It’s a difficult period to be an IT leader, but there’s never been a better time to be one. And it’s up to these executives to attract and retain the personnel they’ll need to anticipate the future and keep the business growing. This job, like that of employee engagement, is never finished. If they have any doubts about whether focusing on this is worthwhile, CIOs must consider the cost of losing their top employees.
According to the results of Envoy’s Return to the Workplace Report, nearly half of employees surveyed would likely abandon their employment during the pandemic if their companies do not offer a hybrid work arrangement. While 47 percent indicated they would likely quit their jobs in that situation, 41 percent said they would accept a somewhat lower-paying job if it offered a hybrid work-remote work/in-office approach.
The headlines are sensational, but this has been in the works for a long time. Many businesses were already coping with substantial employee turnover before the outbreak. Plans of some many employees may have been put on hold over the previous year, but increased optimism about the future has them looking ahead and assessing their alternatives. Top IT talent has more options than ever before now that firms have warmed to the idea of remote and hybrid workforces.
CIOs find themselves at a crossroads as leaders. They can choose to be victims of circumstance and accept that their best employees will be lost. They may either keep doing what they’ve always done and hope for better outcomes, or they can understand that changing circumstances present an excellent opportunity to rethink how they motivate, develop, and retain their workforces.
Engagement-focused IT leaders
Most CIOs are already considering how they can seize this opportunity and turn it into a differentiator. While the previous year demonstrated the importance of IT to the business, it also left behind a lot of stress, isolation, fear, and burnout. These CIOs aren’t sitting around waiting for their top individuals to stay. They’re proactively working to engage their top IT talent so that everyone can compete and deliver more value when the economy picks up steam.
Here are three strategies that even the busiest IT leaders can start applying right now to see results.
Assist employees in becoming more engaged
Most CIOs are fully aware that they will face stiff competition for their best employees. The truth is that they will almost certainly lose a valuable employee at some point. However, the hardest time for them to lose someone to a competitor while they are still with you. They haven’t left, but they aren’t providing their interest, enthusiasm, or ideas. The leader, more often than not, plays a significant role in this.
Of course, it isn’t solely on the leader’s shoulders. Employees should be advocates for themselves since everyone engages differently. However, the leader sets the tone for engagement in a number of ways. Leaders that focus on engagement focus on three areas – they are proactive about growing their people, and they focus on the connection because they know that connections generate loyalty. Finally, they are culturally aware. Even in a completely remote company, there is a culture, and it is up to the leaders to build and maintain one that people want to work in.
Helping employees grow
Even if the employees do not actively reach out to discuss their growth and career objectives, CIOs must pay attention to this. People won’t stay at a job for long if they don’t feel they are learning and progressing.
Leaders often fear these discussions, especially if they are concerned that the person will ask for a promotion that isn’t available or isn’t the proper match. But bear in mind that advancement in career isn’t only about climbing the corporate ladder. There are several opportunities for people to learn and improve as technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace.
It’s also worth mentioning that, especially in IT, moving up frequently entails assuming management responsibilities. However, once they’re in the role, many talented individuals find it’s not for them. When this happens, they may decide to hunt for their next opportunity outside of the company because they would not want to feel like they’re being demoted or unable to take a step back.
A workplace culture that people want to work in
Leaders have a huge influence over the company culture and many of the impactful things leaders can do to create a positive culture are fairly simple, but they do need intention – providing highly specific feedback, writing thank you notes, appreciating a job well done; paying attention to the wellbeing of the employees; understanding what different individuals need, especially when the work is remote and stressful.