From Advancement Opportunities to Coffee Bars: 3 CIOs Share Their Best Tips for Attracting, Retaining Top Talent

According to a recent survey from HIMSS, about one-third of healthcare organizations reported putting at least one IT project on hold last year due to lack of staff, and 43 percent said an under-qualified talent pool was the biggest obstacle to fully staffing their department.

So how can CIOs both attract and retain the highly qualified workers their departments, and their organizations, need? Three CIOs weigh in:

Edith Dees. Vice President and CIO of Holy Spirit Health System (Camp Hill, Pa.). We have been most successful hiring new graduates with strong soft skills and the drive to continue to learn and grow. We provide support for industry and vendor certifications as well as customized PMI-based project management framework that combines our IT governance approach and change management principles. Job descriptions clarify requisite skills and experiences to advance to [the] next level. We work closely with human resources to perform frequent market surveys to ensure competitive compensation. All staff receive continual feedback and coaching consistent with career goals.

IT offices and work space were designed by IT management and staff. The space was designed to accommodate workflow and security while providing open collaboration and conference areas as well as a number of creature features that include a quiet room, showers and multiple coffee bars.

Mark Kilborn. CIO of Springhill Medical Center (Mobile, Ala.). Our technical/clinical portfolio of accomplishments coupled with our advanced systems offer an attractive position to candidates. This hospital has been at the bleeding edge of technology for 15 years. As a 100-percent paperless hospital with mandatory computerized physician order entry, our successes in the technical/electronic health record arena have been many. We offer a continuous record of quality outcomes using state-of-the-art-solutions. We can also show a very impressive track record for our existing employees who have moved up the ranks over the years. In short: "At Springhill Medical Center, you can have an excellent career with the organization all the while building on a very attractive resume."

Nayan D. Patel. Director of Information Technology at The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano (Texas). Being flexible and empowering them to manage their own time. IT is sometimes like a 24/7 job, and you just don't know when your support will be needed. This always requires encouraging employees to take vacation even though they feel they are behind in tasks. [You] simply cannot burn out your team, as that will have larger repercussions.

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