As the healthcare IT industry evolves and the demand for creative and flexible IT solutions increase, does hiring also become a “rip and replace” scenario? In an attempt to develop the “next greatest widget” we develop “bigger, better, faster” so quickly that it’s difficult to keep up with the changes. Is “rip and replace” HR affecting our ability to find and retain top talent?

Today’s generation of tech Intrapreneurs aren’t afraid to change course, they are driven by the next great idea, not afraid of failure. Self-motivated, proactive and action-oriented they thrive in environments outside the “box” where innovation leads and new emerging business models follow. A lot are leaving organizations that aren’t creating this type of culture because the culture means more than the pay scale.

What are the barriers to retaining good talent?

Embody a Startup Mentality (even if you aren’t a startup)

This doesn’t mean start without capital, but it does mean lose the corporate attitude. Walk through the door of any startup and the energy is infectious. The optimism, agility, and creative mind-set keeps startups super-focused, and employees super charged about their work. The “buzz-kill” in many large organizations is the constant politicking, the stringent rules, the micro-management and the “top down” approach. Corporations can feel like a mine field when employees are afraid of voicing their opinions. When profits come before people, everybody loses. Start by getting rid of the “private meeting before the meeting”, the “closed door”, the “tiered knowledge” trees. Test flex time and at-home work days. Not all great ideas take place in an office between 8-5. Remote workers actually log more hours at their primary job than do their on-site counterparts. An empathetic, transparent working environment is absolutely key to great morale. If your employees will be on-site, make sure to include open spaces, with window access and perks like on-site gyms, healthy vending machines or on-site “market” areas. The trend is toward spaces that are conducive to creativity and collaboration. Large open spaces vs. cubicles or closed offices, with comfortable seating for impromptu meetings and gatherings.

Create a culture of engagement

According to the Gallup Report: The State of the American Workplace, Employee, Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders, “Currently, 30% of the U.S. workforce is engaged in their work, meaning that the vast majority of U.S. workers (70%) are not reaching full potential. It goes on to state: “Having too few engaged employees means our workplaces are less safe, employees have more quality defects, and disengagement (which results from terrible managers), is driving up the country’s healthcare cost.”. No wonder we can’t retain great talent! A culture of engagement fosters collaboration. Not top down dictation but a collaborative learning environment. This means not all “Lunch and Learns” are presented by the C-Suite or vendor alliances. Employers who actually take the time to learn from ALL employees (with the notion that a great idea can come from anyone) focus on employee strengths, not weaknesses- and create a culture of collaborative sharing- one that keeps ideas fresh, and employees engaged.

Invest in your employees

Investment isn’t measured by pay or vacation perks, it is measured the time managers take to listen to their employees. If, as a manager, you don’t know how an employee would like to grow professionally, you can’t tailor opportunities to meet their needs, and you risk losing them. I’ve seen this happen time and time again in the Health IT workplace. Inconsistencies in communication cause disengagement. Creating a great relationship requires trust. Don’t command, coach. Listen, don’t talk all the time. It is much more productive listening to what someone can do rather than telling them what they can’t do. Identify and nurture your top talent. Health IT hiring needs an upgrade. We cannot afford a “rip and replace”. This only poses additional challenge on an already stressed Health IT workforce. Take a breath. Learn from a start-up. Foster innovation and creativity. Start by putting people first. If that’s unreasonable, you might find your best employees are choosing to work for a start-up.

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