With rapidly changing business demands as well as workforce mindset, location and needs, HR faces a daunting task to build a sustained workforce capability that scales and extends as needed. What are the related challenges and how are HR leaders looking to tame this beast? Where can IT partner?
Amy J. Rislov, Chief Human Resources Officer, Aurora Health Care
Dr. Jonathan Reichental, Chief Information Officer, City of Palo Alto
Sanjog: So the very reason we wanted to do this show is because among different things that we have covered in technology, People have always been the biggest challenge. At the same time, they can also be the best assets an organization can have. And in order for us to have the people provide the most value or be the best they can be, HR plays a very crucial role and it has always been supportive but the way it had been running in the past, the processes, the technology, the information they have available was to support the type of changes we are seeing in the business and the way the business is being run; the change the complexity and scale. So that’s what we would like to discuss today. So I will start with you Amy, just to set the stage. If you were to compare how HR was earlier and the way HR was perceived, the role of HR was perceived earlier. How has that expanded or transformed given the changes that you see today?
Amy: Great question. I look at the past 10, maybe 15 years and the HR role has become critically important to an organization’s success. I don’t think that was recognized in the past. When you look at our workforce and how it’s changing, becoming more mobile, millennials are becoming a great part of our population of working age people. Our workforce is changing significantly and organizations have to reassess their culture, and really make important adjustments to assure that there are more diverse workforce and inclusive work practices in place. And for HR that means lots of change. I specifically have experienced major changes within our organization, especially shifting from an HR team that are doers, trackers, and some even calling the police in the past. We are people that plan parties and events to now looking at how do we drive the business, how do we help the business get to where we need to go. And that’s meant transforming ourselves to enable the organization and some of the things that IT has been helpful with supporting us with this data and analytics, and to be able to do that more effectively such that we can forecast what trends are going to be, where things are heading both within our organization and outside. But really the bottom line for HR is to the need to stay ahead of the business such that we can understand the business, have the right analytics and tools, and change process in place that help enable the workforce that we need.
Sanjog: So Jonathan, let me come back to you. When you look at HR and I’m sure you must have worked and partnered with HR to get ahead with what you want to accomplish. Traditionally HR was seen as people who were doing just benefits, payroll and very process centric and not really connected to where the business wants to go, to a point they are told what to do. Now that has to change of course as we’ve discussed now and as Amy mentioned but that perception still continues in many cases and that’s why many people don’t go to HR. If you want to look at your department and what you want to accomplish, what is your approach to enabling HR or basically helping HR help you?
Jonathan: Yes. There has been a significant change in how we identify talent, on board talent, retain talent and keep them engaged. I mean Amy talked about changing demographics, and changing expectations. It’s a different environment that we find ourselves in today than when I started my career almost 20-25 years ago. Now public service is a great place to start your career. And public service is a really compelling place for Silicon Valley individual to bring technical skills to. So the relationship between IT and HR can no longer just be one that goes – here is what we need, thanks very much. Come back to us when you’ve identified the candidates. It really have to be as Amy talked about a very close relationship; a partnership between our needs, the needs of the organization and the ability for the human resources organization to be deeply embedded in as well as about how we go about acquiring talent in the marketplace, bring most people on and retain them.
What I am talking about is what is really useful in my world are deep partnership. It’s about having someone who is really getting to know our organization well. And by the way, equally as an IT organization understanding how HR operates and how we can best serve them. So that’s the broad context. Now I know that in the conversation we will get will get into more detail. But we have to recognize that there – for me and I think all IT leaders and the environment in which we now operate is entirely different of the one we’re faced with just five years ago. And we’ve got to respond to that.
Sanjog: So Amy, one fine morning you’ll get invited by a top leader and say, “we want you to align yourself to the business and we want you to get the people ready so we can charge it a hundred miles an hour. You are not expected or you cannot basically produce miracles when you still don’t understand enough about each department, the psyche of the worker as it is changing, the kind of business initiatives that they have which are understood at enough depth for you to be able to map it out to see what kind of skills etc., you need. And secondly, even more important is the semantics, what an IT leader understands about their workforce. You may suddenly get that lightbulb lit up for you to know exactly what these guys need. What’s your process or what should be the process for HR to get up to speed before they can take ownership of this task because otherwise there would be a failure?
