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Aligning HR and IT – The New Norm

By Tash Macknish, National Manager – OD&HR, Data#3

[Reading time: 4 mins]

Like every business, our staff are key to our success. HR teams are constantly looking at ways to improve the attraction of new staff, retention of key staff and overall satisfaction.

If we think back 5 years, there was an obvious gap between our own IT and HR divisions. After all, HR and IT tend to attract very different people, and technology has not always been an obvious place for HR to turn to in search of new ideas.

But fast forward to today, and the linkages between technology and people have become evermore apparent. So much so that these two functions – HR and IT – now develop a joint plan.

So how did this change come about?

In my mind, the shift started when we looked closely at our culture. We know the top reasons people stay in a company is often linked to the culture – and being a part of great teams doing great work. When staff feel valued, trusted and supported, they are motivated to deliver the business outcomes needed for success.

A simple example of how Data#3’s culture of trust started to evolve was in the way we dealt with our mobile phone policy. Like most companies, a phone would be issued to a new employee with a new number and a policy around fair use. If that employee were to leave the company, that phone and number needed to be left behind to alleviate concerns about confidentiality and poaching. That’s the way it was always done.

However, a phone number is no longer the exclusive contact channel it used to be – think about all the connections people build through social media and platforms such as LinkedIn. These changes challenged the business to rethink its position, and this has led to an improved policy around phones, and the use and ownership of technology.

From these beginnings and the way BYOD took off, the whole concept of enterprise mobility really evolved. We started thinking about how our staff could have complete access to all the tools, systems and apps they need to do their jobs, wherever they were, and on whatever device they happened to have.

This meant we had to continue to build up a culture of trust and flexibility. People needed to feel supported in their lives, and have access to the tools which would ensure success. For that to happen, HR needed to not just be talking to IT, but to work closely with them to determine what other ways technology could be used to drive this cultural shift. It was all about delivering the right outcomes for our people.

We looked at video conferencing and implemented it throughout the organisation. When people can see each other, no matter the location, they feel more a part of the team. While it felt a little awkward at first for people used to the relative anonymity of being on the end of a phone, it has now become the norm. Access is easy and consistent, whether staff are at their desk in the office, in a conference room, or working from home.

Let success be your guide

We constantly survey staff – both existing and new – to gather ideas on how people want to work. We then take those ideas to IT and brainstorm together on how to make that happen. This has now morphed into an innovation project where staff put forward ideas on how things could be changed, and what tools people feel they need to be productive, engaged and happy. The interest and success of this has been so much more than we’d hoped.

In the end, we have a real focus on the employee experience and nowhere is this more evident than in our recruiting and onboarding processes. In fact, only 3 months ago, that has all changed with the implementation of Adobe Sign (formerly EchoSign). Employment contracts are now supplied electronically and signed online by both parties.

Integration of this into our CRM means that in one step all tax, super, payroll and staff profiles are then set-up, and IT equipment and licences provisioned. A process that in the past took 3-4 weeks has since been done in 22 hours! This also helps with auditability – as a publicly listed company, we are capturing all documentation and communication required, with minimal manual intervention.

The results of this alignment with IT speak for themselves in terms of retention, staff satisfaction and turnover. Our annual surveys, for instance, have shown a measurable increase in staff satisfaction over the past four years. Additionally, our turnover rates are well below the IT industry average.

The critical success factor in all this is that we have a close working relationship with the IT team. Such results would not otherwise have been possible, and its why, for Data#3, the synergy between HR and IT has become the new norm.

Learn more about The Anywhere Workplace at data3.com.au/theanywhereworkplace.

Tags: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Mobility, The Anywhere Workplace

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