The Role CIOs Play in Retaining Employees Amid the Great Resignation

With support from the CIO, business leaders can continue to push for disruptive technologies in the workplace if they want to avoid falling victim to the Great Resignation.

Dan Priest, Managing Partner, Cloud & Digital, PwC

March 16, 2022

3 Min Read
magnet attracting employees to stay
alphaspirit via Adobe Stock

Throughout the pandemic, employees have signaled that they want to learn new skills and leverage new technology. However, the data shows that while companies are rolling out new technology, they aren’t always doing it in a way where the company or employees are getting the most out of it. The employee experience makes a difference in whether someone stays or leaves, and technology more now than ever impacts that experience.

This is an opportunity for CIOs to step in and go beyond their traditional responsibilities of just putting new tech into production, focusing instead on realizing the promise of the technology by changing the way work gets done. Seamless rollouts of new technology can build trust with employees, offer them the upskilling opportunities they are looking for, and encourage tech adoption.

CIOs are working tirelessly to meet the digital demands of the evolving workplace -- team communication tools, cloud transformation, work management solutions -- and as a result, almost half plan to prioritize refining their digital transformation strategies to be more agile this year.

The challenge? Change management is difficult even in the best of times. Enabling tech adoption and getting employees onboard amid a pandemic, while working from home, and in a volatile job market, is a massive undertaking.

CIOs’ Role in Employee Retention

CIOs today have become organizations’ technology educators and conveners, and thus, the decisions they make and the actions they take can have a ripple effect in whether employees will choose to remain with a company long-term.

This is particularly the case as CIOs empower organizations to move core applications to the cloud -- and while it's paying off, with 40% of CIOs seeing ROI -- the road to cloud satisfaction has not always meant a smooth transition for everyone involved.

That is because 36% of leaders are finding that cloud transformation is a top human capital challenge. Many are concerned over the security of critical data stored on the cloud, and the recent ransomware attacks on cloud vendors may have further increased concerns.

However, when done successfully, the impact of moving core applications to the cloud has resulted in an increase in employee engagement and improved productivity.

Effective Ways to Encourage Tech Adoption in the Workplace

The first step to overcoming the eternal challenges that come with getting employees to embrace new tools is to find ways to reward their eagerness to learn new skills. Fortunately, there are a plethora of effective methods organizations can use.

One option is to combine different approaches. For example, leaders can make incentives for usage and training part of gamification and provide mobile capabilities to “play” the game anytime and anywhere. Employees can be rewarded for adopting new tools with spot bonuses, extra time off, company “swag,” or professional development opportunities.

Identify the influencers across teams and enlist them as super-users, people who showcase adoption and benefits through small group sessions. Use added incentives, like event tickets or added time off, to motivate super-users to engage broadly and meaningfully to drive adoption.

The point is, don’t be afraid to be creative when it comes to introducing new technologies, because having an organization be open to providing upskilling opportunities can impact an employee's decision to stay. This is especially true for tools and technology that help employees drastically reduce time spent on repetitive and nonstrategic tasks and strengthen remote training processes.

With support from the CIO, business leaders should continue to push for disruptive technologies in the workplace if they want to avoid falling victim to the Great Resignation. To do this effectively, leaders should consider making a strong business case and move gradually, consistently producing results that prove the need for further investment.

About the Author(s)

Dan Priest

Managing Partner, Cloud & Digital, PwC

Dan Priest is PwC’s Cloud & Digital Managing Partner where he works with clients across industries, specializing in IT strategy and execution, operating model design, strategic sourcing and outsourcing solutions, and lean IT and operational excellence. Dan has over 20 years of experience and is the former Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Toyota Financial Services.

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