'Investing in your employees goes a long way:' How CIOs retain IT staff

With talent retention becoming increasingly difficult during the era of "quiet quitting" and the "Great Resignation," CIOs are rethinking their approaches to leadership, IT culture, team communication and the value of work.

Becker's asked four health system CIOs: What is your health system doing to retain and budget for IT staff?

Josh Glandorf. Chief Information Officer UC San Diego Health: It's certainly been a difficult time and we've had to pivot in how we manage, engage and retain talent.

We've moved to a fairly full remote workforce and have tried to limit having people come into an office to sit by themselves and then go home. 

We encourage our directors in information services to put together thoughtful plans for team meetings, one on ones, performance evaluations and brainstorming sessions to gather folks together. 

We've also had our eye on the market in terms of salary benefits and understanding where we sit and where we can make adjustments. 

And we're also putting greater focus on connecting with our teammates so that we can better understand their aspirations and where we can offer training opportunities for them to grow.

Muhammad Siddiqui. Vice President and CIO of Reid Health (Richmond, Ind.): My primary focus would be on aligning staff budgets with strategic goals in order to ensure we are laser-focused on recruiting the right staff and motivating them to achieve the right outcomes. We also are working to empower teams to focus on outcomes rather than just executing — processes are vital. 

According to Gartner, siloed strategies and decision-making are among the fundamental challenges facing the CIO, so it is likely that healthcare organizations will neglect to budget and hire the appropriate staff and will have difficulty retaining them over time.

In the era of "quiet quitting" and the Great Resignation, it is imperative to develop a culture and strategy based on high integrity. This will enable us to create high-quality benefits and to invest in professional development so employees feel motivated to go beyond their immediate duties. 

Investing in employees can result in long- and short-term benefits.

Linda Stevenson. CIO of Fisher-Titus Medical Center (Norwalk, Ohio): To retain staff, we are regularly reviewing salaries to ensure that we are competitive with the fast changing market.  

Above direct compensation, we have a robust program that starts with input from our staff. This includes focusing on regular wellness discussions, flexible scheduling, remote work and a strong focus on mission.  

A focus on maintaining our team-focused culture and respect of the individual goes a long way in keeping our team engaged.

Eric Jimenez. CIO of Artesia (N.M.) General Hospital: Staffing is a major concern. Our health system is rural and finding the right staff is key for us. Money can go so far, so we try to build culture. 

Early in my career, I found a quote from Sir Richard Branson, he stated, "train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to."

When it comes to IT staff, I took this quote to heart. You have to educate your staff to become lead subject matter experts. 

Our job as leaders is not to provide an answer but give the ability to find the answer for themselves. You become a resource for them. You help them feel valuable to the organization which in turn creates a great work-life balance. The culture has to be safe so they can hold themselves accountable as well as their leaders.  

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