critical employee functions such as performance management, succession planning and leadership development. Many also have social learning features and are available via mobile devices for anytime, anywhere access to learning opportunities.
Employee Information held online forms a vast reservoir of organisational data that can be invaluable in a variety of ways. Data can evidence that an organisation is meeting all labour and employee-related legislation and can assist with alerts and reminders for essential tasks such as document renewals.
Data analysis can identify trends in employee demographics, or track employee-related costs and retention. Still, the production of regular management reports and diagrams can often involve the use of several software packages and take considerable time to produce.
IT can develop standard reports that can be run on-demand or even scheduled for delivery to executive mailboxes and can create online dashboards updated in real-time to give visual snapshots of employee-related information that drives business goals.
When HR and IT partner together, the whole organisation benefits.