Amy: I think the first thing that an HR organization needs to think about in a situation like that is how they align with the business. So in our case, what we’ve done and I think many organizations have or are in the process of doing is really looking at how they align key HR leaders along with key HR functions like IT, finance, and any other part of business. And assure that there’s people embedded and they will function that truly live, eat, breathe, what those functions do each day, what they need to accomplish and understand what the both business strategies are but also what the potential challenges are that they’re running into which most often have to do with some sort of a workforce issue. Whether it’s the right people, the right number of people, people developed to do what they need to do, the issues are varied. But if HR is doing it right, we are literally assigning business partners to that business, to partner directly day to day with what’s going on there.
Sanjog: Would you say some incubation is needed before you can talk alignment, where you at least get to understand business to the degree which, you should have known but earlier it was more of a peripheral role and now you’re expected to embed yourselves?
Amy: Yeah, it does take some time. In our case, we’ve been working on transition or transformation for well over two years. We’ve brought in new individuals to partner with the IT organization here at our health care. And it does take some time to get up to speed. Even if you’re coming from within the organization, to truly understand what the challenges are, you need to understand the leaders, and you need to understand where their strengths and growth opportunities might be. And then you’re really truly helping them leverage their strengths. Bring in the right talent to help work with where they might have opportunities for growth and somebody else can help them, shore up in an area and think more strategically as the sort of the next phase after that understanding is established.
In America we don’t necessarily have a problem with openings, but we do have a problem with finding people who have the right skills
Sanjog: So Jonathan, when you look at the way HR has come and you’ve started working with them. What do you think they could improve upon or what they could be provided as a resources or knowledge or support, which will help them up there game?
Jonathan: Yeah. Well, I think there’s a need to rethink how we identify and hire people in a much more transformational way than we have in start done. And I’ll tell you why I believe that. There’s some interesting phenomenon going on in the world of work. I was surprised to learn that in the gig economy, right, these are people who have decided either to supplement them to the day job or leave their day job and do things like drive a car or help people in their home cook meals and do a whole series of those activities that they can choose to do and make some income In fact, despite the fact there’s no benefits, they can actually bring in quite a lot of income. But the American participation on that has been 90 million Americans. It’s about a quarter, a little less than quarter of our entire country. So we have people thinking differently about how they’re going to spend their time and earn income. We have the other statistics about our environment. And this maybe is equally as interesting I guess as we think about the future, is how many people now are just beyond the gig economy where they’re providing services and sell to provide their skills and organizations on a freelance basis, and the numbers now are getting close to about 50 million people which is about a third of our workforce. So that and then combined with shorter ten years, you have a very different workplace. I guess last thing that’s kind of setting the table a little bit for your question, is it’s becoming clear that, in America we don’t necessarily have a problem with openings, we have a problem with finding people who have the right skills. So we have these sort of like I would call them and think about them as three or four major trends that are occurring that we need to – all of us, as employers and people who work in traditional organizations, need to respond to and not just incremental ways but radical ways. So as you think about how you need to acquire talent in the marketplace.
So back to your question, I would be looking to partner with our HR organization to rethink how we post positions, how we find people, how we bring them in or retain them. In ways that we haven’t had to think about before. And use some of the new contemporary tools to do that. The old sort of match with the person, going to job description, filling in their credentials and getting submit, waiting for a response, coming to a panel. Maybe that isn’t the way anymore. And we have to create a new model for recruitment and say and really appreciate that people that come to work for us may only be there for a short amount of time. And so it knowing that, how might we work with them. And what kind of services might we provide to them during the time that they spend with our organization. So I think quarter would be really embracing the change in radical ways, more than we’re doing, today I think would be my kind of primary objective here working with HR.
Sanjog: Let’s take a quick break listeners, we will be right back. And Amy, you’ve got quite an interesting fodder for the response to this question where if there is a change in the workforce, now we are no longer in a weaker economy. We are where people want to do multiple things at any given time at work or outside of work. And there are different approaches to how they want to build a career, not necessarily at one company. With all of that coming into the mix, what’s your strategy? What are you thinking, you will do new more or different. Please stay tune listeners, we will be right back.
