As the Great Resignation continues to impact the healthcare IT industry, organizations need additional strategies to maintain their operations. Zack Tisch, Vice President of Innovation at Pivot Point Consulting; Keith Southerland, Managing Partner at Focus Search Partners and Molly Kalinowski, Director of Managed Services at Pivot Point Consulting recently provided a roundtable discussion on LinkedIn to share what they’re seeing in the field.
Remote Work Is the New Normal
IT teams in healthcare organizations have traditionally worked on-site to be close to end users. Due to COVID-19, many employers and employees quickly pivoted to remote work. As organizations continue to see success from remote work, off-site IT employees have increased in number–and/or become more vocal in their desire for continued remote or hybrid work. This transition has caused the healthcare IT talent market to flatten, meaning healthcare organizations have an increased number of potential candidates to choose from. In addition, this allows jobseekers to search for positions that match their skill set and requirements without being constrained by geographic regions. With this increase in available talent for organizations and geography no longer being a constraint for job seekers, comes more HR-related tasks for the CIO and new team development and management considerations.
The CIO Role Is Shifting
While more candidates may be available for employers to source from, job seekers taking advantage of the Great Resignation still maintain the upper hand in today’s competitive market. Thus, more assistance is needed in recruiting and maintaining the necessary workforce level in organizations, and CIOs are often called on to support talent acquisition. Zack Tisch is quick to point out, “CIOs feel like they have to spend significant time doing HR tasks instead of really being able to be strategic in how they lead their part of the organization.” This can put unanticipated pressures on operations and projects across the organization.
Success in IT Departments Have Become Challenging
With competing priorities and the potential for lost focus on strategic IT projects, employees are finding success to be difficult. Additional pressure has been placed on IT departments to accomplish tasks with increasing complexity—faster and at a lower cost. As a result, CIOs are called upon to create revenue-generating strategies within their departments. Moreover, the pandemic forced IT organizations to prioritize COVID-19 EHR updates/builds, support the stand-up of drive-through clinics, and address other emergent needs, causing other tasks to be delayed. Many provider organizations are, according to Zack Tisch, still dealing with backlogs caused by these heavy delays compounded by talent shortages.
Internal Teams Continue to Face Resource Constraints
The lack of available talent due to the Great Resignation has increased. Because of this, to healthcare executive boards have expressed concern, according to Keith Southerland. Between older generations and nurses retiring and higher paying jobs available for other staff, Keith explains staffing remains an issue. Regarding how long organizations might face this constraint, Keith states, “This issue is here to stay. It’s not a short-term thing. Even if we fully come out of COVID, this is going to be an issue for some time to come. I think now more than ever, boards are open to all practical solutions, specifically as it relates to IT.”
Acquisition and Retention Strategies Are Shifting
With the shifting job market throughout the Great Resignation comes the need for updated strategies in acquiring and retaining talent. One issue in need of a solution is the increased amount of support work across organizations. As Molly Kalinowski explains, many IT departments need support staff to either maintain current operations or manage upgrades. If a particular task or service isn’t needed for the long-term, organizations may require support for only a short timeframe. In these instances, Molly explains that organizations typically find success by filling a role in a part-time capacity. She states, “This model also provides a lot of flexibility for our clients as they can share resources. Additionally, customers can scale up or down based on resources that are needed.”
For organizations searching for full-time staff, Zack Tisch iterates the importance of developing a strong culture and mission within an organization. He explains that many individuals in the healthcare field have chosen it as it provides a meaningful purpose. If organizations wish to retain talent, all teams must be aligned around a central mission beyond the bottom line. “Those folks are going to want to stick around. They’re going to want to do better work. They’re going to be less likely to take off just for pay or other reasons. And they’re going to put in a lot of that extra to help make your organization successful.”
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