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HR and IT synergy: The key to making HR tech work in 2024

Jason Averbook, Mercer
Jason Averbook
With a career that spans over two decades in HR and technology, Jason Averbook is senior partner and the Global Leader of HR Transformation at Mercer, where he also is a leading figure in the firm's global generative AI strategy and services. He is the author of two books on the future of HR and HR technology. From 2018 to 2023, Averbook was co-founder/CEO of Leapgen, a company committed to shaping the future workplace. He also serves as an adjunct professor at universities worldwide, has held senior roles at industry giants such as PeopleSoft and Ceridian and is frequently quoted by top media outlets.

In 2024, the landscape of work continues to undergo a dramatic transformation, driven by rapid advancements in technology and the widespread adoption of tools infused with AI. As organizations navigate this new reality, the partnership between HR and IT has become more crucial than ever in shaping the future of how work gets done. It’s not just about implementing cutting-edge technologies; it’s about creating a seamless, data-driven experience that empowers your workforce and drives true, intentional outcomes.

Opportunities to reflect on the HR and IT partnership

How do you know if your HR and IT teams are truly partnering effectively? Here are five key (but not the only) questions your organization should ask to check the health of this critical partnership:

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1. Do HR and IT have a unified digital strategy that ensures prioritization, cost efficiencies, and a shared roadmap for the future?

2. Have HR and IT established a robust governance framework that clearly defines roles, responsibilities and decision-making processes for HR technology deployments, improvements and data management?

3. Are HR and IT actively collaborating to identify and address fragmented systems that hinder data integration, leading to inefficiencies and a disjointed employee experience?

4. Are HR and IT jointly exploring the potential of AI-powered tools to revolutionize HR processes, such as recruitment, onboarding and employee development, while ensuring responsible and ethical implementation?

5. Do HR and IT have a shared vision for creating a seamless, personalized employee experience that leverages data insights and digital technologies to support employees throughout their lifecycle?

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These questions get to the heart of what makes a strong HR and IT partnership. It’s not just about having a digital strategy; it’s about ensuring that your data, your fuel, is working for you, not against you. When HR and IT are aligned on strategies around deployment, change, data governance and roadmaps, they can break down silos, create a single source of truth and unlock powerful insights that drive better decision-making and an employee experience that truly feels like it was designed for 2024.

Prioritize collaboration, continuous learning

What actions can you take to ensure that HR and IT are truly aligned? Here are three critical steps:

1. Establish regular cross-functional meetings between HR and IT leaders to discuss strategic priorities, share insights and identify opportunities for collaboration.

2. Develop a shared roadmap that outlines key milestones, responsibilities and success metrics for HR technology implementations and data initiatives.

3. Invest in upskilling and reskilling programs that empower HR professionals to become more tech-savvy and IT professionals to better understand the human side of digital transformation.

By taking these actions, you can foster a culture of collaboration and continuous learning that breaks down silos and drives ongoing innovation.

In 2024, continuous improvement is more important than ever. With the rapid pace of technological change, organizations must be agile and adaptable, constantly refining their digital strategies to stay ahead of the curve. This requires a mindset of continuous learning and experimentation, where HR and IT work together to pilot new technologies, gather feedback and iterate based on data-driven insights.

But let’s not forget about the human side of this equation. Your employees don’t care about the behind-the-scenes tech stuff; they just want a seamless, intuitive experience that supports them at every stage of their journey. That’s why HR and IT need to be laser-focused on creating digital tools and processes that are easy to use, personalized and truly add value to the workforce daily.

Despite the clear benefits of a strong HR and IT partnership, many organizations still struggle to prioritize this collaboration. Often, HR and IT are seen as separate entities with different goals and priorities, leading to a lack of communication and misalignment. Moreover, in the face of competing demands and limited resources, the strategic importance of HR and IT synergy can be easily overlooked. Leaders may focus on short-term gains and overlook the long-term value of investing in a unified digital strategy and a seamless employee experience. This shortsightedness results in large, unmanaged costs, painful attempts at integration, loss of trust because of bad data and tension between the teams that ultimately creates more silos.

So, as you assess the health of your HR and IT partnership in 2024, don’t just focus on the shiny objects. Dig deep into your roadmaps, data strategy, governance model and the real-world impact on your employees. If you can get those fundamentals right, you’ll be well on your way to building a digital-first organization that allows HR to not just survive but thrive in this ever-changing world.

Learn how HR and IT teams around the globe are forging stronger partnerships at HRE‘s upcoming HR Technology Europe, May 2-3 in Amsterdam. Click here to register.