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    Guest Post - HR and IT, Part One

    Note - This guest post is from the Creative Chaos Consultant, a 20 year retail professional and HR practitioner. He currently works for a major fashion retailer with operations in more than a dozen countries. His focus is primarily on employee relations, compensation practices, change management, and compliance.

    In this post, the Creative Chaos Consultant examines the relationship between HR and IT and offers some observations on how to enhance the partnership.  In Part Two, I will examine some of the current trends in this dynamic, particularly the issue of HR or the organization side-stepping IT in the introduction of new technologies.


    Aside from HR no other department gets more of a bad rap than IT. Blaming them for the bad day you're having is the game that everyone loves to play. Who else gets more angry phone calls and e-mails when the following happens:

    That's right, it's IT.

    That's a big mistake to make, especially amongst us HR professionals. For one thing our roles tend to be more similar than not. The bulk of responsibility that IT and HR handles is administrative or tactical (although that's changing). Oftentimes both groups work without having enough resources. They don't always get the respect they deserve. And of course, they both utilize technology to get their respective jobs done.

    Second, IT has one major characteristic (and advantage in my opinion) that HR lacks-they speak their own language. The field is a technical one at its core so the terminology reflects this. This works to standardize processes and ensure smoother operations. And while some terms have become more common, most of them are unique to the field. This is an advantage because it means that you have to work with them. This is a position that a lot of HR folks wish they were in. However, this adds to the frustration that people can have about IT, especially when things aren't working right.

    Third, and most importantly, if the IT department doesn't support an initiative, it doesn't get done. Remember that fancy HRIS you want? IT plays a crucial part in the vendor selection process. If IT says no (for example, the organization can't support the hardware/software requirements) then you can't have it. They help to define what tools an organization uses. This, in turn, defines the organization's strengths and weaknesses.

    HR pros must develop stronger partnerships with their IT brothers and sisters. This would help serve to bridge misunderstandings, get crucial projects supported, and lessen the frustrations that people may have with both groups. And the first step of the process is to understand the language of IT. With that, I know that  Steve Boese reviews most of the key tech-related terms that every HR professional should know in his HR Technology class, and it is certainly an essential first step in the Tech education of an HR Professional.

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      Steve's HR Technology - Journal - Guest Post - HR and IT, Part One

    Reader Comments (5)

    I agree that IT and HR need to form more of a partnership. As the Head of HR, my biggest advocate was the Head of IT. We have both left the company but remain very good friends and continue to advocate for each other. He taught me a lot about how to utilize Technology in HR and I taught him a lot about how to get his team to work strategically. Both departments were better served because of this relationship. Great article.

    Twitter username: crgillespie

    June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChuck Gillespie

    Thanks Chuck for your comments on the HR and IT relationship. As you describe when both departments are aligned they can truly support and enhance their services and the overall contribution to the organization. Thanks again for reading and sharing your thoughts.

    June 17, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

    I agree with CCC- both factions will benefit from a closer relationship. As companies expand their digital focus and reliance on social media, HR will need to reach out to IT to learn and to help them adapt. Excellent Post! One question- is CCC on Twitter?

    June 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrish

    Thanks Trish for your comments, I will pass on your question to the CCC, and leave it up to him to decide if he wishes to share that information. Thanks again for reading and sharing your observations.

    June 20, 2009 | Registered CommenterSteve

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