Hospitals should use tech layoffs to fill open IT roles, health systems CIOs say

As tech companies conduct massive layoffs, hospitals and health systems IT leaders can take advantage of that opportunity by recruiting laid off IT talent for their open IT roles. 

Becker's asked six CIOs: How can hospitals and health systems effectively fill their IT open roles?

Editors notes: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length. 

Bill Bellando. CIO of Wellstar Health System (Marietta, Ga.): At Wellstar, we're aggressively hiring for open positions. Top digital and tech talent will be critical in helping us arrive at our strategic destination – an ecosystem of care powered by a digital operating model.  We're taking our innovation and digital message to non-typical locations like SXSW to raise Wellstar's profile and attract top tech talent nationwide while engaging the startup ecosystem so Wellstar can plug in to the cutting edge talent and firms that will shape the future of healthcare.

Brad Reimer. CIO of Sanford Health (Sioux Falls, S.D.): Health systems can effectively recruit and retain IT talent by focusing on the core mission of healthcare, helping people keep healthy and heal. Healthcare is a career where employees can truly be part of the greater good by helping those around them. We need to connect with their hearts and bring them into the mission.

At Sanford Health, one of the ways we're doing this is through a reverse rounding program where we invite caregivers and other leaders across our organization to share their "day in the life of" stories with our IT team. These clinical immersion sessions allow nurses, physicians and other caregivers to discuss how technology intersects in their roles and impacts patients. This has empowered our team members and strengthened our recruitment and retention efforts.  

Eric Jimenez. CIO of Artesia (N.M.) General Hospital: Building a strong employer brand and creating a compelling employee value proposition is a critical strategy for healthcare organizations to attract and retain top IT talent. 

A well-crafted employee value proposition can help organizations differentiate themselves from competitors and communicate why their workplace is an attractive and rewarding place to work.

A critical aspect of building a strong employer brand is highlighting the organization's mission, values, and commitment to providing high-quality patient care. Healthcare professionals are motivated by the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives, and emphasizing the organization's mission, and values can attract IT professionals who share them.

Linda Stevenson. CIO of Fisher-Titus Medical Center (Norwalk, Ohio): IT leaders need to be creative about attracting great talent.  It is important to plan a future pipeline of talent by partnering with schools, creating internships and sharing opportunities with young potential candidates.

We also need to become better at marketing ourselves. In 2023, our organization will be focusing on marketing the advanced technologies we offer to improve patient care, community connections and internal productivity.  

Great talent is attracted to working on exciting solutions and making a real difference. And finally, we need to be great at inspiring our team members, helping them stay connected to the mission and vision, which will encourage our current staff to become our greatest recruiters.

Zafar Chaudry, MD. Senior Vice President and Chief Digital and Information Officer of Seattle Children's: Hospitals and health systems can use the technology layoffs as an opportunity to court employees with specialized skills with the lure of work that is more mission focused. 

A positive workplace culture can also go a long way in attracting and retaining IT staff as hospitals and health systems tend to have a culture of collaboration, respect and innovation. 

It is also a good opportunity to look at improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in teams as there is a much broader availability of technology professionals looking for work. 

Raymond Lowe. Senior Vice President and CIO at AltaMed (Commerce, Calif.): As there are constant financial pressures, IT leaders should review technical and cost optimization and potentially find ways to self-fund staffing, which can be realized by aggressive contract negotiations freeing funds to be used on staff.

In addtion, grow on your own by identifying high performing individuals. Provide training and coaching with a clear expectations on upskilling for each team member. As well as make sure open positions are readily known within your IT department and throughout the organization ­— current staff can be the most effective recruiters. 

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