Technology is changing this. More leaders have to work in knowledge teams with marketing and IT to introduce employees to new tools and technologies.
“Consider this HR 3.0,” said Jessica Miller-Merrell, CEO of Xceptional HR and author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business. “Up until early this year, talent managers would most often send out a company memo that said: ‘Come to a meeting at 2:30 on Tuesday to learn more about the employee benefit process and how it works on the intranet.’ Now you’ll get a company memo, but it’ll be a push notification to your mobile phone guiding you to an interactive video on how to access the employee benefit information on your company’s app.”
According to Jim Holincheck, vice president of services strategy and marketing at software provider Workday, this trend means HR has a greater say in its technology destiny. Subscription licensing for software as a service products allows HR to purchase products out of its operational budget rather than through a capital budget that undergoes deeper and broader scrutiny. However, IT often still needs to be involved to integrate new technology with other products.
Daniel Burrus, author of Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible, agrees. He said in the past, IT kept to itself and HR kept to itself because the relationship was cooperative, not collaborative. HR can increase the value it brings to the organization because of technology, but that means HR leaders need to know what technology can do.
“There’s a new level of communication and collaboration between tech people and people dealing with culture, training and education,” Burrus said. “In the past, IT folks were kind of like plumbers. They made sure everything was hooked up, everything worked, everyone knew how to turn things on and off, and that HR technology was secure with no leaks.
“Today, with hardware and software as a service, we have on-demand IT, which is transforming into what we always wanted IT folks to do, but they were too busy to do, which is to help us use technology to gain new competitive advantages and apply it in new and powerful ways. Through this we are transforming how we sell, market, communicate and collaborate with each other. HR is involved in all those things, but now so are IT and individual departments, daily. HR is restructuring companies; it’s transformative because of mobility.”