Bridge the Gap between HR and IT to Drive Growth


A host of new technologies aimed at the government sector have CIOs asking themselves: “How can we leverage these technologies to drive our talent and mission goals forward?” The answer lies in building up the relationship between IT and HR departments. Read on to learn best practices for turning this new collaboration into a valuable driver for recruiting, onboarding, training, managing, and retaining public sector employees.

Break Down Barriers to the Cloud

Moving to the cloud has led to tremendous success in the private sector and, while government agencies haven’t made a similar widespread shift yet, the organizations that have done so have seen impactful wins. As beneficial as it can be for government agencies, moving to the cloud can be challenging due to a variety of factors:

  • Budget restrictions, which hamper 62% of organizations[1]
  • Decentralized technology among agencies and partners
  • Security issues; one breach compromised data of 21 million employees[2]
  • Institutional/cultural resistance ($80 billion is spent on Government IT, though 80% of that is to maintain legacy systems)

These are common, but by no means comprehensive. A lack of understanding about the cloud and a shortage of people to manage it, are also cited as challenges. However, IT units can strategically work with HR teams to make the business case to stakeholders that moving to the cloud can streamline agency operations on everything from recruiting and learning, to performance management and succession. These have the added effect of an increase in efficiently using agency resources – more on that in a moment.

Do the Data Dance

A PwC study found that 81% of CEOs are looking for a broader range of skills than in the past.[3] But competition for this high level of talent is fierce, and HR will need more advanced tech tools to gather employee or candidate data.

Before implementing cloud-based applications, IT will first need to partner with HR to collaborate on finding talent that can help implement them. Step two is focused on how the new hire (or hires) can streamline the rollout. HR should be open about their challenges in every phase of the employee lifecycle, and IT should oversee the shopping, RFP, purchase and implementation of cloud solutions. This collaboration is a model for how teams that don’t often work together can be the catalysts for agency development.

Engage CHCO in Building a Cloud Adoption Plan

Speaking of making the business case, CIOs and IT stakeholders should start any cloud adoption campaign by engaging with the CHCO to champion the benefits of this tech-forward initiative. Organizational benefits include:

  • A reduction in costs due to no expensive onsite servers or complicated software that may not work as intended
  • Increased agency agility, which stems from all upgrades, patches and fixes occurring automatically
  • Stronger insight into employee and organizational data, including the identification of skills gaps, learning initiatives, compliance issues and recruiting goals

While IT teams aren’t always thought of as drivers of agency goals, new software actually empowers them to have a bigger stake in the organization. But first, they need to engage HR to fully leverage their capabilities. HR and IT units can work together to identify organizational challenges and figure out how to deliver a mission-forward solution. Their partnership can also recognize what the barriers are to adopting a cloud-based approach to the workforce and determine the best way to make a business case for this strategy. In creating that case, they need to focus on gaining key insight from readily available data, identify how the reductions in equipment lead to decreased costs and improved efficiency and show how the automation of software maintenance and upgrades frees up resources for achieving goals.

[1] http://www.icfi.com/services/it-solutions/campaigns/federal-leaders-digital-insight-study-2015?utm_medium=owned-social&utm_source=linkedin&utm_campaign=insight-fldis-infographic&utm_content=icfi

[2] http://www.cio.com/article/2988495/cloud-computing/government-cloud-adoption-efforts-lag-as-security-concerns-persist.html

[3] https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/ceo-survey/2015/assets/pwc-18th-annual-global-ceo-survey-jan-2015.pdf

Jim Gill is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Katarina Hong

I really enjoyed how you broke how to bridge the gap between HR and IT down step by step. So helpful. Thanks for posting!