© 2022 PwC. All rights reserved. 

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

The citizen-developer model has been a catalyst for much of the internal crowdsourcing of innovation in the workplace over the last 10 years. In this model, employees themselves develop the innovations that help them with their mundane, repetitive tasks.

Approach your digital transformation from a citizen-user / citizen-developer profile perspective. Tailor different learning types to training components. Think: outcomes, journey and end-users.

New ways of working and digital transformation

Giving a typical user access to a technology tool is pretty commonplace. The citizen-led model introduces something new: democratizing technology development outside the traditional IT function.

With a citizen-led model, the IT role evolves. Citizen-developers create automations for tedious, repetitive work rather than having IT expend time on this. A small amount of IT’s development capacity is redeployed for governance and oversight control over these automations. This frees up IT to focus on the bigger, more complex issues enabling them to upskill themselves, which can, in turn, increase retention in the IT function.

Although the possibility of learning how to build a bot to take on repetitive tasks excites people, it’s not without challenges. But those challenges are solvable. The biggest challenge is technical risk.

How do you manage this as you’re moving towards a citizen-led model? You have to first understand what risks are created. Then you can determine what controls to put in place, how you can use technology to control those risks and create a fit-for-purpose framework 9.

It comes down to five key areas:

  1. Digital strategy and business case
  2. Citizen-led journey and collaboration
  3. Upskilling and talent strategy
  4. Controls and governance
  5. Digital program execution

Define your case for change and align key stakeholders to drive the vision forward. Cultivate a culture of innovation, collaboration and sharing across all citizens. Create a digitally savvy workforce ready for the future enterprise. Determine the mechanisms to improve quality, consistency and success. Lay the foundation while rapidly developing prototypes to generate momentum.

Start thinking about your organization and some areas where you can show some immediate impact. Consider your people, technology and risk management strategies and how those are going to converge.

What can you do right now?

Download this article today.

Download as a PDF

Related resources

IDC Spotlight: The Advantages of Managed Automation Marketplaces

Learn more

Citizen-led automation and the Great Resignation

Every resignation creates losses for companies 8. Thousands of dollars walk out the door when an employee leaves. Not just in training, but in the team synergies and the resident knowledge of how operations and processes are run. And it takes time to hire and train a new employee. In this tight labor market, hiring the right person is even more challenging.

What do we know about the people who are quitting, and why? 

The past couple of years have shifted everyone’s priorities and made most office workers reconsider their work/life boundaries. People have never enjoyed mundane, monotonous, repetitive work, but tolerance for it seems lower than ever. Automating tasks like these can free employees to work on the parts of their jobs that excite and challenge them—and make them want to come to work each day.

Compensation and benefits are still important factors to most workers. New employees consider these table stakes: greater schedule flexibility, higher salaries and expanded benefits—and new opportunities 9. These are all areas where companies can take positive steps to help increase retention and stem the tide of resignations. Focusing on new opportunities could result in the most powerful—and positive—impact to both employees and companies.

Citizen-led automation–a catalyst for digital transformation

Companies that were way ahead of this curve as early adopters had a few things in common:

  • Retention was one part of their motivation.
  • They wanted to deliver more value to clients at a lower price point.
  • They wanted digitally-enabled ways of working.

Big initiatives—like digital transformation—are usually rolled out in a centralized, top-down way. But that’s a difficult model to apply in a highly regulated environment. 

This is where digital upskilling can mean the difference between success and missing the target. Your employees should be at the center of your transformation. They’re closest to the processes themselves. Equip them with the skills and access to tools to drive efficiencies—like automation and analytics—and they can help power enterprise-wide transformation.

Success hinges on: 

  • Your employees’ willingness to lean in to being upskilled: learning new skills and new ways of working 
  • Your company’s willingness to invest in giving employees access to all the components to make that happen: technology, time, training—and permission to experiment 

Investing in digital reskilling and upskilling is a potential win-win. If employees devote the time to this digital upskilling, they’ll acquire new skills that can lead to new opportunities and career paths. And in the process, they’re going to deliver value to your company and improve operations. 

Digital upskilling and reskilling can create a culture of 
innovation and:

  • Enable you to deliver the same services in less time and in a way that’s more attractive to clients 
  • Give employees a new skill set they can use to be more innovative and add more value to the firm and to clients—skills they can use in future job opportunities 
  • Help increase employee retention and attract new employees who want to be part of an innovative company 


What does success look like? What do you want to achieve with your human-led digital strategy? Defining this upfront can help clarify the connection between your people and the technology.

If it’s happier customers, success might be reduced hold times, faster turnaround.

If it’s decreased turnover, success might be improving the employee experience, making them feel like they’re valued and have a career path—and a reason to stick around.

