The need for talented and qualified health IT workers is a hot topic for many health system CIOs this year. But along with adding new talent, I have learned that many CIOs have developed creative ways to retain key IT staff. My recent Sanford Rose Associates 2010 CIO survey asked prominent CIOs about their retention strategies and 91% shared their methods to keep talented IT staff on their team. Here is a sampling of some of the good ideas.
Key Retention Strategies mentioned most
- Competitive salaries
- Training plans, continuing education opportunities
- Exciting projects to motivate and challenge
- Flexible schedules
- Excellent work environment
- Pay for performance, bonus$ for top performers
- Telecommuting, work at home
Other Retention Strategies mentioned
- Work hard but try to have fun, have a Fun Committee
- Promote from within, create lateral growth opportunities, career ladders
- Acknowledge accomplishments, recognition and appreciation
- Open communication & fairness
- Work/family balance
- Build personal relationships with line staff, 1:1 face time
- Ongoing salary market analysis
- “Occasionally use counter offers to keep someone”
- “Hire people smarter that I am”
- “Our retention is too good”
- Keep staff informed and involved, focused on mission
- Rotate positions, cross train
- Primary employer in the region
- Highly innovative organization, developmental partner with vendor
Whatever your methods are for retaining staff, I believe it is always a good idea to add new and fresh strategies to keep your team on board. I would stay away from counter offers, even occasionally. Watch out for “key man/woman” dependency in mission critical roles. Be aware that some of your best staff may be Baby Boomers and near retirement, do they have a successor? Keep a focus on where you are experiencing more turnover and adjust salaries, etc. On the other hand if your retention is “too good”, like one of the CIOs mentioned, it might be time to assess the team, reorganize and shake it up.
Anthony Guerra says
Hi Bonnie — that’s for this great post. By my estimation, the absolute most important retention strategy is to appreciate your people and let them focus on areas they find most interesting. A fulfilled and appreciated employee will work longer hours for less money simply because they are HAPPY. Every other factor pales by comparison.
PS: I’m not talking about faking it. The gratitude has to be heartfelt.
Bonnie Siegel says
Thanks for the note. I agree that keeping your staff “happy” can certainly help with retention. I think another reason why people stay in a job is that they like their BOSS, even when the work and the job are less than perfect. I have also heard of many candidates who have left when a favorite boss leaves the company and in some situations follow that leader to another organization.