Building a Great Employee Experience is a Team Sport

The word ‘experience’ is morphing from an HR-only priority to a company-wide collaboration theme for organizations focused on bringing better people experiences to life. Yes, HR customarily cares for the softer side of employee experience like boosting positive emotions, consumer-grade touch or being more supportive of the employee lifecycle whereas departments like IT are invested equally in efficiency, speed and agility of how all the things HR cares about are delivered. The two combined makes for a killer duo when it comes to driving experience initiatives in the company.

It’s now an opportunity for IT decision-makers to let ‘experience’ drive the need to redefine new ways of dividing and conquering with HR and vice versa, on employee experience projects.

I had a moment to sync with Mia Isnardi-Shook, VP of Global People Services & Enablement at Hitachi Vantara in my research of how departments like HR and IT can work ‘better together’ to drive employee experience projects. The company just recently celebrated their go live of their redesigned new hire onboarding program using ServiceNow’s employee lifecycle platform. This effort has required Hitachi Vantara to reduce historic siloes between resources, systems, and platforms to drive greater cross-departmental alignment, communication and team work between HR, IT and other departments.

Here are a few words of wisdom from Mia as she leads the way for her HR peers.

Q: What are the key benefits of HR and IT working together in driving digital employee experience projects in the company? And what challenges do these departments currently face with how it is today?

Mia: “One of the key benefits to HR and IT working together on driving a digital employee experience is that they can offer a cohesive and holistic approach to these efforts.  Having this alignment allows for a much greater positive impact for the employees as you can incorporate the people programs into the digital projects to highlight the benefits.  The challenges that we have faced in this area is in getting to an enterprise strategy between our departments.   We currently operate independently and therefore have siloed efforts around these projects and communications.   We are working now to partner more closely to eliminate the siloes and align our strategy and approach.   In the absence of this alignment, we appear disconnected to our employees and risk losing credibility and employee confidence.  Aligning strategy around this effort will not only help with the points mentioned, it will also allow for combining our resource requests, etc. to eliminate duplicative efforts and hopefully help to reduce costs and expedite optimization.”

Q: How can HR and IT departments improve the structure of their organization as it relates to reporting chains, resources, new roles, teams, new skill sets etc. when working together on employee experience projects?

Mia: “The best way to ensure a partnership between HR and IT is to establish dedicated employee experience resources and have those resources drive cross-functional alignment from various departments, not just HR and IT. A cross-functional employee experience team would manage EX projects for alignment, integration and an enterprise-level communications plan. And at Hitachi Vantara, HR is working closely with IT counterparts to establish a partnership related to our ServiceNow projects and optimization.”

Q: What can IT be doing differently to not just implement technology but ensure that the technology investment is also optimizing the end-user experience, productivity and how work gets done?

Mia: “Work with cross-functional organizations to understand the business needs and establish an enterprise strategy for the various tools and technology.  Don’t operate in a vacuum, ensure that there is strong understanding of the business needs and technology as well as core competency and capability of the various technology so that it can be optimized in the most useful, efficient and cost-effective way.”

Q: How is IT (or how should IT be) engaging in the concept of design thinking in your or a organization?

Mia: “In addition to what I mentioned that IT could do differently, I would say that they should engage the “customers” across the business, understand the needs/requirements and be more collaborative in the process.”