IT and HR: New bedfellows in the future world of work

Report finds the two functions have a joint stake in improving the employee experience.

Companies that use technology to support new models for work and provide employees with tools that make it more efficient and meaningful, can deliver a superior employee experience. This according to research from the Economist Intelligence Unit, which was done in partnership with Citrix. The report, titled The experience of work: the role of technology in productivity and engagement, finds that providing employees with the latest technologies will not only enable organisations to attract the people they need, but keep them engaged and productive, improving their business results.

The suvery reveals HR and IT functions as feeling they have a joint stake in improving the employee experience, with similar numbers of IT and HR respondents saying they feel personally responsible for it within their team or more widely. 

At high performing and digitally more mature organisations, a large proportion of both IT and HR executives say the objective is part of the strategy of their function. 

To overcome the lack of understanding that hampers collaboration, many firms are taking practical measures such as employing specialists with knowledge of both disciplines and developing common metrics. 

The study also finds, among many other things, that the key technology roles in improving engagement vary by country. UK respondents, for example, cite ease of use more frequently than other enablers; in Japan and Brazil, most important is the ability to work anywhere. Executives in China and Brazil, meanwhile, place much greater emphasis on the cost effectiveness of technology (37% in both countries) than their peers elsewhere (under 30% in all other countries).

The analysis in the report is based on a survey of 1,145 business executives from eight countries (the US, UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and Brazil) and work in six sectors (automotive, energy/oil & gas, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and retail). The survey was targeted at senior executives with about half of the respondents (49%) being C-level executives and the remainder being directors, business unit or department heads, and senior managers.  The vast majority of respondents (81%) worked in businesses employing more than 500 people, and nearly half (48%) employing more than 5000.