Improving HR by Fixing IT

How many logins do your employees have? I sat down to think about it, and came up with the following list for a field supervisor:

  • A Windows login
  • A login to get into their Outlook email
  • A login to access their sales


  • A login for the HR intranet (yes, a different system)
  • A login to EZ Labor to approve timecards (the same login will give them their own pay stubs)
  • A login to the Applicant Tracking System to look at candidates
  • A login for the employee 360 evaluations

I’m also confident that I’m missing more than a few on the operations side of things.

Now, the average HR Manager might look at this list and say, “Huh, it looks like IT has some work to do”, and then go back to updating I-9’s. But you’re no average HR professional – you read FOT, after all!

On staff, we get segmented. I do HR, they do marketing, someone else does accounting, and other people do IT. But it’s helpful to remember that our employees don’t work that way. They’re just “doing work”, and sometimes that will involve people, and sometimes it will involve technology. If you get to segmented, you lose track of the items in the other areas that affect yours – in this case, affect employees. Sometimes HR means that you need to make meetings shorter, even though “regulate the length of meetings” isn’t part of your job description. Here, paring away at “system creep” isn’t an HR role, but it still needs to happen.

Our job is to make employees more effective. This list looks like a pretty good barrier to being effective, and it also looks like it’ll be a goal item for me for next year.

What goals do you have on your list? Hit me in the comments…

FOT Background Check

Steve Gifford
Steve Gifford, MBA, SPHR, is the Director of Human Resources for OEM America, a PEO of more than a hundred companies and more than two thousand employees. His company gives small businesses the buying power and HR expertise of a big company, but without the bureaucracy! In the past, he’s been the HR guy for marketing, manufacturing, retail, and government organizations. His first HR job was in the US Army during his second tour in Iraq, where every employee in his client group carried an automatic weapon. It helps him keep the problems of employees who show up to work late in perspective.


  1. Graeme Creed says:

    My biggest gripe with IT is system availablity.

    Nothing discourages Discretionary Willingness more than a system that is not available 24/7.

    How does a worker react when they make the effort to arrive at work early to catch up on a project and the system is down and IT is not available for another hour.

  2. Julia Hardaway says:

    I like the way you’re thinking that HR’s role is to make employees and the organization more effective. We can’t do it all at once so figuring out what adds the most value or what organization issue to tackle that drives effectiveness is the tough part.

  3. Steve Boese says:

    I really like this piece, Steve. Thinking about more than just the traditional ‘HR’ practices and thinking more about the entire experience of the employees, (which includes things like the IT example, but also includes facilities, communications, work processes, etc.), is much more interesting and potentially important to help enable people’s best performance.

  4. Sean Conrad says:

    Steve, I like your take on “owning” barriers to employee productivity and @Graeme Creed what things might be discouraging discretionary effort.

    I’ve found a tool to let me manage these problems – check out:
    Now I have a single log-in that remembers and logs in to all ove the other stuff. It also fills out forms, etc. This thing must save me days of time over the course of a year.
    Luckily my work life is mostly based off of my network login – but almost all of us can use something like this for our personal login management.

  5. Can’t wait to see what new blog design you come up with Amy, and best of luck tackling those big projects!

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