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High Tide in HCIT...

November 14, 2009
by Tim Tolan
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I witness the shifting of the tides each day living here in Charleston. It’s profound to watch as high tide replaces the shallow waters of the Atlantic. Each tide change is significant when measured at the peak. Just look at the difference in the height of the water in today’s tide forecast:

Charleston

2009-11-14

5:47 AM EST

High Tide

6.49 feet

2009-11-14

11:56 AM EST

Low Tide

0.25 feet

2009-11-14

5:59 PM EST

High Tide

5.59 feet

 

I only wish the tides were changing in the way we approach hiring HCIT talent. So far, there does not appear to be much of a shift at all in the hiring process in this soon to be explosive space we call healthcare IT. The overall search market has already improved and the recruiter confidence levels remain high. For those that “don’t get it” it will be difficult to upgrade, add or replace much needed human capital required to keep pace with what will no doubt be a (VERY) fast moving train! What are you going to do differently in 2010 to make sure you attract the talent pool you need to execute your plan?

While we see significant increases this fall in search assignments over the summer and fall of 2008 – what we don’t see is much of a change in the hiring process. Search assignments continue to drag out far beyond timelines that are sustainable or realistic in the new HCIT world. Once “meaningful use” and the certification process have been determined - I predict the hiring in this market will change (quickly) from being steady to a full blown feeding frenzy for HCIT talent. It’s more than just a guess as this hypothesis boils down to simple supply and demand math of available HCIT talent. I can’t wait!

What that means to hiring managers and HCIT HR professionals is a major change will need to take place in the timeframe it takes to vet candidates, schedule and complete interviews to get to the offer stage. If major changes in the hiring process are not made soon you will likely see candidates move to organizations that have a much more aggressive hiring strategy. Dragging things out can also send a message to a candidate when they experience delay after delay in their interaction with a potential employer.

It will equally and perhaps even more important for HCIT vendors and healthcare providers to develop meaningful on-boarding and retention programs to help employees integrate into a new organization quickly and to keep them happy so they don’t seek greener pastures downstream. Unfortunately, many employers I speak with do not have a defined on-boarding process or a strategy to retain top talent. That will have to change. And quickly – I might add… Organizations today can license software to automate the on-boarding process. It’s a no-brainer.

The tides are changing quickly and for those that want to participate in the tsunami in waiting – changes will have to be made in the way you approach talent acquisition. If not, I’m afraid you may be stuck in shallow water and waiting for the high tide while your competition advances further downstream.

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Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice

@@TimTolan

http://sanfordrose.net/thetolangroup/

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