4 health systems named 'best places to work in IT' share their retention strategies

From letting IT teams work where they feel most productive to offering competitive salaries, this is how the health systems that made the list of Computerworld's best places to work in IT for 2023 create a great IT environment to work in. 

Becker's reached out to all 11 who made the list to discuss their strategy in IT employee retention. Here are the answers of the leaders of the four health systems who responded:

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for length and clarity.

Andy Crowder, Chief Information and Analytics Officer, Advocate Health — Southeast Region (Charlotte, N.C.): The pandemic posed an extremely difficult challenge for everyone, and especially in the healthcare space. It caused us to adapt in ways we may not previously have considered, and some of those changes have actually driven satisfaction and engagement higher. 

We listened when our teammates overwhelmingly said they were equally or more productive working from home and preferred to continue that. As a result, roughly 90 percent of our IT workforce is either remote or hybrid. 

Working from home has strengthened our efforts to connect with each teammate, individually, as we encourage our IT leaders and their teams to leverage video interaction. This helps us maintain visual communication and pick up on signals of behavioral changes or concerns that may become evident, and maintain strong working relationships that promote teamwork and collaboration. This breeds an atmosphere of family, which embraces each unique individual and their diverse backgrounds and life experiences, encourages candid and courageous conversations on difficult topics, and results in being a place people want to work: over half of Atrium Health's IT teammates have been with us for more than 10 years. 

Because we listen, we understand what's important to our teammates. We're surveying them, year-round on their work anniversary, which allows us to stay ahead of emerging issues and concerns. We take care of our people — as evidenced, in part, that every full-time teammate saw at least a 4 percent increase in their salary or wages last year. 

While many systems struggled during and, now, after the pandemic, Atrium Health has offered stability, with no layoffs or furloughs. We make it a point to recognize the work outcomes of our teammates — not just to them directly, but also celebrate their accomplishments in group settings among their peers and leaders. 

This yields a workforce that is proud of where they work and what they do — we even have an ongoing thing where people post pictures from their vacation travels, complete with an Atrium Health t-shirt in full view. Small things like this matter, as it subtly reinforces that balance is needed in everyone's lives — and they need to take their time off to enjoy their families and places and activities they enjoy. 

Diane Comer, Executive Vice President and Chief Information & Technology Officer at Kaiser Permanente: Kaiser Permanente believes that technology enables the transformation of how healthcare is delivered and experienced, and it is increasingly at the core of our operations. 

In order to attract and retain the most talented IT teams, we offer attractive benefits and amenities, including increased flexibility for our employees to work from home and skip the commute; competitive salary and benefits; investment in leadership and staff development; healthy work-life balance prioritization; and a corporate culture that is fair, equitable and diverse. 

And, we find the service of our mission — to improve the health of our members and of the communities we serve — to be a compelling reason to join Kaiser Permanente. We see it as an incredibly exciting time to be working in healthcare IT.

Jason Joseph, Chief Digital and Information Officer of Corewell Health (dually headquartered in Grand Rapids and Southfield, Mich.): Two key factors make for a successful IT department in healthcare. The first is having a clear strategy with priorities that are fully aligned with the organization's overall goals. This strategy must take into consideration the complexity and realities of the environment as well as clarify the path to the future. 

The second is having the right team, culture and mindset to execute on the strategy. At Corewell Health, we believe we have found the right balance between setting our sights on new horizons that are compelling and innovative, and creating a culture of empowerment and accountability that sets our teams up for success. Having amazing people is both a cause and an effect — and we never take it for granted.

Stoddard Manikin, Chief Information Security Officer of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta: We focus on employee wellness to make sure employees take care of themselves so they're best able to take care of the kids. So, we offer a wide range of support, including support groups, subsidized and free mental health resources, an annual "Resiliency" day paid holiday and more to help maintain physical and mental resilience. 

We also offer a state-of-the-art gym with trainer-led and educate employees on a range of health issues, and we encourage a culture of wellness through "Wellness Wednesdays" during which employees are encouraged to wear workout clothes to the office and participate in at least 30 minutes of physical activity. 

We also help employees manage their personal and work lives through onsite Concierge services and work from home flexibility options.

The Children's IT Shared Leadership program allows non-management staff members to serve on an advice and decision-making council, and we accelerate integration of new employees into teams through an onboarding cohort program that allows new employees to get to know others while learning relevant policies and expectations. 

All of our efforts within Children's IT department have successfully kept us at a 90-93% or higher retention rate for the past 1.5 years, as well as employee engagement scores among the top of our organization.

Copyright © 2023 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars