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HR Is Out Of Synch with IT Work

(March 22, 2006)  In Today's Bugler, there is a pointer to an article in Computerworld that ends:

Work in the Age of Big Information is not a matter of just showing up and doing something that takes more brawn than brains. Today's workplace must balance the value outcomes that the employer is seeking against the rights, powers and aspirations of increasingly mobile workers applying information-based skills. HR in many organizations seems both disconnected from the goals of the corporation and insensitive, almost to the point of malfeasance, to the emerging needs of a highly skilled IT workforce. (Computerworld)

Here are some examples cited in the article:

  • IT practitioners say job descriptions cease being relevant after someone has been doing the work for six months or so. The job the employee actually does after that initial period typically morphs into something very different, but job descriptions are rarely updated. The problem is that many widely deployed HR practices were created for Industrial Age work environments. It's time for an HR upgrade to the Age of Big Information (see "Entering the Age of Big Information," Feb. 20).
  • The work of contingent or temporary employees, who may constitute as much as 80% of the head count in many IT shops, is typically counted and measured very differently than that of full-time workers, giving a distorted view. Thus, although HR may boast that it has reduced or held the line on IT head count, more people may actually be working on IT projects than ever before.
  • A stunning 89% of the IT executives queried at the Premier 100 conference said that their organizations aren't spending enough on grooming the next generation of IT leaders; 51% said their organizations are spending "way too little" in this area.

In the article pointed to in those examples, Entering the Age of Big Information, we hear the following refrain:

In the Age of Big Information, we will be awash in information, as we are today, but we will begin to improve our ability to make use of all the information that is deluging us. Increasingly, your success in business will depend on the facility with which you and your enterprise can connect and then convert heretofore unimaginably large, complex, litigable and accessible sets of data into action that is timely and appropriate to the context of the information.

How many of your peers in HR are bemoaning the data glut and unable to see the coming era of enrichment? Sadly, most are drowning without seeing the opportunity. The folks over in IT are the most likely to understand the problem and its evolutionary solution, The walls between HR and IT make coherent conversations on the subject nearly impossible.

Once again, a major media outlet has squared off and pointed out the flaws in HR. We expect that the same tired voices will utter the same tired outrage, shooting at the little boy who has noticed that the emperor is naked. Meanwhile, coherent and intelligent competition is ready to take the chores away.

John Sumser | Permalink

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