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This piece originally appeared on the ATD blog.

Human Resources and IT departments haven't historically been closely linked or aligned within an organization. But as technology continues its rapid evolution, this partnership will become more important than ever. Already, 33 percent of HR teams are using some form of artificial intelligence (AI) technology and 41 percent are building mobile apps to deliver HR solutions, according to Deloitte's 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report—IT teams are crucial for implementing both.

Increasingly, technology also plays a key role in helping HR leaders make strategic hiring decisions, deliver just-in-time learning, and automate previously time-consuming processes. Support from IT can make these goals a reality, but it can be hard to come by, particularly for federal agencies that rely on grant programs or federal funding for tech maintenance and upgrades.

Each year, the federal government spends some $80 billion on IT systems, the majority of which goes to updating outdated, legacy systems instead of investing in new tools to benefit departments like HR. But not all government agencies are guilty of this misstep. The Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), Air Force, and Security and Exchange Commission(SEC) have been able to effectively align their IT and HR teams behind common goals, such as recruitment.

FederalNewsRadio.com took a look at how the chief human capital officers at these agencies were able to bring their HR and IT departments together in a series of articles called The Intersection Between HR and IT. 

Automating Recruitment

Cathy Ganey, director of the Office of Human Resources, and Adriane Burton, chief information officer at the HRSA, are making recruitment and retention a priority together. To bring in qualified hires, Ganey's team holds a “pre-consult meeting" with hiring managers to review position descriptions and discuss specific needs.

Ganey admits that it was hard to get hiring managers on board at first, but once they saw the quality of candidates coming to them, they were sold. “We can sit down with the hiring managers and actually make decisions based on data moving forward," she says. “This has really changed the way we do recruitment."

Burton's team, meanwhile, has implemented automated systems that track the hiring process and generate a real-time recruitment report. The system analyzes data such as time-to-hire, which enables Ganey's team to pinpoint delays in the recruitment process and make informed decisions moving forward.

Using Data-Based Hiring Tactics

In the coming year alone, the Air Force expects to hire 1,400 new employees—no small feat. To do this, the Air Force is using a combination of traditional recruiting methods paired with cutting edge big data analytics.

“We're trying to expand our view—our ability to reach into the talent pool across the entire United States—and big data will help us do that," explains Jeff Mayo, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for force management integration. “The analytics, the niche targeting that goes along with that, are tools that we are trying to add to our toolbox for how we can reach this very specialized talent."

The organization is currently running a test in the New England region with the goal of identifying new recruitment areas. Bill Marion, Air Force deputy chief information officer and his team recently unified recruiters on a common contact management system to help Mayo's team of recruiters streamline and target their outreach based on geographic data. For example, zoning in on talent at the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition recently resulted in 250 new registrants in their system.

“The number of recruiters we have is fairly limited, so we need to use some analytical tools—and take advantage of the data that we have—to minimize that search effort, to hone us in on the specific individuals that we're looking for," Mayo explains.

Designing Future-Friendly Systems

At the SEC, Chief Information Officer Pam Dyson and Chief Human Capital Officer Lacey Dingman are working together to deploy two major human capital systems: a comprehensive Enterprise Talent Management System (ETMS) and a self-service HR system.

The HR self-service model will bring consistency to the way HR answers employees' questions and distributes information and alleviate the demand on staff, Dingman says. The ETMS, meanwhile, is an end-to-end portal for anything that workers might need throughout an employee lifecycle that will also help HR teams provide workforce support.

Throughout the deployment process of these two systems, Dyson and Dingman have strived towards flexibility, basing their decisions on what will work best in the future. “Having raw data stored in our [enterprise data warehouse] gives us a lot of leverage, opportunities and options for how we want to continue to modernize and enhance this overall lifecycle talent management system for the agency," Dyson says.

Both HR and IT teams have been involved in development since day one and have prioritized ways to become more agile. For example, they are now considering new ways staff may need to access these systems, either remotely or via smartphones. To that end, they are examining a future move to the cloud.

In order to thoroughly understand and support workforce needs across their organizations, it is essential for HR leaders like Ganey, Mayo and Dingman to have access to updated workforce management systems and data. Innovative partnerships with IT leaders like Burton, Marion and Dyson can lead to more efficient and effective workforce management, allowing government agencies to attract, manage and develop the talent they need for the future.

Photo: Creative Commons