In the context of HR technologies, all of us are a little bit guilty of typifying professionals as either of an HR or an IT background. When it comes to finding talented individuals, who can do well with HR technology in a well-rounded way, this makes for a real challenge.
Why can we not have both HR and IT skills rolled into one fresh professionalism for the future?
A digitally-skilled HR department, ready to work with connected businesses, and businesses connected by properly performing HRIS applications, requires people to support who sit somewhere between an HR person and an IT pro. It is not a natural-born complement and these are rare beasts to find for your talent. Yet find them we must.
HR cannot deliver for the future, nor achieve the strategic status deservedly aspired without the right skill-sets in technology.
At Phase 3 for some time we’ve been wrestling with the question of balancing the softer-skilled ‘people person’ with the method-oriented and detail focus of an IT specialist mind. We have now introduced the HR Technology competency set into the training and development that you should adopt. This is something everybody working near people technologies can do.
As our own company became something of a hot-house to find, foster and future-proof experts like this, I have turned our own focus outwards to notice the pressures on these skills in organisations of all shapes and sizes around the country.
We were calling the concept of developing talent like this the classic ‘Grow Your Own’. But our need as consultants to grow our own talent in HR systems applies to you too, if you are to be resourced for technology-led futures.
What can you do with a framework for HR Tech skills?
I am all into practical purposes. Business life otherwise lulls leaders into a false sense of being on the ‘pulse’ when it comes to systems strategy. Use the framework to:
- Self-assess, team-assess and monitor career growth and capabilities
- Model departmental structures and resource plans for an HR of the future
- Recruit! Write job descriptions, person specs and structure selection activities
- Build into induction and development planning
- Understand transition routes from IT to HR and vice versa
- Source the right training on HR, payroll and BI systems
Apply a skill-set structure like this to yourself as an aspiring HR Systems Consultant, Business Partner or specialist Systems Administrator.
Apply the same as an HR Manager or HR Director, IT Director (if you own the systems teams) or Project Manager for the strategic and project level. Apply to engage with partner businesses and providers. Apply to your current team and to your future recruits.
What does the set of skills look like?
The framework breaks down into practicable, actionable and readily-grasped descriptors and example behaviours the balance I describe between achieving success with systems and keeping a people focus. All with an eye on the business and remembering that your organisation actually needs to achieve something!
It is absurdly simple, sensibly clear and surprisingly successful. Competencies cover 4 key areas of focus:
Underlying these 4 areas is the need to cater for self-management. Managing ourselves is too often approached as a separate question to particular career learning and it’s a mistake not to see professionalism in the round. When these types of skill and the associated behaviours are out of whack, a professional is inevitably limited in their potential.
Work with new understandings of a digitally-skilled HR profession and I encourage you to believe that you can see technology prove the enabler of a people-focused business.
Technology in the business of people, HR, and in people businesses is going nowhere and growing somewhere fast.
About the Author: Kate Wadia
Kate’s passion at work is for bridging the gap between technology and people at work, translating for HR professionals the language of HR systems and making meaningful their potential. She believes that success with people technology is through people and that people are the differentiator. Using simple techniques drawn from HR experience, project management, business psychology and analogy with everyday life, Kate presents and explains how to work well with technology and technology projects in an HR leadership role. With a background in contrasting private and public sector HR management, Kate developed her thinking in seeking for herself to understand her first HR systems project-work. Kate is currently the Managing Director of Phase 3 Consulting, offering an independent take on the HR systems market in the UK, through a network of experts and a talented, growing internal team. Kate’s guiding principle is that openness offers knowledge-sharing, credibility and trust. Incorrigibly enthusiastic and up absurdly early for a working morning, she swears that she only drinks three good coffees a day, but nobody believes her! Kate also writes as an HR Zone columnist.