The benefits of a CHRO-CIO partnership

One HR leader says a collaboration between these two roles is needed to effectively use digital tools for improved employee engagement

The benefits of a CHRO-CIO partnership
A recent survey by telecommunications company BT found that 67% of employees around the world demand the flexibility of being able to work on the move or from home, but many feel frustrated with the seeming lack of technology offered by their employers for them to do so.

“More than half complain about wasting time trying to reach their colleagues (54%) and at least seven in ten employees (73%) would rather their IT department invest in the best technology tools available for mobile working, than provide them with a company car,” said Usha Baidya, HR VP for Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa at BT.

“We need to think about giving employees more agility by bringing technology into the workplace. Smart mobile tools will boost employee engagement, agility, productivity and learning.”

In an email interview with HRD, Baidya shared her insights on how CHROs need to keep modern technology top-of-mind and why there is a need for collaboration between this role and CIOs:
How important is it for the CHRO to understand IT strategies?
There's no question that technology has radically changed the way companies do business, by expanding and enhancing IT capabilities for their own employees, companies will secure a greater chance of attracting and retaining the talent required to grow the business. For this to come to fruition, the CHRO plays a vital role in reconciling the current gap between what is required for better employee performance and the digital tools currently offered to them. 

This means the CHRO must be able to understand the various IT strategies being implemented in the company in order to accurately identify key areas that can be adjusted to suit the specific needs of employees. As the person who leads on a company’s people strategy and also sits in the boardroom where the decisions are made, the CHRO can evaluate the type of working experience desired by employees and in tandem work with the CIO to effect the changes necessary for SMART digital tools and systems.

What is the CHRO's role in bridging the gap between the use of technology and job satisfaction? 
With the pace of business so much faster than it was just a few years ago, employees need accurate and reliable information, in real-time and on-demand, in order to perform their tasks efficiently and effectively. They also require mobility tools that allow them to collaborate easily across business units. The CHRO needs to work with the CIO to ensure employees get access to such tools and data wherever they are, particularly when they are on the go. When employees find it easy to achieve their work goals regardless of time and place, including communicating with their colleagues across borders and time zones, they will feel more satisfied and give their best to the company. It’s a win-win situation for all.
How can CHROs and CIOs forge a good working relationship? 
There needs to be constant dialogue between the CHRO and CIO, and always using the end-user, the mobile employee, as a reference point. Both the HR and IT departments need to keep apprised of each other’s goals and objectives, in order to find alignment in delivering the ideal set of digital tools for employees to boost productivity, grow the business and drive customer excellence. The CHRO and CIO can help each other identify gaps in the employee working pattern that requires attention, whether through a change in processes, systems or tools.
Employee adoption rates determine the success of any IT or HR initiative. CHROs and CIOs need to work closely together to develop IT programmes for employees, regardless of their role in the company, to understand and effectively utilise the digital tools made available to them.  Both functions need to collaborate in order to ensure that digital tools are complemented with HR policies that facilitate greater mobility and flexibility.

How can a collaboration between these two roles boost productivity and drive growth?
After the implementation of technology tools and programmes, the collaboration does not stop there. The CIO and CHRO must continue to develop best practices and analytic tools and share insights to understand if anything needs to be tailored or changed to the precise needs of the employees. By working closely together, CHROs and CIOs can make better informed decisions to improve employees’ satisfaction levels around work processes and capabilities within the organisation.

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