How empowering your workforce can help boost retention while scaling digital transformation

Turnover is costly: three big impacts of The Great Resignation

Loss of cross training, team synergies, process/ operations knowledge 

Considerable investment in time and costs to hire and train new employees 

Low productivity and morale, lack of resources and stalled transformative efforts that require human leaders with institutional knowledge




More than 4.4 million US workers quit their jobs in February 2022.1 “The Great Resignation” is a continuation of a long-term trend that’s only intensified during the pandemic—88% of executives are seeing higher turnover than normal.2 With no signs of slowing, the phenomenon has expanded across all sectors—and it’s gone global.

Kevin Kroen, Principal, Intelligent Automation Lead, PwC and Bettina Koblick, Chief People Officer, UiPath

This is more than people quitting one corporate job for a similar position. And it’s more than a matter of compensation. More than a third of workers 3 would sacrifice salary for access to more upskilling. This is increasingly about employees seeking a values-driven work culture 4, fulfillment and opportunities to learn. For many workers, a sense of shared values and meaning is so important, they’ll leave the stability of their current employer. 

Added to this mix is the disruption of digital transformation, which 60% of CEOs 5 cite as their most critical growth driver in 2022. And by 2025, a predicted 85 million jobs may be disrupted by technology, with 97 million new digitally-oriented jobs likely emerging.

This need for new skills combined with a workforce unhappy with the employment status quo can present an opportunity for a sea change—and to try something different.

We need to bridge the gap between employees opting to leave companies they’ve worked hard to get into and companies losing the talent they’ve struggled to hire.

88% of executives are seeing higher turnover than normal 6 

By 2025

85 million jobs will be disrupted by technology 7 

97 million new digitally oriented jobs will emerge

Unprecedented workforce disruption


Understand your employees’ roles and skills––and how to tailor specific curriculums to their learning profiles.

Not everyone in your organization will be at the same point on the knowledge curve, on their journey or in their role.

Even if they don’t want or need to know how to build a bot, automation or dashboard, they should all know what these are and how to use them.


Understanding your desired outcomes and having a clear picture of what the journey will look like can enable you to tailor learning plans to end-users.

It’s unrealistic to expect someone who doesn’t need in-depth, hands-on knowledge to sit in a three-week bootcamp if they can acquire some basic acumen in a couple of hours.

Someone who wants to build those skills will need hands-on practice, so that becomes very important from a learning strategy perspective.

How do you run citizen-led infrastructure?

Companies are losing more than people

Traditional technology development model 

Users give requirements to IT;
IT builds solutions for the business

Citizen-led model 

With the right digital upskilling / reskilling, anyone can learn to build a bot, automation or dashboard

The ways we work have changed. Companies that invest in digital transformation without also managing change across skills and culture have lagged behind.

When people started talking about automation and bots, many workers feared for their jobs and  resisted the new technology. The reality is that these tools help people remain in jobs by automating repetitive tasks and freeing up hours to be committed to more complex value-add activities.

Building a staff of citizen developers can also help reduce IT backlog, which enables your technical staff to work on more business-critical challenges. When your people spend more time on meaningful work, it can boost productivity, morale and job satisfaction.

This collaboration between leadership and individual employees across your organization can help you build a community of skilled learners who solve problems creatively while creating scalable solutions that drive growth

To prepare your organization for tomorrow, address employee engagement today. Your people need content, courses and credentials.

  • Empowering digital citizens in your organization can help you accelerate your digital transformation journey. And this allows them to take charge of where they focus their time and energy by automating repetitive tasks.
  • Help them start building the skills to do this through highly personalized learning paths of curated content and industry-leading courseware. And give learners opportunities to practice skills in the context of their job roles.

Digital upskilling and learning new skills can enhance roles and empower your people to automate the parts of their jobs they dislike, making their jobs more rewarding overall. Automation can up your company’s digital transformation game. And when people feel empowered to work more innovatively and contribute in meaningful, tangible ways, they’re more likely to stay.

Citizen-led innovation–investing in reskilling and upskilling your workforce

How PwC and UiPath empower the future of work

Organizations around the world are seeking to transform how they operate. PwC and UiPath are helping to lead the way. Digital upskilling is critical to building the workforce of tomorrow, today. 

ProEdge, a PwC product, is an upskilling and citizen-led innovation platform. The UiPath Platform is a component of how PwC transformed themselves, allowing them to deliver value and operational efficiencies within the firm –– and to their clients.

Learn more about ProEdge here, or contact the product team directly at ProEdge@pwc.com to start a conversation.

How upskilling in automation technologies can transfer to real business impact

Learn more

CEOs share What's Next and how talent drives transformation

Learn more