HR versus IT
The partnership between human resources and information technology is always likely to be one of the trickier working relationships in any business. Traditionally, coming from very different sides of the business, employees in each area are likely to have drastically different expertise and attitudes; one highly technical and analytical, the other far more people-focused and ‘soft-skilled’.
However, in today’s business environment, with the intersection of talent management and technology now recognised as a crucial driver of success, it's becoming increasingly important that the relationship between HR and IT is a productive one. This is especially true for the HR team, which often requires the resource and expertise of the IT department in order to realise the full range of Benefits that technology can bring to their talent management practices. Unfortunately, a survey recently conducted by Loudhouse Research on behalf of Taleo suggests that there's still work to be done to improve the relationship between HR and IT.
What is HR technology being used for?
The Taleo HR Systems Survey examined the relationship between IT and HR departments and the impact this has on organisations’ use of HR technology. The research revealed that HR technology is still primarily being used to support more mature processes, such as training and development and external recruiting rather than newer, high impact HR processes, such as mobility, onboarding and succession planning.
Technology league table: what is HR technology being used for?
- Training and development – 72%
- External recruiting – 67%
- Compensation – 62%
- Performance management – 55%
- Internal mobility – 54%
- Onboarding - 43%
- Succession planning – 40%
Technology - a key tool for HR teams
HR technology is now recognised as a key tool in HR’s armoury with 85 per cent of respondents, in both HR and IT, agreeing that effective deployment of HR technology can help HR add better value to the business.
This is certainly encouraging as it suggests that the vast majority of organisations are now open to the recruiting, talent management, employee development and talent intelligence Benefits that technology can provide.
However, one aspect of organisations' technology plans for the future shows up some cracks between HR and IT functions, and that is their perspective on integrating different talent-related systems.
HR calling for further IT support
There's a major disconnect in expectations between IT and HR departments, regarding the status of integrating HR technology. While the majority (73 per cent) of IT departments believe that HR technology is already sufficiently integrated, this view is not shared by the majority of HR departments, with just 47 per cent thinking that no further systems integration is required. HR still considers the consolidation of technology platforms to be a work in progress, while the IT department believes that their work in that area is done.
With HR under increasing pressure to really add value to the business at board level, this expectations gap could be a major problem. Although having technology systems to support individual HR functions such as external recruitment, performance management and employee development will improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of those processes, today’s HR departments are expected to deliver much more than this.
Managing talent effectively through technology
As we continue to evolve into a knowledge-based economy, businesses have no choice but to become more and more talent-focused. At a board level, this means that the HR department is now expected to provide a much greater level of management insight into the state of the workforce and the plans to optimise it; everything from the number of high performing employees on succession plans to the percentage of graduate hires who leave within a year.
While many HR teams try to gather and store some of this kind of information, without a single, unified tool for all users to access, enhance and manage this data, it's extremely difficult to compile or analyse the data in any meaningful way. By using technology systems that operate in silos, with limited integration, the HR department’s ability to provide a high level of talent intelligence is therefore severely compromised.
Join up processes using a talent management system
A fully unified talent management system that captures all the data into a talent profile and makes it accessible to executives, managers and HR, makes it far easier to compile, update and analyse workforce information, thereby allowing the HR team to add far more to the business through activities such as building talent pipelines, increasing talent mobility and improving leadership bench strength.
It seems that greater understanding between IT and HR is needed if HR is to realise the full Benefits of technology and really add value to the organisation. To achieve this the HR team needs to make sure it knows what the latest technology platforms can provide, not just for HR but for the business as a whole, and can articulate clearly why greater integration is so important.