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CEO Message: Putting People First

Articles Anthony Pugliese, CIA, CPA, CGMA, CITP Dec 12, 2022

No matter how much the world changes — and it has changed a lot — one thing remains true for businesses of all sizes in all industries:

An organization's most important resource is its people.

This time-tested truth is even more evident today in the wake of the “Great Resignation,” a period of unprecedented employee turnover. This phenomenon has been made more disruptive when coupled with the growing trend of “quiet quitting” in which employees stay in their job but do the bare minimum. It’s also evident in the “Great Regret,” in which both employees and employers have come to regret some of their pandemic-era job change/hiring decisions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 47.8 million workers quit their jobs in 2021, a record average of nearly 4 million per month. To put that in perspective, nearly 37% more people quit their jobs in November 2021 than in November 2020.   

When good employees leave, it impacts organizational culture, results in a loss of institutional knowledge, and raises compliance and operational risks. Does your organization have a plan to retain top talent? Perhaps more importantly, what is your organization’s plan for replacing your talent if someone should leave?

As you’ll read in this edition of Internal Auditor, roughly 85% of an organization’s costs are people related, and, as revealed in The IIA’s OnRisk 2022 report , talent management is one of the highest-rated risks. So, if you’re not already thinking about talent management, you should be.   

How do organizations battle the macro trends that are causing employees to change jobs at a record pace? While there’s no perfect answer, internal auditors have an important role to play. Leaders must ensure we’re creating organizations that people won’t want to leave, which includes establishing a positive internal culture, work/life balance, good benefits, transparent and authentic leadership, accountability, and so much more. Internal auditors’ perspective of the entire business enables them to identify human capital trends, propose solutions, and work collaboratively with leaders to build the kinds of organizations that will attract (and retain) talent.

Increasingly, organizations are seeing that when it comes down to a choice between people and the bottom line, our people are the bottom line.

Anthony Pugliese, CIA, CPA, CGMA, CITP

Anthony Pugliese is president and CEO of The IIA in Lake Mary, Fla.