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3 ways to create a positive HR-IT relationship

A disconnect between HR and IT can negatively affect overall company operations. Learn some ways for HR leaders to create a stronger HR-IT relationship at their company.

A disconnect between a company's HR and IT departments can negatively affect multiple aspects of a company's operations. HR leaders should look for ways to actively collaborate with IT, including natural collaboration areas like employee experience.

Potentially stressful processes like new tech rollout and HR vendor management can happen more effectively with input from both the HR and IT departments. However, collaborating on these processes might require HR to become more familiar with HR technology.

Here are some ways HR leaders can work with the IT department to create a stronger relationship between the two groups.

1. Collaborate on employee experience

Employee experience is a good place to start when searching for potential partnership opportunities between HR and IT.

Many organizations' HR and IT departments began collaborating more often during the upheaval of the pandemic, said Julie Humphries, senior partner for digital solutions at Mercer, an IT services and consulting firm located in New York. Now HR and IT leaders are working together to optimize their company's tech roadmap for employee experience and improved productivity.

Headshot of Julie Humphries, senior partner for digital solutions at MercerJulie Humphries

"[Employee experience and improved productivity are] where we see the two [departments] come together really effectively," Humphries said.

One potential employee experience project for the two departments is ensuring job candidates and current employees have a positive experience with the organization's recruiting system, Humphries said. HR and IT can create a target interaction model, which involves profiling the different personas that will be interacting with a recruiting system. These personas could include middle managers and job candidates.

2. Work together on new tech adoption

Rolling out new company technology can be a stressful process, but it's another natural collaboration opportunity for HR and IT.

HR and IT working together on a new rollout can significantly improve technology adoption throughout the organization's workforce, said Dan Kaplan, senior client partner at Korn Ferry, an organizational consulting firm located in Los Angeles.

Headshot of Dan Kaplan, senior client partner at Korn FerryDan Kaplan

"If [HR doesn't] help with communication, with culture change, and with training [new] tools aren't going to get used ...," he said. "IT needs HR to drive the acceptance and training around these tools."

For example, HR can help IT get the word out about training for a new video platform and follow up with employees if the employees haven't signed up.

3. Share HR vendor management responsibilities

Involving HR in the HR vendor management process, if they are not currently part of it, can help improve vendor relations for both HR and IT.

In many organizations, IT oversees the contracts and budget for software, so HR staff feel like they don't get to weigh in on the vendor and the vendor's system, said David Cruise, group chief executive officer at Change Associates, an organizational change consultancy located in London.

Headshot of David Cruise, group chief executive officer at Change AssociatesDavid Cruise

"Both parts of the organization need to understand that they have a role in managing the vendor," Cruise said.

One potential scenario is HR and IT sharing the cost of deploying new HR software, then IT manages the vendor contract process, Cruise said. HR can then work with the vendor to ensure the software will meet the company's needs.

However, HR staff might need to improve their understanding of HR software in order to make valuable contributions.

"A lot of HR functions need to move away from just getting people to be really good HR [professionals] and actually getting them to be really good HR technologists as well," Cruise said. "[HR staff] understanding what the platforms are can help them do their job better."

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