Sanjog: Welcome back. So, Amy you heard Jonathan’s response to the question I asked and he also added the number of – and a bunch of curve balls, where he said, we have challenges with us not thinking the same way, our workforce doesn’t want to work the same length what we expected earlier. Everything is kind of fundamentally shifting. What’s your plan?
Amy: You’re correct. That could be construed as a curveball question just because that is probably the biggest question for any workforce today. It’s incredibly challenging to see the changing workforce we have with a group of young people that are becoming working age that are going to be the majority of our working population in no time. So I agree that it’s a really important issue for us as organizations to contend with.
My solution would be threefold.
First, I think that the recruitment and it’s really important for us. Whether it’s HR with IT or with HR with any part of an organization, become a partner when it comes to the recruitment process. We’ve found in our organization that where we really get creative is when we are working together to kind of look at where the different types of people that might be able to fulfill a need the organization has. What are the different types of backgrounds and experiences that we might be able to transfer to effectively take up a new position or role.
The second thing is that we need to look at flexibility in our workplaces. And this is extremely challenging. The bigger the organization I think the tougher it is to change what you’re used to or what is the norm in the organization. And so for an organization of our size, this is something we’re really thinking about because how do we embed that. Everything from what was described around the gig economy and people wanting to do multiple jobs and multiple things, there’s a lot of truth to that. And it provides people the flexibility in life, it gives them, maybe a little extra excitement, meeting new people doing a things or meeting financial needs.
So the third thing is, I think what we need to do as organizations is whether it’s again IT or any other part of a businesses, think about how we meet people where they are. There are a lot of people out there of any age, any background that, yes, they may want a short assignment, they may only want to be with the company for a couple of years, they may prefer small to large. But bottom line is, how we understand those people and what their needs and interests are and help to look at your own organization to flex to those needs to create the right experience where you can leverage their strength to do something really important within your organization and that starts I think to change the picture for people, and it might even make someone to stay longer than they normally would.
HR needs to stay ahead of the business such that we can understand the business, have the right analytics and tools, and change process in place that help enable the workforce that we need.
Sanjog: Amy I had a listener tweet directly to me while listening to this conversation and they have an interesting question. So if we talk about business and HR partnership and you’d really start showing to the people within the organization that you are partnering with business. There has been a sentiment about us versus the business, which is the workforce versus the business. So if you show that you have affinity towards the business that may say HR becomes against them, our perception of HR becoming against them versus being a neutral third party. Is that a risk?
Amy: I don’t know if I totally understand the question. But that might be because of where I come from.
Sanjog: Would you say the business aligns with HR or HR aligns with business that means you’re doing what the business wants you to do. And in that process they may say, okay, we have to let go of a certain number of people or we have to groom a certain skillset. So when you become more aligned to a corporation, could you see that being perceived as you are going against the very people who are trying to serve?
Amy: I don’t think so. I think HR and the business can come to the right answer together on these type of issues. I don’t see this as an “us and them” type of issue. And in my organization I see my HR team as part of the business, and so in the right situation, a progressive HR organization that’s where they’re going to come from.
Sanjog: Jonathan, when you look at the information that’s available to HR because I’m sure you’ve done your systems and you’ve seen other organizations offering HR the necessary tools and technology and of course, process improvement. Where do you think they may be running or they may have the risk of running a blind eye or at least not having a complete vision of what’s happening at a business level for them to be able to make an informed decision and refine their strategy?
Jonathan: Well, part of it is going to remain analog. As Amy said, the HR organization just has to be in the meetings and have to be working with management and all levels of the organization. I just encourage organizations to do more of that. That’s not– we don’t know we have to be just about tech. I think though on the tech side, I think every HR leader would probably argue they don’t have sufficient insight into the business data and the marketplace data that they would like. Part of that is many organizations, particularly big ones, deal with this kind of ugly legacy HR IS Systems. They weren’t built beautiful 15 years ago and they still exist. In many cases, we’re still dealing with some older tech. I mean if you look at – I’m really impressed at some of the new HR that are starting to emerge, I look at something like Crunchr. And it uses– it adopts and accounts for some of the contemporary ways we’re thinking about looking at data, both visualization but also predictive analytics. An HR organization can begin to use the insight they’ve gained through interviews and marketplace data, input into a system. And then look at things like supply and demand of talent succession planning.
