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The role of IT teams in HR rollouts | Weekly10

The importance of collaborating with your IT team on your next HR technology rollout

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When it comes to tech rollouts within a business, IT departments are all too often seen as the main hurdle to overcome, rather than the invaluable ally they could and should be.

If you constantly find yourself butting heads with ‘the tech team’, it can be difficult to turn around and try to work with them on something.

But in 2021, the role of IT teams in HR tech rollouts can’t be ignored. HR need to make IT their best pals.

Yes often IT departments have an image problem

Contrary to what you might think, IT professionals don’t just sit around all day, waiting for someone’s computer to crash.

And they can do a lot more for you than just tell you to turn it off and on again.

IT departments are responsible for everything, from hardware and software installations to cybersecurity and cost/benefit analysis.

That last one leads us into the most prevalent IT stereotype, aside from those made popular by Richard Ayoade – a lot of working professionals tend to see IT as a blocker to innovation.

And to a degree that makes sense. Any new virtual service or application has to go through them, as they’ll be the ones called in if it doesn’t work or worse. This contributes to the commonly held impression that IT teams just say no to anything you suggest.

But, in the mission to establish a truly digital-first workplace, IT personnel can be some of your greatest allies. No one knows their lemons when it comes to a quality piece of software like the IT team does.

Computer says no. But why?

One of the biggest responsibilities for an IT department is performing a cost/benefit analysis of new hardware or digital application that might be implemented. Something can seem great on paper, but present a host of issues when looked at practically.

This is why HR and progressive managers often butt heads with IT. From a management and HR perspective, the most important thing is that new tools be efficient and user-friendly. But, for the IT department, that’s only one side of things.

New tech might be expensive to install, require an untenable amount of maintenance, or be incompatible with your current computer network. That’s why you can’t afford to underestimate the importance of your IT department’s point of view. If you’re serious about creating a digital-first workplace culture, then you need to respect the role of IT teams in HR rollouts.

Why HR and IT must work together

You might not think it, but HR and IT actually have a surprising amount in common. It’s HR’s responsibility to ensure that all the moving parts of a workplace function effectively, while IT personnel are responsible for maintaining and upgrading virtual infrastructure. Their shared aim is to keep the business running successfully, so it only makes sense to collaborate.

  • IT should be involved from the beginning: It’s a mistake to underestimate the importance of your IT director for HR rollouts. The best way to not have your ideas shot down for practical reasons is to involve IT in the decision-making process. Including them from the start means that they should spot any impracticality or incompatibility before you’ve built a whole plan around one specific app.

  • They can help source the best software: Your IT department is a wealth of valuable knowledge. In a digital-first workplace, part of the role of IT teams in HR rollouts is to highlight the best software available for a given purpose. While the decision may ultimately with the business’s leadership, IT can provide a range of suitable options, and evaluations of their strengths and weaknesses.

  • They can train other staff and secure employee buy-in: Employee response can make or break new tools and policies. Understanding is the biggest barrier to accessibility for new virtual apps in the workplace. Part of the role of IT teams in HR rollouts should be to oversee staff training for new software, as they’ll have the easiest time getting to grips with it. Don’t just leave less tech-savvy employees floundering, as it’ll make securing buy-in a lot less likely.

  • They can implement new tools securely and effectively: Whether or not HR works with them from the get-go to find the best tech solutions, IT are going to have to become involved at some point. Involving them from the beginning and choosing software they’ve greenlit is the best way to ensure that the implementation goes smoothly, with minimal risk to virtual security.

Why a digital-first approach is best

What started a couple of decades ago with email, word processors and spreadsheets has advanced into video calling, file sharing and algorithms for machine learning. As the modern workplace continually changes around us, the role of IT teams in HR rollouts becomes more and more essential.

The pandemic forced vast numbers of businesses to rely more heavily on digital tech than ever before, and ultimately proved that a remotely based, digital-first approach could work. But tech can do so much more to benefit your business. Some of the reasons it’s worth investing in a digital-first approach include:

  • Reach: The most direct benefit of digital solutions is that they transcend geographical location. Products and services can be marketed to businesses and people across the world. Implementing remote work lets you access new pools of talent, and prevents employees from having to be tied down to one place.

  • Expectation: With each generation growing up with more advanced technology, our expectations of workplace tech increase. As such, digital solutions have quickly become the standard, in and out of work.

  • Future-proofing: New digital solutions are being developed every day, and leveraging those capabilities is essential for staying ahead. Converting to a digital-first business model early on can make future upgrades much easier, saving a lot of time and effort down the road.

  • Automation: A lot of jobs have tasks and responsibilities that, despite not being challenging, take up a lot of time and effort. Automation cuts down on mindless tasks so staff can focus on the most vital and engaging aspects of their jobs.

…If we have stoked your curiosity and you’d like to see the other 7 elements, plus get access to our engagement model, tips for how to rollout HR tech successfully or get expert insight from global HR leaders, download your free 30-page guide today:

Head of People Science