Thursday, August 18, 2005

CIOs and HR Directors have a lot in common

CIOs and HR Directors have a lot in common. They are both continually struggling for and talking about getting "a seat at the table." When I read CIO magazines, I'm always surprised at how I can pick any article at random and replace IT department with HR and the story still rings true. This is the case with an article in the August 1st issue of CIO magazine titled How to Build a Business-Savvy Staff.

Editor Cheryl Asselin gives the following advice:

1) Bring the business into IT (or for us let's say HR).

For example a healthcare organization hires clinicians to work in their IT department. We could do the same in HR by bringing in operations folks who have worked in the business.

2) Go on a field trip.
Sending staffers out to job shadow other workers in the field gives them a new perspective that they can bring to their own work. In HR, if we understand the business needs we are more inclined to find ways to help in the sticky compliance issues that come are way. (For more on this subject see: A Balanced Approach to HR

3) Hang out with successful business peers.
Get to know the best people in your industry and spend time with them. This can be done socially or through more formal mentoring or networking relationships.

4) Promote your relationship with the business.
This is the one I think HR is falling down on. We spend a lot of time talking to each other about how strategic we now are but we forget to tell the rest of the company of what we are capable. Not only must we educate ourselves on business strategy but we must also educate the senior leaders and operations managers on what we can bring to the table.

Reading the IT magazines I feel a little better for Human Resources. At least we are not alone in our struggle for recognition as a true and valued business partner.

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