Better Together: How HR and IT Can Collaborate
to Improve Employee Experience

It’s difficult to get near-unanimous agreement about anything these days. The importance of employee experience (EX) in driving talent retention and business results is a notable exception.

96% of organizations said EX is important in realizing business objectives and success, according to the Brandon Hall Group™ study, How HR Can Collaborate on Employee Experience. And 76% of respondents overall said EX is critical.

But there is a catch. HR organizations sometimes look at EX through a different lens than employees, particularly frontline employees and deskless workers who often don’t have the same access to information and digital tools available to them as traditional office workers.

While 56% of organizations surveyed by Brandon Hall Group™ said they invested in employee training to improve EX and more than 40% cited improved leadership development, wellness, recognition and onboarding programs, only 26% said they improved digital workplace tools to address work efficiency.

That is a sizable gap that deserves attention. Digital workplace technologies are not always top of mind for HR leaders as a driver of employee experience, and only 47% of HR organizations surveyed said there is a strong level of collaboration between HR and IT on digital tools aimed at improving employee experience.

That’s why Brandon Hall Group™ and Kyndryl, a leading provider of digital workplace services, collaborated on the webinar, Better Together: HR and IT Collaborating to Improve Employee Experience, which is now available for on-demand viewing.

Dennis Perpetua, Kyndryl Vice President and Global Chief Technology Officer for Digital Workplace Services, joined me on that webinar.

“In my experience, the best collaboration generates the best outcomes,” Perpetua told me. “When you are trying to optimize something — like digital tools to help employees — bringing more points of view to the table is critical. When you look at Brandon Hall Group™ surveys that say 41% of employees don’t feel like they have the optimal tools to do their job, that’s a situation where IT should be at the table collaborating with HR on that.”

It’s important that HR and IT align on the overall goals for employee experience and how technology can support those goals. HR understands employee needs and the human aspects of work. IT understands available technologies and implementation considerations. Collaborating allows each group to lend their expertise.

“You can’t expect IT to understand everything employees go through and you can’t expect HR to be experts on 5G networks, generative AI, Microsoft Copilot and all these different tools that are available. But if you bring the two of us together regularly, that cross-domain collaboration ensures that we can actually optimize the employee experience,” Perpetua said.

It’s not that HR and IT do not work together now. They do. The most common types of collaboration, according to our research is:

  • Establishing consistent touchpoints between HR and IT to align on EX goals and strategy.
  • Partnering with IT to streamline and modernize HR systems and processes to remove administrative headaches for employees.

What is less common — but would make a big difference in improving outcomes, Perpetua believes — are:

  • Cross-functional HR-IT teams working together to manage major EX initiatives from design through change management.
  • Working together to pilot changes in technology before full implementation.

Brandon Hall Group’s research also showed that most CHROs — or the executives within HR who are responsible for HR technology — are not often deeply involved in technology decisions impacting employee experience. This means HR is in the position of being largely reactive to technology situations rather than advocating for what workers really need.

The data shows that only 15% of HR executives are deeply involved in EX technology decisions, while 24% of organizations have little or no involvement.

Perpetua said digital tools are critical across the employee lifecycle. “The entire technology experience lays the foundation for how employees generally look at how they are part of corporate culture and how they’re valued, how they’re being enabled to do their jobs,” he said.

Deanna Jones, CHRO of the energy technology company Baker Hughes, concurs. “The employee experience around technology is important and it’s important that everyone who works for us knows it is important to us. Tech needs to be easy, speedy, and useful with a great human interface.”

While HR and IT sometimes appear to be talking different languages — for example, connection and belonging for HR compared to data and security for IT — their missions are actually very similar.

HR, for example, knows that the onboarding experience can make or break the employer-employee relationship. The technology that enables employees to complete their employment paperwork, register for benefits, communicate technology preferences, obtain their employee ID,  and connect with mentors or onboarding buddies, can define the quality of the experience.

It only makes sense that HR and IT work closely together to ensure that the technology is closely matched to the onboarding objectives. “The employee onboarding process is a ripe issue for everybody,” Perpetua said. “There’s not a single customer I have ever spoken to that has said, ‘I’m not interested in that.’”

Another critical area is access to technology applications and resources. At its core, access to technology is an inclusion issue. Perpetua said HR and IT must be aligned on the criteria for access.

“How is access actually structured? Is it by persona? How does access flow into job roles? What level of security is required for different types of employees and technology tools? We have to ensure that we have the right controls around data and that everyone has the right access to tools they need to do their jobs,” he said.

“This is not just procedural. We need to make sure that employees feel as though they have contribution equity into the work products and the outcomes that the company wants. This ranges from the very basic things to having screen readers for how people with certain disabilities are enabled to collaborate and how they can find resources within the company. We need to make sure that the technology access provides equity that is instilled across the organization.”

In the webinar, Perpetua shared customer success stories and I shared data from the EX study, including information on how involved HR is in forging a generative AI strategy and the barriers to maximizing the use of data and analytics to improve employee experience. View it — and get the slides from the webinar as well — here. If you’d like to talk to a Kyndryl Digital Workplace Expert you can schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation today.

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Claude Werder



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Claude Werder

Claude J. Werder Senior Vice President and Principal Analyst, Brandon Hall Group Claude Werder runs Brandon Hall Group’s Talent Management, Leadership Development and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) practices. His specific areas of focus include how organizations must transform culturally and strategically to meet the needs of the emerging workforce and workplace. Claude develops insights and solutions on employee experience, leadership, coaching, talent development, assessments, culture, DE&I, and other topics to help members and clients make talent development a competitive business advantage now and in the evolving future of work. Before joining Brandon Hall Group in 2012, Claude was an HR consultant and also spent more than 25 years as an executive and people leader for media and news organizations. This included a decade as the producer of the HR Technology Conference and Expo. He helped transform it from a small event to the world’s largest HR technology conference. Claude is a judge for the global Brandon Hall Group HCM Excellence Awards and Excellence in Technology Awards, contributes to the company’s HCM certification programs, and produces the firm’s annual HCM Excellence Conference. He is also a certified executive and leadership coach. He lives in Boynton Beach, FL.