The Higher Ed Workplace Blog

A Proactive Approach to Communicating HR Project Needs to IT

The bond between HR and technology has not always been a strong one. After all, HR is people-oriented, and technical lingo might seem like gibberish to those of us who engage with human beings more often than our computer screens. So how can you successfully communicate your project needs to IT when you’re having trouble hurdling the language barrier?

In a recent CUPA-HR webinar, Sheraine Gilliam-Holmes, university director of HR systems and operations, and Harold Andrieux, deputy to the senior university executive director of HR operations, both of the City University of New York, shared ways you can help bridge the gap.

Although the process requires effort on both sides, HR must do its part by becoming familiar with software, data, analytics, mobile tools and technical terms, and understanding that IT has many responsibilities aside from new projects that get thrown into the mix. A few of IT’s daily challenges include managing servers, databases, applications, security and internet, offering support to various entities on campus, and much more. Taking this long list of to-dos into consideration, you can save yourself and IT some time by gathering information and listing guidelines and expectations for your project ahead of time to allow for a more efficient process.

  • Do your homework. What’s your project timeline? What’s the budget? Can the product be built internally versus being purchased? Be proactive by answering these questions beforehand and sharing as much information as you can gather before passing your project along.
  • Know who to contact. Once you’ve done your homework, make sure you’re contacting the right person to help you with your project. Like HR, IT has sub-departments with specialists in many different areas. You can save some time by knowing exactly who to reach out to with your request versus being redirected to the correct contact.
  • Get creative. Make flow charts, screen mock ups or other visual aids that will help make your vision clear. Illustrating your ideas through visuals will help IT better understand what you have in mind for your project. And be open to their ideas too. IT often has insights into what has or has not worked in the past and can offer guidance on how to improve the product.
  • Be responsive. After your initial request, IT might come back with some questions if they don’t fully understand what you’re asking of them. If you don’t respond in a timely manner, the project will get placed on the back burner. Keep communication going to ensure the project will be finished on time.

Building a strategic partnership with IT and becoming more acquainted with technical terms and technologies shows willingness on your part and will benefit HR in the long run when collaborating with IT on projects.