What comes to mind when you think about the different factors that impact the overall employee experience at a company?
Some top-of-mind thoughts might include work-life balance, company culture and general morale, recognition, leadership, career development opportunities, and more. While these are all accurate, the employee experience is also deeply affected by two departments: HR and IT.
How well these departments work together can make or break the employee experience. Problems between the two can easily result in significant issues with productivity, security, compliance, user management, and data sprawl.
And, because both HR and IT are involved in almost every step of user lifecycle management, end-users deal with the fallout of fragmented communication and processes, as well as poorly integrated interdepartmental tools.
Laying the Employee Experience Foundation
Think about it this way: HR and IT create the foundation for the employee experience during the interviewing, hiring, and onboarding processes.
Then, later on, as employees change roles and/or need access updates, HR and IT step in again to ensure this is done properly and efficiently. Lastly, when an employee leaves the organization, it’s up to HR and IT to provide them with a positive offboarding experience while maintaining organizational security by revoking access to resources immediately.
Each department plays an important role in user lifecycle management, which directly affects the employee experience. Because of this, it’s ideal to ensure that HR and IT’s primary tools integrate with each other well and their processes are interwoven nicely, all while you keep a pulse on how employees view and rate their experience with your organization.
Integrating HR and IT Tools
HR and IT may be two distinct departments, but they need to be properly connected to work efficiently and provide a top-tier employee experience. This connection starts with the primary tools each department uses — think: an HRIS platform and a directory platform.
When HR and IT have tools that integrate and communicate well with each other, the employee experience improves in a way that isn’t possible with disconnected tools.
Ideally, the tools will move information back and forth in real-time, allowing:
- Onboarding employees to gain access to the resources they need on day one.
- Existing employees to see important access changes immediately, and
- Immediate access-revoking for departing employees, maintaining security posture and compliance status.
How you need to think about these tools varies depending on your situation — do you already have tools in place, or are you starting from scratch?
Choosing the Right Tools From the Start
If you’re starting from scratch, it’s important to look for tools that suit each department’s needs but also have the ability to integrate well with one another. One or both of the tools must have open integration capabilities or a built-in integration with the tool the other department wants to use.
Departments often make the mistake of only considering their needs when choosing products to buy, which may work for a while, but will actually end up costing more in the long run.
Not only does it cost extra money to switch tools later on, but fragmented tools and the subpar processes that result from them can cost your organization its reputation when the employee experience is substandard.
Integrating Existing Tools
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to choose HR and IT tools that integrate well with one another up front.
Sometimes one department doesn’t even exist in the organization at the time that the first tool is chosen, and sometimes it simply seems impossible to find an HRIS platform and a directory solution that integrate well and suit each department’s needs.
However, modern technology is changing this. For example, the JumpCloud Directory Platform is a cloud directory with a plethora of modern features including open HRIS integration capabilities, as well as built-in HRIS integrations with some of the most popular HR systems out there.
This allows IT to take advantage of a modern cloud directory that suits their needs, while HR can choose a platform that best suits their needs, and they will integrate smoothly.
Improving Interdepartmental Processes
With the right tools in place, you can start improving interdepartmental processes. Any HR or IT process that impacts the other department needs to be evaluated for efficiency and security, as well as how it impacts the employee experience.
A few ways to do this include:
- Consider the needs of all departments involved.
- Find ways to improve existing processes.
- Identify gaps where new processes can add value to the user experience.
Consider the Other Department’s Needs
When creating or improving processes, you have to consider each stakeholder’s needs. If HR is putting together a new process and IT is involved, consider when IT will need certain information, how it will get to them, what security risks are involved, etc.
By analyzing all of the factors involved, including the needs of each relevant department, you can create processes that are secure, streamlined, and productive for HR, IT, and the end-user.
Improving Existing Processes vs Creating New Processes
After you have assessed the needs of all parties involved in different processes and workflows, you can decide whether existing processes need face-lifts or brand new ones need to be created.
There are at least four primary angles to analyze processes from: efficiency, security, productivity, and user experience. When looking at existing processes, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this process as efficient as possible for HR, IT, and the end-user?
- Is this process as secure as possible?
- Is this process getting the task done correctly and wholly?
- Is this process providing end-users with a positive experience?
The answers to these starter questions will lead you in the right direction and show you where improvements stand to be made. While analyzing the answers to these questions further, you’ll likely find gaps and areas where new processes need to be brainstormed and implemented.
Once all interdepartmental processes are up to snuff, you’ll find that HR and IT employees and end-users report a better work/user experience.
Once properly integrated tools are in place and processes are updated and streamlined, you should see an improvement in how employees rate the overall employee experience at your organization.
It’s especially important to truly understand how any changes you make to tools and processes affect the employee experience so you can move the needle in the right direction by making calculated changes.
To keep a finger on the pulse of this, it’s important to survey employees regularly, including prior to implementing any changes.
Get a Baseline
By getting a baseline of how people in your organization rate the employee experience, you’ll be able to see how much of an impact future changes have. This is a great way to gauge how employees feel about the entire employee experience, not just the experience regarding user lifecycle management.
However, it’s important that within the survey, you ask specific questions around user lifecycle management, so that you can get actionable information from users.
Sample survey questions:
- On a scale of 1 (horrible) – 5 (amazing), how would you rate your experience during onboarding/a role change?
- During onboarding, did you have a poor experience related to any of the following? (Choose all that apply.) Answer choices: getting access to resources quickly, getting access to the right resources, getting equipment set up, communicating with different departments, etc.
Use this Information to Improve the Experience
When surveying employees to get the initial baseline, you may already have plans in place for tool and process updates that you expect to improve the employee experience.
However, factors that didn’t cross your mind might arise in the answers you get from employees, which can be extremely valuable.
By deeply analyzing the survey answers you get, it will be easier to find room for improvement and change things that actually make a difference to employees.
Continue Iterating Over Time
As time goes on, keep sending out surveys on the employee experience, and create specific groups for the purpose of surveying.
For example, send a list of onboarding-related questions to employees that were recently onboarded, but send a different list of questions to more veteran employees that focuses more on role and access changes.
On top of that, alter your questions over time to make sure that you’re getting the most important information from employees rather than wasting their time with irrelevant questions.
As new information comes to light, use it to improve your processes even further to truly elevate the employee experience.
HR and IT Partnership
How HR and IT work together in an organization is directly related to a positive or negative employee experience within user lifecycle management, and a negative employee experience can have long-lasting effects on your business.
However, by leveling up the partnership between these two integral departments, you can dramatically improve the overall employee experience. This happens when HR and IT tools integrate well, leaving no gaps, and when processes work together seamlessly.