Great Resignation hits IT departments and companies are switching strategies

To ensure business continuity amid high turnover, many CIOs are planning to alter their strategies to make the company "less dependent on employee institutional knowledge," says PwC.

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After a year of layoffs and hiring freezes, companies have increased hiring in recent months. At the same time, a tight labor market and Great Resignation of sorts has companies using deal sweeteners to attract top talent and fill openings. On Thursday, PwC released the results of its latest U.S. Pulse Survey, highlighting executive concerns about high turnover and network security following a string of high-profile cyberattacks.

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"As the pandemic shuttered us all inside our homes and opened up the possibility of remote work, employees have been able to reflect on their needs and aspirations for over a year. The result: many want a new, flexible model of work," said Joe Nocera, leader of PwC's Cyber & Privacy Innovation Institute.

At the same time, some companies could look to poach top talent amid a tight labor market. 

Citing PwC's Next in Work survey, Nocera said 65% of respondents reported they were looking for a new position and 88% of executives were seeing comparatively high turnover, adding that "the competitive war for talent has never been more fierce."

Interestingly, about half of executives said they were planning to "change processes to become less dependent on employee institutional knowledge" in the next 18 months, according to the report. So, why are executives choosing this route and what are the benefits of making companies less dependent on the institutional knowledge of their workers?

Turns out, the moves could be related to the surge in employees jumping ship.

"To keep operations running smoothly through these high volumes of resignations and turnover, almost half of CIOs plan to make changes in their processes to make organizations less dependent on employee institutional knowledge," Nocera said.

Using processes such as automation and others, companies "allow employees to shift their focus from time-consuming rote tasks to more strategic activities," Nocera explained.

"Ultimately, this saves executives from having to repeatedly spend time and money training new employees on routine tasks."

Hybrid work challenges and concerns

Many CIOs are still concerned about numerous cybersecurity elements related to their hybrid work models. A section of the PwC report identifies CIO "worries" related to hybrid work with "data privacy, cybersecurity and compliance concerns" topping the list for 43% of respondents. Other top concerns include "digital upskilling," attempting to balance the "tech-driven experience of remote and on-site workers" and increased shadow IT occurrences.

Halfway through year two of remote work at scale, what are some of the roadblocks holding back companies and IT teams from deploying more robust network security?

"In the midst of the technology talent shortage, the lack of employees with the skills needed to deploy a more robust network security has been a major roadblock in securing the new hybrid work model," Nocera said.

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In recent months, a number of cyberattacks have targeted critical aspects of the U.S. infrastructure ranging from meat and petroleum production to local water supplies. These attacks have brought conversations surrounding cybersecurity preparedness front and center for companies around the globe.

"Recent high-profile cyberattacks have highlighted how security vulnerabilities can come from anywhere and at any time. They have been a wake-up call for technology executives to bolster security initiatives," Nocera said.

"As ransomware-as-a-service continues to hit hard, CIOs must be laser focused on their own network securities and ways to bolster their resiliency proactively."

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