So I think the enlightened the organizations that want to embrace some of the new tools should be looking at some of the available– for the first time some of the available analytics that have emerged. In other areas that probably HR would argue they don’t have good visibility to and where IT can help is in the unassigned of the channels of communication between an organization and the social media world. Everything from using those channels to acquiring talent required to source people and to engage with people. But also understanding the sentiment, is a space that we haven’t seen yet, be fully embraced by organization to sentiment analysis where the feeling that prospective employees have the organization can be determined and as a result HR, they can see that working with marketing and others, see that executive leadership to position the organization to be more attractive to those employees, perhaps have a poor perception of that organization as an employer. So there are some contemporary tools and visibility that HR needs that IT can help with, that is going to really contribute towards a better experience.
Our workforce is changing significantly and organizations have to reassess their culture, and really make important adjustments to assure that there are more diverse workforce and inclusive work practices in place
Sanjog: So what we could do is to take a quick break right now and Amy if you were to have your way and if you had to fundamentally rethink your HR of course in terms of mindset and partnering is one thing. But what information you should be having or we should make it available to you as an HR department? And or what all meetings you would like to sit in, so that you’ll see firsthand the performance versus something being told to you second hand by the manager who may have his own or her own reasons to tell you what they are talking about? What all would you change in HR for you to do your job and become that next level of HR which is truly aligned with all parties. Please stay tune listeners, we will be right back.
Sanjog: Welcome back. Imagine Amy, going to a war, a fewer ammunition what you need and one hand tied behind your back that’s not really going to help you. So if you had your way, in running HR, transforming HR, what would you like to put as your wishlist and demands so that you are able to do your job that has been tasked?
Amy: Well, this is an exciting time for me to have my way. So thank you for that. What I would do is two things. First, I would ask for best workforce analytic solution I could get and that would provide me predictive analytics, deep insights into my talent, identify the linkages of workforce analytics to the business analytics. And from that I’d be able to really pull out important data that the business needs in order to drive their goals, coupled with that, my team and I think that’s where we are today. In my organization, there are HR people that are embedded in the business. And I said that before that what I mean by that is that they’re seeing as things happen what the business issues are. So they’re in meetings about strategy, they’re in meetings about budgets and plan for the next three to five years. They are involved in some of the operations decisions and issues that are potentially barriers and or will help to elevate some of the strategies and goals that need to be moved in a business organization. So by coupling the right data and tools with being a part of business and really seeing and maybe sometimes bringing ahead of the business bringing forth what the issues are that they’re seeing. I think that’s really where we need to be. And that would be– If I could have my way the way I would have it.
Sanjog: So Jonathan, Amy, of course laid out her wishlist. And when we talk about the absolute best analytics tool, and I’ll come to Jonathan about this, so what do you think is the best for them? Does HR first of all is able to articulate, are they in a position to understand what they need? Are we are supposed to go and coach them on that?
Jonathan: Well, let’s just say in the sort of 21st century workforce everything should be collaboration. It is give and take, it’s partnering, and it’s finding solutions together. No one individual or team has the answer today. Everything is just too complex for that. So in a good healthy collaboration between two departments, two groups, they’ll get in a room where they’ll have a series of activities that will get the best answer. That said, I would look to HR leadership to articulate a vision and a set of business needs. And then as a provider organization in the IT organization looks to see how we could meet those needs and look out to the marketplace for more contemporary solutions. I don’t know that I would necessarily list the best tech today I think. I’m pleased with some of the emerging solutions that we just simply have not had in the past. Part of that is being enabled by big data. The ability to study unstructured data in large volumes, glean meaning and identify patterns in the data. We’re getting good at that and this is changing organizations. So you are going to see a lot of tools, a lot of innovation in that space.
