The ongoing disconnect between business, HR, and IT is legendary and many managers and even some executives may believe this thrilling threesome has nothing in common. Business can no longer operate without good talent management and HR can no longer be effective without IT. Why do these three bickering siblings need to get along for a more successful future?
The Business of Business
America, unlike many believe, was not founded for political or religious reasons. When Queen Elizabeth I of England sent people to explore the New World, it was in pursuit of riches. Business helped grow those riches for England and America. Business has spawned many other heroes in the building of America. The United States is still one of the few places on the planet where anyone can build their own empire. One might say that business is the hero that built America.
The business of business is all about another hero, its people. There will be no numbers to crunch, no products to sell, and no services to deliver without people. While there are giant heroes in America’s past, these are the everyday heroes who continue to build organizations. Boards and CEOs are staying awake at night worrying about recruiting and hiring good talent. This is particularly troublesome for organizations that are not born digital. Many an article has been written about the need for in depth recruiting, good hiring processes, and fitting the right people to the right job. Oftentimes, an organization will get all that right, but fall short once their valuable heroes are on board.
The workforce continues to change, and people today need different requirements for recognition, communication, engagement, and motivation. A more individual approach is necessary to address these needs and ensure that every worker realizes his or her hero value. The other side of this coin is that organizations need talent that can adapt, be agile, and embrace changes brought about by the market, the economy, customer demands, and of course, technology.
IT is It
Years ago, I remember the sales department arguing that nothing would happen in business without them. They thought they were the business hero. HR would argue that if it wasn’t for them, there wouldn’t be any jobs because there would be no one to fill them. They thought they were the business hero. Today, IT may very well be the hero because neither sales nor HR can function efficiently without them. Technology touches every part of our lives and is now recognized for making valuable contributions to business success, customer service, including making life easier for HR. Indeed, technology touches every part of business playing a significant role in keeping every department operating smoothly. That’s a heroic feat if ever I heard one.
While everyone is smart to keep abreast of trends, IT must do it on steroids. While change is rampant, changes in technology come at blinding speed. Technology not only changes how we work, but the jobs we do, as well. Many of the jobs available today didn’t exist just a few years ago and many new jobs are not too far away on the horizon.
HR The Caped Crusader
Having been in HR, I can appreciate the effort it takes to walk the fine line between the dictates of business and keeping up morale. Or, between dishing out discipline and building a friendly culture. And finally, between building diversity and being fair to everyone. Any manager who has forgotten to dot an “i” and cross a “t” who has had HR swoop in, bail them out and, magically make all the distress go away, will call HR a hero. However, HR must now enfold business and IT under its collaborative cape as “friendlies.”
Now HR must become a business partner. It’s not enough to know the organization sells stuff, money comes in and everyone gets paid. Now HR must understand business strategy, marketing, sales, and profit margins. Now HR must understand a lot of technology and partner with IT to operate efficiently, attract hero talent, and use technology to help the business grow and prosper. Technology is changing every aspect of business including HR. It’s changing the way jobs are posted, the way people apply, and employee development.
Stay in Your Own Lane
Recently I was at an international conference and the audience had the opportunity to ask questions to a panel of executives. I asked for their thoughts on the CEO, the CHRO, and the CFO becoming business partners. I was told that everyone should stay in their own lane.
Business heroes who might not have thought about being collaborative in the past must change their thinking pattern must solve problems together. The same can be said for business, HR, and IT.