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As a CIO, focusing your attention on human resources may not be the first thing on your list of priorities. But as the war for talent rages on, the role of talent management in an organization's IT strategy is increasingly important.

In the past, IT and HR departments have shared a rocky relationship. HR professionals often lacked technical understanding or awareness of the work performed in IT, which made it difficult to recruit the right candidates. On the other end, the process-oriented thinkers of IT viewed HR as a reactive — rather than a proactive and strategic — department, which diminished the business value of HR in their eyes. Both departments held preconceived notions and misunderstandings about the other.

Thanks to the growing attention to HR technology and people analytics, the divide between the two departments has been narrowing. But it's time for CIOs to help close the divide for good. As a CIO, you have the unique opportunity to empower businesses with software and data-driven talent insights that not only help employees, but also impact the bottom line.

Close the Skills Gap

At the end of the day, HR and IT share the same goal: move the business forward. And no matter the industry, the amount of progress an organization makes ultimately comes down to its people.

But as HR knows, finding and attracting top talent isn't easy. The demand for the best people is increasing and the bar for "best" is also being raised. According to PricewaterhouseCooper's 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, 50 percent of organizations in the survey anticipate increasing headcount this year — and 80 percent of CEOs say they're “looking for a much broader range of skills than in the past.”

Investing in talent management software that encompasses everything from recruiting to exit interviews will transform HR's knowledge into hard data that IT can analyze to help make smarter business decisions. By aligning IT's technical prowess with HR's data on the employee life cycle, your organization will have insight into what skills and experiences actually predict success, so you can close the skills gap both more efficiently and effectively.

Deliver Higher Value at a Lower Cost

In addition to closing the skills gap, working with the HR department to find the right talent management product for your company can help deliver more value while lowering costs.

The upfront cost of HR software can be returned tenfold in terms of the time and money saved on recruiting, training, turnover prevention and workforce planning. For example, the average cost of replacing a lost employee — including interviewing, hiring, training, reduced productivity, etc. — is up to 50 percent of an annual salary for entry-level workers and up to 400 percent of an annual salary for high-level employees.

However, these high costs of turnover can be avoided with intelligent tracking and analytics. HR software solutions can warn managers of at-risk employees, as well as solve a suite of talent management issues: predicting performance, identifying and solving low productivity areas, measuring retention in L&D and more.

Lead the Way in Analytics

A strong working relationship between your IT team and your CHRO's team can also help you advance your people analytics program — an area in need of more industry movers and shakers. You've heard the statistics before: three in four companies believe using people analytics is important, but a mere 8 percent report that their organization is “strong" in the area.

How can you lead the way? A unified, cloud-based talent management system allows your organization to consider workforce data across the organization, instead of occasionally answering a data request from HR and performing people analytics in a piecemeal fashion.

As Chief Talent Officer Michael Arena emphasized in a recent interview, people analytics is inherently a difficult subject: "We measure people, and that makes this field uniquely challenging because people don't behave predictably." Instead of making it harder on your organization to integrate workforce analytics, work with your HR team to find the right solution and process for success.

The old adage “if you can't measure it, you can't manage it” applies to talent management as it does to any other department. Your HR team understands your organization's most critical talent challenges better than anyone else — but they need your team's IT expertise to solve them. By joining forces, you can impact the future of your organization, your people and the work landscape as a whole.

Visit this page for more on this topic and how CIOs can play a part.

Photo: Shutterstock