Some of the small to medium sized solutions that are now becoming providers to HR organizations are trying to be sort of the full suite of solution everything from recruitment to benefits. And then they’ll have their analytics reporting piece. And if you’re looking in that area an interesting organization that is doing many things and influencing others is Zenefits. Despite a bit of a bumpy ride of the last few weeks which we will see how it all transpires. Coming like zenefits.com, I think they’re creating sort of potentially new model for how we think about the full suite of services for HR Including as you’re asking the questions, Sanjog, the analytics piece which inherently gets baked into all the different functions as a part of the architecture. So that I would say is probably more the emerging trend on the small to medium sized. If we get to the enterprise, a large organization, we need to think about business intelligence and some leaders in the business intelligence space. And there’s a range of those. But to Amy’s point and to your question, we were able to unlock insights today that we couldn’t before. And the only question really for HR leadership is, are you doing it and if you’re not, when are you going to do it?
Sanjog: So Amy, you have a chance to respond here.
Amy: Okay. Thank you. And actually we are. While I mention that I would love to have the most advanced analytics. It’s interesting and it speaks to a lot of what we talked about earlier. When you hire the right talent, results come. And in our case, we hired someone who had an engineering and strong background and statistics in analytics and he is built something for us in a very short time period that’s giving us incredible insight and the opportunity to bring important insights into the workforce to our business partners. Both within the health care part of the business where health care is delivered. But it’s absolutely where we need to be. It’s where my organization is now and we’re already reaping the benefits. It’s a really positive thing both for the business and for each area to be able to really deliver what in their hearts they really want to.
Sanjog: With what you just said, do you think what you have is enough like suppose I would make you as a representative of the HR community and say, if I gave you the right HR tools and you had blessings of the business, do you think you everything that you needed any, if yes, when are the results going to show up and what would they look like? So that we say, okay, we have really transformed HR. What would that look like?
Amy: The first thing I would say is, I think we were never going to arrive. I think that every business function in HR at the top of the heap, we need to continually evolve. I think that what you’re seeing today with HR is a full understanding that many of us got behind. We really needed to step into a leadership role in the organization because the workforce literally enables everything that needs to be done within an organization. And so with that in mind I think we’ve really shifted and repositioned ourselves in those that haven’t already I think most are in the process of doing so. Again, I don’t think you ever arrive. I think you take some great tools, great insights. And you continue to build that constantly look at how you evolve because frankly the business is just changing so quickly that we have to.
Sanjog: And so Jonathan, if you were to say, you’re going to help become a partner to HR, one is not just only been you need to or when they ask you, you go and help them, and the collaboration as to be ongoing, to what degree would you elevate this collaboration? Would you say, okay, come sit in my meeting so when I’m doing my performance appraisals, I’m not basically telling you what I think and it’s not limited to a managers relationship with that candidate. What all places would you actually take the collaboration to the next level?
Jonathan: There are different ways to think about that question. I might ask why we’re doing performance reviews. I think that is going to be, is worthy of discussing. We should be challenging whether performance reviews work and whether there isn’t a better way to provide people with continuing feedback and feedback they need for their career. I think we can do a better job of bringing our HR colleagues in to appropriate meetings into our town halls and all hands meeting. As the IT organization sort of looks out of the marketplace and sees trends, it’s not just about tech but about behavior. We ought to be bringing those to our colleagues. And I guess, in a reciprocal basis they can bring it back to IT, which they will through business needs.
I think an interesting example of this specific example is the reconciling the efforts of an IT leader and an marketing leader today. They seem like such a different worlds and yet that was sort of this intersection because if you think about the role of social media and social good that the broad range of social media tools we had today, they typically started with IT people. And IT people brought it to the organization and of course, we subsequently realized the enormous marketing value these have and they were then adopted by marketing. And they have strong technical competence needs. Not all of a sudden you have this interesting collaboration going on between IT and marketing. In some ways I think we might see similar partnerships between IT leadership and HR leadership in the way in which we analyze data to make business decisions. And these analytics tools we’ve been talking about, they’re not easy, they need sometimes very specific skills like to build reports and to script queries. And so there’s a necessary collaboration I think that will see more of.
