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Maximising IT to assist HR in the global talent crunch

Maximising IT to assist HR in the global talent crunch

This opinion piece on how to maximise IT services to assist the human resources sector in the global talent crunch is written by Liam Ryan who is vice president for Asia Pacific at Ivanti.

Two years ago, employers sent millions of team members home as the fear of Covid-19 spread increased and IT teams rushed to find solutions to keep businesses running in the new remote landscape.

Today, it is clear that remote work is here to stay. Employers are leaning on IT to ensure seamless access and secure connections for all their team members. It has been a scramble, further complicated by a global haemorrhaging of top talent straining both IT resources and overall organisational capacity.

Now that the initial and abrupt shift to remote work has given way to a permanent “everywhere workplace,” companies are eager — and in many cases desperate — to attract and retain top talent andtokeep that talent engaged and productive. 

The Great Resignation and “Great Reassessment” mandates a new shift: rethink the employee experience through high-value and high-tech touchpoints.

This has led to a rise in the availability of technology experts in Malaysia such as software developers, which have tripled from 19,000 vacancies in June 2020 to 56,000 in April 2021, as underscored by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).           

In this challenging market, it is critical that employers build out dynamic digital experiences that support real-time demand for greater team member autonomy, including radical flexibility.

The Finance Ministry’s Economic Outlook 2022 report added that digitalisation efforts are required to support companies in implementing technological innovations in their business operations to accommodate the shift towards the future of work.        

And who can make that happen? You guessed it: IT.

This is not to minimise the role of HR, which has arguably never been more important than it is right now. Rather, it is to emphasise that IT must be a foundational pillar of support for HR, enabling the policies, programmes and connectivity that let HR win the war on talent.

Why IT must lead the charge

IT is responsible for coordinating and optimising rich, seamless everywhere workplaces that empower team members. They are responsible for facilitating access and productivity, whether team members are down the hall or spread out around the world. IT is directly responsible for the way team members interact and engage with an organisation’s people and data on a daily basis.

And of course, IT is uniquely capable of — and responsible for — maintaining security for team members, devices, applications and networks. When IT is integral to the team member experience, security can be integral to the team member experience.

Evidently, IT and the team member experience are inextricably linked and the connection is only going to grow stronger as the business world leans further into the permanent everywhere workplace. That means IT needs to embrace the power — and responsibility — that comes from being a critical part of attracting and retaining top talent.

What IT can do right now

The shift to IT as the central team member experience driver is relatively new. As a result, there is no go-to playbook that defines what a good digital team member experience looks like. However, there are several key characteristics that ensure IT initiatives support top-level needs and goals.

Every tool that is being considered as an enhancement to the team member experience should be measured against three factors:

1. Productivity: Does this initiative enhance productivity?

Success in the everywhere workplace hinges on seamless access and an intuitive user experience. Every minute spent trying to log on or troubleshoot is a minute not spent performing the job they were hired to do. It is on IT to ensure that team members can self-service as much as possible to ensure that there are no IT ticket bottlenecks that further inhibit productivity. And when team members do need support, that support needs to be available anytime, anywhere.

2. Contextualisation: Does this initiative support omnichannel team member experiences and preferences?

Whether remote or not, your team is likely to use multiple platforms and multiple devices throughout the workday. According to Forrester, 74 per cent report using two or more, and 52 per cent say they use at least three. On average, employees interact with 11 systems regularly. The ability to seamlessly transition between platforms and devices is a critical component of a productive and pleasant user experience.

3. Security: Is this initiative secure for the employee and the organisation as a whole?

Cybersecurity incidents have skyrocketed during the pandemic, with threat actors capitalising on the abrupt — and often haphazard — shift to the everywhere workplace. Security shortcuts were, perhaps, inevitable in the early days of the shift, but there is no excuse for them now. Cybersecurity defence plans must evolve to reflect the realities of the permanent everywhere workplace and that means that current solutions and technologies require enhanced access controls and integrated risk management.

Seamless productivity, frictionless security and an intuitive user experience do not have to be mutually exclusive. It is possible to achieve all three at once and that is the task facing IT teams today.

How To Realistically Achieve An Enhanced Team Member Experience Via IT

If navigating all the above feels like a tall order, that is because it is. The good news: It is achievable with the integration of the right tools, specifically AI and intelligent automation.

Automating repeatable tasks frees up IT resources to focus on more nuanced and strategic projects. Intelligent chatbots can help team members self-serve and speed incident resolution. Applying self-healing and self-service for devices means remote workers are not at an inherent disadvantage.

While many companies accelerated their plans for automation during the pandemic, few have fully embraced the potential that AI and intelligent automation can unlock. With the team member experience top of mind — and critical to organisational operations — now is the time to put IT at the centre, lean forward and embrace accelerated adoption.

Liam Ryan is vice president for Asia Pacific at Ivanti