There’s no doubt about it, CIOs are on the go.
With mergers and acquisitions occurring with alarming frequency and outlets like LinkedIn facilitating the networking process, job switches among healthcare IT leaders have become the norm. According to the January healthsystemCIO.com SnapSurvey, 25 percent of respondents made a career change in the past year, and of those who didn’t, 39 percent are considering a move.
“The reality is at most organizations these days, you always have to consider it,” said one respondent.
And in fact, even those who aren’t actively seeking a new job are keeping their options open, with 89 percent saying they participate in professional organizations/networking events, 61 percent keeping an updated LinkedIn profile, and 36 percent pursuing further education or certifications.
When it comes to the ‘why,’ reasons vary, with nearly 30 percent citing the need for a new challenge, and 25 percent chalking it up to frustration with their current organization. Another common motivation, not surprisingly, is merger anxiety, with several CIOs expressing concern about job satisfaction and even stability following an acquisition.
One respondent recently experienced a role change that no longer leaves him feeling “valued or productive.” Another said that a recent merger “moved much of the decision making into a larger central office,” which “limits my ability to impact decisions that have a major impact on my business partners and has become frustrating.”
The good news is that for some, deciding to leave an organization during turbulent times can lead to a better opportunity. For one CIO, walking away from a long-term role turned out to be “the best thing for me personally and professionally.”
This, unfortunately, isn’t always the case, according to a number of respondents, who warned their colleagues not to fall for the “grass is greener” trap. One wrote, “Do not expect a difference place to be better,” and another said, “Be prepared for wherever you land, good or bad.” Other pieces of advice included “don’t carry your preconceptions with you” and “Be true to yourself.”
Those who are fortunate enough to land a new position should be ready to roll up their sleeves and work, and be aware that adapting to a new culture will most likely be the biggest hurdle. But with great effort can come great reward, according to one respondent, who said, “I had to change the culture, establish relationships, and set a baseline and goals that would support the new strategy. It has been a very challenging and rewarding endeavor.”
(SnapSurveys are answered by the healthsystemCIO.com CIO Advisory Panel. To go directly to a full-size version of any individual chart, click on that chart.)
- Have you made a career change in the past year?
- After many years as a CIO in the health system environment, I’m working with healthcare startups trying to navigate that world for the first time.
- Previous position was not what was expected and too far from my family base.
- Went from being a self-employed consultant to a full-time CIO.
- Just outside of that — 1.5 years ago.
- If not, are you considering a career change?
- Thinking of making an additional change to go out on my own.
- The reality is at most organizations these days, you always have to consider it.
- I am planning a change and am actively looking. Following a merger, my role has changed and I no longer feel valued and productive in my new role.
- Merger potential will make this a possibility that may have to be considered.
- I always keep an open mind to potential for change. I am happy at my current location so it allows me to be extremely selective
- Which of the following factors have played a key role in your decision to seek a career change?
Better compensation/benefits package
Need for a new challenge
- A recent merger has moved much of the decision making into a larger central office. This limits my ability to impact decisions that have a major impact on my business partners and has become frustrating.
Frustration with current organization
- I left an organization after 22 years due to massive changes in leadership. It was the best thing for me personally and professionally.
Lack of respect & disregard for IT professionals.
Burnout/poor work-life balance
- Considering and seeking are two different things. I’m considering — not seeking. The normal program is to have your ideas for next step and options available if you need to pursue them.
- Hospital is merging with another and the future is uncertain.
Desire to relocate to different geographical area
- Merger activity.
- Pending merger.
- Desire to be closer to family. My previous position did not turn out as advertised and there were several commitments that were not honored. Four months into my new position I LOVE the new organization, leadership, and location. I’m 2 hours from my grandchildren and see them on weekends, as opposed to occasional holidays.
- In your experience, what has been the most significant challenge in taking on a new role?
Adapting to a new culture
- Cultural fit will be a major factor in my decision to join a new employer.
Developing and implementing a new strategy
- Learning how to connect a young technical workforce to healthcare; being creative with resources while ramping revenue.
- I knew coming in there was a leadership void but my CEO also recognized the issue and is extremely supportive.
- My last job was my first health IT CIO title (although I had many years as a Director-level), and it was the stuff nightmares are made of: An Old Boys Club running the hospital, unfair practices, historical hatred of the IS Department, hatred for the EMR selected by the previous guy who sat in my seat, deep financial troubles, and all-around unprofessional behaviors at the top level of the organization. I am happy to have left that behind and love the job I have now. Sometimes the “greener pasture” isn’t.
Quality of the organization
- I left a large organization that had very siloed approaches to support. When I become the CIO at a smaller location you are expected to cover everything, which was reminiscent of my earlier career. I had to change the culture, establish relationships, and set a baseline and goals that would support the new strategy. It has been a very challenging and rewarding endeavor.
- No real challenges. I have been comfortable in adapting into my new role.
- Which step(s) are you currently taking to help boost your career?
Staying active on LinkedIn
Participating in professional organizations/networking
Working with recruiters
- Working to fulfill my mission at this new position.
- Sharing knowledge with others
- Teaching part-time at local university to expand skills.
- Getting another graduate degree in “start-up!”
- Developing my team and succession plan.
- Making an impact at my current employer including taking on add responsibilities.
- Is there any advice you would offer to those looking to make the leap?
- Be prepared for wherever you land, good or bad.
- Network, network, network.
- Don’t wait until it’s too late and you HAVE to leap!
- Don’t react and move the right reasons.
- Know yourself.
- Be willing to learn from failure.
- Don’t carry your preconceptions with you.
- Get outside your comfort zone and push yourself.
- Do not expect a different place to be better.
- Be true to yourself, understand what you want.
- If it feels right, do it.
- Be careful what you wish for.