HR and IT as Partners? Great Idea, but Can it Really Happen?

I really like the theory behind this post by Ryan Faas over on CITEWorld: the idea is, because of the new demands placed on enterprises by mobility, HR needs to partner with IT to make the whole work-life balance thing actually balance out.

To that I say, good luck. 

The reason I'm cynical about this partnership ever happening or happening quickly is mainly the cultural differences in the two departments in many corporations. I am guessing here, since I don't know "many corporations" personally. But I will take an educated guess and say I bet there are many HR employees who don't have a good grasp of corporate IT operations, and vice versa. It's not that those people don't care or aren't good employees. The ignorance, if you will, of another group's tasks simply falls into that area of not being among the "critical few" tasks you need to get your own job done.

So if there are HR people who have no idea how long it takes to provision a desktop or how hard it is to secure an iPad, should they be making final decisions about who gets to work remotely or not? And if there are IT staffers unaware about how compensation might be affected by work-at-home plans, should they be the sole keepers of the mobile device approval list? I think this is the point Faas was getting to, but I am guessing any partnership between the two groups is going to be a lot harder than it looks at many enterprises.

I'll take a stab here and say that when it comes to partnerships to determine mobile workstyles, I'd rather have IT leading the way with devices and strategy that makes it easier to get work done wherever it needs to -- and then let HR figure out the employee issues that mobility creates. Maybe it's my tech background but I would be more comfortable with figuring out what was technically possible first, instead of trying to regulate or build policies beforehand. 

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