The last point I might make on this is, you were saying sort of interesting demand across the marketplace but IT here in Silicon Valley is particularly difficult in that – we’re hearing it loud and clear from prospective employees, why they’re making choices and what they’re looking for. And that’s a very important voice that I think tech companies are hearing and IT people are hearing that we can provide to the broader HR community. Amy earlier on talked about the fact that millennials will become the majority of the workforce between 2020, 2025. This group of this huge corporation has very different expectations about the career and all of that group the people who will go into a technical role have particular needs. So getting right back to the core to question; the need to collaborate between departments and particular in between IT and HR has never been greater. I mean I hope I made a strong case of that.
We need to be flexible, relevant and provide practical solutions to business issues. I think at that point IT or any other business will have no question and want us to be at the table and become a part of this strategy and planning
Sanjog: Let’s take a quick break listeners. And when we comeback, Amy if you were to fundamentally rethink HR, so if you’re saying we’re going to transform it, I hope it is not going to be a better mouse trap. So your HR community is looking at not same way the way a performance review was done or the way people were supposed to behave in a meeting and or with the customers. So, those ground rules that were created are fundamentally being disrupted or there is no rule per se. I mean not completely, but there are different ways to look at how you engage with the business internally. So if the new age that we are looking ahead and you want to transform, are you thinking rethink what is possible or are you thinking rethink what we have been doing and just get a better mousetrap. Where are you drawing the line and to what degree are you fundamentally disrupting your own HR department for the transformation as an organization. Please stay tuned listeners, we will be right back.
Sanjog: Welcome back. So, Amy if you’re holding the baton for HR transformation, so is the intention about building a better mousetrap or fundamentally disrupt?
Amy: I would go with fundamentally disrupt. With one caveat that there’s a certain things that will remain true that you still need to have within an organization. I’ll speak to both sides of that equation. I think we do need to look at how we change, how we manage in an organization and frankly, it’s going to start with a paradigm shift from supervision to leadership. It doesn’t matter what the organization delivers whether it’s a product or service, really start to look at leadership and what that means. And the example came up earlier in the show about performance reviews, which is something you do once a year and you look back and that there’s really no plan moving forward and you just look forward to the next year. Or is that something that happens every day, every week where people are getting feedback an insight into performance and some of the things that might be opportunities, things that they’re doing well. They learn to continue to do well, and that’s so disruptive. Some organizations are starting to throw away their performance reviews as an example and truly going with that, that ongoing feedback loop and any of us who are working in an organization know that continuous feedback helps to make us better. So we do need to look at some of these more disruptive changes that are happening out there. And consider how we make those things happen. Frankly, that means again going back to leadership, it’s a change about how you lead. It really changes how you handle your day as a leader.
Going back to some of the things that need to stay that I think continue to be important. Let’s take leadership development or learning, it’s really important to continue to have great systems in place to develop people within an organization. Whether it’s millennial that may decide to stay for a shorter period of time. Or it’s someone who has stood the test of time but continues to want to develop in an organization. I think it’s important that continues but again there’s some disruption that needs to occur. People are looking for and respond better often to learning in short bursts just in time versus just in case tech enabled learning has something that IT can help support and think about for the HR team to deliver. Where you leverage and you have, so people can learn as they’re on the go, and then really shifting a mindset from a bricks and mortar type of learning to a more experience action learning on the job. So these are just a couple examples of disruptions that I believe need to occur at something that in my organization we’re really thinking deeply about in our HR team. And we know what we’re going to need to change.
Sanjog: So one is to stand on the sidelines, give instructions as a coach and see how the players play. Another is to embed yourself in the game, so to what degree do you think, Amy, HR is willing to embed themselves in the game and we really in the front line working hand in hand with the people as us like in terms of sitting in the meetings and or when you’re saying, okay, let’s develop an app, actually become the people who give the requirements and work together with the people who are supposed to be the ones learning, help develop the requirement versus saying, okay, this is a wish list, go ahead and do it and let’s see what happens. How much of an effort are you willing to put in?
Amy: Oh, I think we need to put in 95% of the effort. I’ve been a part of this organization for a long time and I’ve seen lots of different changes and one of the things that’s first and foremost in my mind for HR is that we need to be clear on what we need. And we need to partner to get there and we need to research, we need to think through, we need to understand it, and that’s not just what HR wants. That’s an understanding what the business needs as well, and then representing that we partner with IT.
