Changing working culture and digital tools challenges the traditional setup in companies.
The more I work with digital transformation projects, the better I see where the change and transformation stall. IT has ambitious goals of developing digital dexterity while HR has determined competence development plans and processes, but the two never meet.
IT struggles to keep up with the pace to
educate users, and HR can no longer
talk about competence development without
including digital skills in the stack.
My background is in humanities and I see where the fundamental difference between the two departments lies and why in the past there hasn’t been much in common. HR stands for human resources, and the focus is on humans. IT, on the other hand, has for decades been all about technology and devices. However, the modern technology and accelerating speed of change challenges both. IT struggles to keep up with the pace to educate users, and HR can no longer talk about competence development without including digital skills in the stack.
In comparison, Finnish schools have long ago ditched IT as a subject. Instead, learning the needed skills is a part of all subjects because it doesn’t make sense to practice IT skills separately from other learning processes. Why would companies do so? Modern technology and software are intuitive and ever more consumerized. Instead of knowing how to perform a certain task, it’s more important to know how to collaborate, how to co-create and how to learn together. Still, even more crucial is the change in the mindset: learning never stops, mistakes are just fine and technology is not the enemy.
Most companies have a CIO, CDO and
HR Vice President when the modern technology,
working culture and mindset change
would require roles like Chief Experience Officer
and Chief Company Culture Officer.
Yet today companies are often structured in a way that IT and HR are far apart, their funding is separate, and the debate is all about who should pay when we all need to keep up and learn. Most companies have a CIO, CDO and HR Vice President when the modern technology, working culture and mindset change would require roles like Chief Experience Officer and Chief Company Culture Officer. Technology should by now be such an essential part of all roles that IT and HR should be if not one department at least best friends in a company.
Changing something fundamental like the division of HR and IT will not happen easily but it makes perfect sense. No matter what’s the core business of the company, all roles will soon be more or less technical roles as digital transformation goes on. If HR is not developing and driving that change, we have a risk to end up in a situation where technology is the driver and humans passengers. I would far rather see companies developing culture, employee experience and way of working that is enabled by technology than the other way around.