The Post-Pandemic CIO

"Views on Leadership, Communication, and Engagement"

CoverLondon (UK), March 2022 - Learning platform 5App and Freeform Dynamics, an IT industry analyst firm, in collaboration with CIO WaterCooler, a networking community for IT leaders and technologists, have released a new report titled, "The Post-Pandemic CIO: Views on leadership, communication and engagement".

The report highlights that over 60% of IT leaders believe that the future outlook of work is overall positive, with both IT staff and end users better geared up for home or hybrid working.

With CIOs regrouping, and four out of five getting back to strategic initiatives, key priorities for 2022 include

  • investing in new people and skills within IT (81% of respondents)
  • transforming or re-focusing IT teams (72%).

Tony Lock, Distinguished Analyst at Freeform Dynamics, comments, "IT teams have been under a lot of pressure over the past two years, meaning IT leaders have had to proactively manage the motivation, health, and wellbeing of their people more than ever before. The experience and habits CIOs have picked up along the way, however, makes them much better armed to lead their teams into the future".

"The report reveals that CIOs see developing people skills as important", says Duncan Barrett, Head of Product at 5App. "There is an opportunity for CIOs to adopt a thought leadership role in this area and promote best practices across the business. Platforms like 5App, which help to create a learning culture and support significant transformational change programs, have big part to play".

The pandemic turned also the spotlight on people as individuals: Over the course of the recent healthcare crisis, CIOs generally felt they got closer to the people who work for them, creating greater understanding and empathy, and strengthening relationships.

The increased focus on people remains valuable as change continues. As CIOs transition from crisis mode and look to the future, most see a need to transform the way their teams operate, so they are better equipped to support the business going forward into a world of uncertainty.

The need for CIOs to develop their own skills is key. CIOs particularly highlight the need for enhanced skills in areas such as leadership, motivation, persuasion, negotiation, and general relationship management. The amount of time CIOs allocate to self-development is on average about half of what they'd ideally like. 

The post-pandemic CIO role will be more people centric. Maintaining a focus on morale, motivation, and wellbeing is not just good for the employee; it also leads to business benefits in areas such as productivity, creativity, and staff retention. The CIO has a key role to play in driving this, both within the IT organisation and across the business as a whole.