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Movement in the Workforce

September 20, 2016
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Health IT leaders need to be careful about letting their top talent leave
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In a recent article I read in Money Magazine, more than 50 percent of today’s workforce would leave their current job if they had a chance to make more money. Hard to believe? Not really. Since the financial meltdown of 2008, employers have tried to do more with fewer employees and as such, wage increases have not been stellar. Many organizations have great looking balance sheets hording and sitting on tons of cash while the workforce is at a burnout stage. It’s not a situation where the employers are starting to see a little smoke. Instead, it’s the proverbial “house is on fire,” so you need to act now to reassess your retention and benefit package. Over time, my prediction is the numbers will get worse before things start to settle down.

These figures should concern every CIO in every hospital or integrated delivery network (IDN) in the country as the HCIT job market for technical talent is already very tight and finding replacement employees could prove to be difficult, take much longer than expected, and impact important projects already underway. What’s equally as troubling in that same study showed 44 percent of those surveyed were actively looking for a new job right now! So watch out for that superstar on your team that suddenly starts to have lots of doctor appointments or impromptu personal time off (PTO) over a condensed period of time. They are probably interviewing.

One way for you to have an immediate impact on having this happen to you is to make sure you are listening to your team. Are you having regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with each member of your team? What’s going on in their lives? What motivates them and are you giving them enough challenging projects to allow them to grow and learn new skills? How’s morale at your facility? These are all very relevant questions you should be asking yourself. It’s funny that in some ways employees would exit for more money, but my guess would be if they truly love what they do, enjoy the culture you as their leader built, and love working for you, it would make pulling the trigger to leave and join an unknown entity much more difficult.

Understanding the demographics may be a way to help mitigate some of this risk. In a recent study our firm conducted, we found there are 74.3 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, accounting for nearly 23.5 percent of the population, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. They comprise the current largest demographic in the U.S.

Millennials are known as digital natives, being the only generation thus far growing up with digital media rather than adapting to it. We also know this demographic is hungry to learn. If they are not learning new skills, they will leave and go somewhere where they can. They also want to be heard so having those one-one-one sessions with you are critical as they want a voice to make suggestions and make an impact in what they do. I recently did some research on retention and read lots of articles, many contained the same ideas summarized as follows:

1. Employees need to know their work matters – This is critical to feel valued.

2. Establish a strong corporate culture and communicate it –Make it fun to go to work!

3. Schedule regular team building activities – Great for building employee relationships.

4. Define career paths – You can’t hit a target unless you know what you are aiming for!

5. Work-life balance – Make their job work around their lives –Encourage time off (unwired)!