The HR Dilemma with IT

Posted on September 4, 2012. Filed under: CIO, Personal Branding, Technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

By Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)

Defining the Role of HR

HR serves many purposes in the corporate world. In most cases, HR helps to set strategy, plan the organizational model, define roles and responsibilities, set compensation levels, manage employee relations, handle orientation (or onboarding as it’s now called), ensure employment compliance, and monitor regulatory and legislative reforms. However, to the business or operating teams, HR is really in place to help them recruit, hire, train, and retain high-quality talent. For IT organizations or departments, the function of attracting, hiring, and keeping technical talent is more specialized than most other operating areas. Thus, IT presents HR with some unique challenges in this regard.

The IT perception of HR

In most corporations, HR is viewed by the IT team as an impediment to achieving their objectives. True or not, this seems to be the prevailing attitude from IT operators about HR. It seems that HR departments, or at least the HR representatives that engage directly with the IT team, are more focused on mitigating liability than anything else. These liabilities include equal employment opportunity (EEO) lawsuits, wrongful firing cases, sexual harassment cases, and the like. Human Resources takes a firm stance that the IT group cannot fire someone without reams of documentation. They are very committed to this. Yet, when it comes time to hire people so that IT can support and enable the business, there seems to be no sense of urgency.

Truth or reality?

So what’s real and what’s perception here? Experience indicates that it’s a bit of both. The real issue stems from the Information Technology Department’s unclear understanding of everything HR must do as well as HR’s unclear picture of what IT truly needs to be effective.


Really, it all boils down to communication and goal alignment. IT executives must come to the realization that it is one of their primary responsibilities to cultivate a strong working relationship with HR. In this way, HR executives can relate to their team the importance of the manner and expediency with which they recruit and hire for IT. Furthermore, this collaboration between HR and IT must extend to the onboarding and organizational development initiatives as well as compensation. Only by a joint effort will the company be able to generate a strong base of technical talent that is compensated appropriately, well equipped, with a clear sense of purpose and a career direction within the company that impels them to stay and incents them to perform to the utmost of their abilities.

IT executive, start building this kind of relationship with your HR executive today. The fruits of your labor will be rewarding.

The ITtechExec Way

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[…] written in the past here about HR’s dilemma with IT and other “technical” operations within most organizations. The two have not always […]

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