Sanjog: So Jonathan, if I were to come back to you and say, okay, Amy is asking, she’s part of your organization, she’s saying that she’s ready to jump or head over heels into making this happen. What do you think you would want to do before that relationship starts at a level where they’re embedded? What preparation should be there?
Jonathan: So you’re talking about perhaps sort of HR analyst being part of the IT organization? I don’t think you’re suggesting HR part of IT, right?
Sanjog: No. So Amy says that she’s willing to have people get embedded at whatever capacity, to what degree do you think you would allow that and second is, what would you welcome in terms of collaboration so? We can always say, oh, HR never works, so it is never going to work etc, but now HR is saying, yes, we are willing to give over 95%, we are willing to take on the analytics. And we had ready to use the actionable intelligence provided and put that into execution. And now IT come step up, work with us hand in hand. What’s going to be your response, what are you going to – and what always would you going to step up as well?
Jonathan: Yes. I mean that’s the best case you describe it, that’s exactly what everybody wants on both sides, right. HR wants a high quality responsive IT organization and IT wants customers what they want and that can help articulate needs and document those needs. So you’re describing very much–
Sanjog: A utopic state.
Sanjog: So, what would prevent us from making this happen? So now I’m seeing Amy sitting on this side saying I’m ready to do it. Are you thinking, Jonathan that, IT is not ready to embrace that or that’s too much of a shock for them that they actually are getting a business stakeholder who is ready to come all this far or and you’re just waiting for that to happen?
Jonathan: Look, every organization is very different. There has been a traditional role of IT which is being sort of more back office, which is a service provider that you throw a need over the wall and hope that IT responds. And what we’ve seen in the more successful in line the organizations is, technology is seen as a strategic enabler and a partner. And then by the way, there’s a big difference in the performance of those organizations when that actually is the case. With every organization today being a technology organization of some form, one would hope we see a lot more of that. So I think there’s a little bit of tradition. We have to shift from the sort of back office model to being partners at the table. And then we need to create organizations that have that in place but are still struggling, need a platform to enable and what I mean by the platform is, I’ve seen a lot of success with IT governance. A structure by which requests are made and then for filled and accountability baked into it. And what you’re describing is a high performance IT governance between HR and IT, where the needs of HR really well understood. There’s a roadmap. There is a partnership on how to achieve that roadmap over a course of months and years. And so, I think you need to take both of those. So to summarize, you’ve got to have IT at the same level as other units within the organization talking at a strategic level about business objectives and organizational objective. You have to have a platform for the exchange of knowledge and the agreement on what will be delivered. And I would suggest I keep governance. A governance review board for that.
And finally, I think the most enlightened which is what you really were talking about is to what degree can we – not only embed– but how the HR can take on more technical skills and to what degree must we embed IT with HR. Should we have, for example, dotted line responsibilities, for an analyst between reporting to a HR manager and an IT manager. So I think the answer there is what makes sense to your organization, what culturally is acceptable and what will actually succeed. So those are some characteristics that I would look for.
Sanjog: One final question for you Amy. If you were to look at making this transformation happen and get it done in a predictable fashion and also sustain it, what do you think should be the changes in mindset to capabilities and the sponsorship that you need for you to make this happen?
Amy: I think first of all, Jonathan made a few comments that made me think about HR’s role in this change process. We really need to be experts in our field. We need to be really strong listeners, inquisitive about the business and then as we partner, we need to be flexible, relevant and really provide a practical solutions to business issues. I think at that point IT or any other business will have no question and want us to be at the table and be a part of this strategy and planning. And I think that’s where the partnerships will begin when we let go off the old HR and fully transition to that strategic partnership that the business needs.
Sanjog: On behalf of the show and our listeners, I would really like to thank you both, Amy and Jonathan for sharing your thoughts on how HR can actually fundamentally rethink what it stands for and also transform so that everyone in the organization benefits. And how IT can partner with this transformation. Thank you so much again.
Amy: It was a pleasure, thank you for inviting us.
Jonathan: Thank you too.