The ultimate workplace team: why you should merge IT, HR, and Facilities into one department
Traditionally, the Information Technology (IT), Human Resources (HR), and Facilities teams have been separate departments with different, yet similar, responsibilities.
The IT team takes care of anything from overseeing company-wide software updates to managing the hardware components needed to power and automate the office. The HR department handles all employee matters like recruiting, hiring, onboarding, payroll, benefits, and more. The Facilities team supervises all building-related issues like optimizing building systems, office mapping, and move planning.
The majority of company structures keeps these teams separate, and as a result, friction and miscommunication can be commonplace despite the fact that all three teams work towards the same goal.
Despite the obvious differences in their roles, these departments share the same strategic goal: improve the employee experience. Although each team may strive to meet this goal in various ways, there is quite a bit of overlap between responsibilities. Breaking down barriers between these teams may prove to be the solution when it comes to creating a more efficient workplace and improving the employee experience altogether.
In this article, we’re diving into some of the benefits of merging these teams to create a better workplace environment for all.
How do these departments work together currently?
Although the day-to-day responsibilities of each team look different, the sentiment to create the best employee experience is the same.
Each department plays a significant role, but as we mentioned above, there can be some overlap. For example, IT may work with the Facilities team to install a technology solution for the office. The HR team may work with the IT department to create a better employee onboarding process.
The IT, HR, and Facilities team may be separate departments, but they very much rely on each other to accomplish their goals and track projects. As with any team separation, there are bound to be complications that make working together more challenging, like miscommunication or misallocation of resources.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that merging these teams would bring.
Benefit 1: better communication and clarity around planning between teams
Merging these “workplace teams” can make for clearer communication across the board. Whether it means fully understanding what other departments are working on or how involved their own department should be for a project, being on the same page is essential when it comes to overall efficiency.
Kate Griffiths-Lambeth, the former global head of HR for Stonehage Fleming Family & Partners group, saw first-hand what breaking down walls between departments can do for a company.
“Part of our rebrand was about deliberately changing and enhancing the workspace; partially to make people feel a greater sense of belonging and global consistency, but also to make it a more conducive environment in which to work,” Griffiths-Lambeth told HR Magazine. “It was a huge project and a real joint effort between marketing, HR and facilities management.”
Furthermore, she said that bringing departments together in this way results in the best outcomes for the entire company and can move the company culture toward one that is more inclusive and cohesive.
Improving communication between teams sets the foundation for improved planning abilities. If teams are clear on who’s doing what, planning anything from implementing sensor technology into the office to introducing an office daycare program can be much smoother for everyone.
The writing is on the wall: teams that communicate better can do their jobs better. As technology continues to weave its way into the workplace fabric, it’s critical for different departments of the same organization to be in tune with each other.
Benefit 2: reduce unnecessary costs
When teams aren’t aligned—whether it be for a single project or in general—resources and money are easily wasted. This goes hand in hand with enhancing communication; if everyone is on the same page, there are opportunities to reduce the risk of wasting resources.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “Most administrative departments (particularly those with more than 20 employees) use as much as 20% of their budgets to supervise and coordinate their own activities.”
What does this tell us?
Fusing these teams results in a leaner, efficient, more resourceful team that can get more done quicker. Consolidating these teams eliminates the need for specific roles or responsibilities that are considered non-essential or repetitive.
For example, let’s say the HR team solicits feedback from other employees about adding more snack options to the kitchen, but the Facilities team already secured an annual contract with a supplier that doesn’t offer those options. The company could incur additional costs due to penalties associated with cancelling the order or having to use multiple suppliers. Having one department could help eliminate these kind of wasteful initiatives, creating better efficiencies and resulting in cost savings.
Benefit 3: clearer department roles and responsibilities
Because of the constant overlap between HR, IT, and Facilities teams, it isn’t always apparent as to who is responsible for what. If that’s the case, there can be confusion among employees in other departments regarding who to approach for specific issues. Unclear department roles is a recipe for stress, miscommunication, and inefficiency.
Think about it: a new employee in the marketing department could get confused as to whether they should approach the IT or HR team when it comes to setting up their work computer. Or perhaps a member of the finance team isn’t entirely sure if they should work with the Facilities or HR team on setting the budget for office furniture.
Not having a clear understanding of which department to go to results in wasted time, energy, and resources.
Bringing clarity to these teams can not only streamline requests and questions, but it can also ensure the right people are involved from the start of a project.
Let’s say you’re leading a company-wide recycling initiative and you want to place the proper bins on each floor of the office plus a composting station in the kitchen. Who do you need to talk to to make this happen?
You’ll likely need to talk to the HR team to get approval on purchasing the bins as well as the Facilities team to determine where best to place them. But if that isn’t evident and you only talk to one team instead, you run the risk of making a simple, positive addition to the office a “stepping-on-toes” situation. Merging these teams ensures all the right people are aware and involved from the start, which reduces friction between departments so things can get done faster.
If roles are defined and employees know exactly who they should go to for something specific, that sets the tone for a more productive, cohesive office.
Fewer barriers mean a better experience for all
Collaboration is the name of the game in the modern workplace when it comes to reducing waste, cost efficiencies, creating a leaner team, and providing clarity over responsibilities.
It is critical for companies to consider how these three previously separated teams can work together fluidly to improve the overall employee experience. Removing any barriers between departments can make for a better workplace, but it can’t be done without strategy and intention.
If the end goal for the IT, HR, and Facilities teams is to improve company culture and the employee experience, it’s vital to bridge any gaps before they can effectively make any improvements.
Looking for a better way to manage your daily office operations and streamline communication across the company? Contact us today to get started.