One of the many effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a dramatic shift in the way people approach their professional careers. Rather than suffering in silence, those who don’t feel fulfilled are running toward the exit, in record numbers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “the number of Americans quitting their jobs in any given month hovers near all-time highs, and job openings across the country hover around 10 million” (The Business Journal). In November of 2021, a record 3.5 million resignations were reported, with healthcare being one of the hardest hit industries.
This comes as no surprise to CIOs and other leaders, many of whom are scrambling to recruit and retain top talent. With tight margins to consider, competing with tech and other lucrative verticals is out of the question, prompting more organizations to rely on hybrid and remote work models as an incentive.
With these new models, however, comes a new set of challenges – one of which is ensuring teams are utilizing PTO and taking time to recharge. This, as many employers are finding, is easier said than done. According to a survey by software firm Skynova, despite the fact that nearly 39 percent of employers have increased the amount of PTO offered, the majority (around 64 percent) of employees say they “sometimes or often avoid taking time off because they feel they are unable to do so.”
The result is a disconnect that has left many feeling frustrated, to put it mildly. For healthcare leaders, it has upped the ante when it comes to ensuring IT, clinical, and security staff are able to maintain balance in their lives.
The big question, of course, is how? To that end, healthsystemCIO reached out to a handful of influential leaders to get their thoughts on how they’re addressing these challenges. Previously, we’ve heard from Aaron Miri, Nicholas Szymanski, and Kate Pierce.
In this installment, Craig Richardville, chief digital and information officer at Intermountain Healthcare, shares his perspective.
When you take time off, are you able to disconnect completely, or do you tend to check in?
I check in. There’s a throttle; I feel that I am able to turn it down a lot, but not completely off, and yet still re-energize myself. Some can do the same, but others have the desire or need, and the ability to disconnect completely. It is important to be aware of the differences in how your team members strike the work/life balance and to respect and honor those differences.
Have your habits changed since Covid – and the ensuing spike in hybrid/remote work models? If so, how?
Everyone has had the ability to rethink their bias. For certain positions, many of us – myself included – are able to lean more toward flexibility and allow each individual to make the decision that is best for them, at that time, knowing it can change. There are also certain times, regardless of the position, where in-person is best, and so the understanding needs to be mutual. In our industry, some positions don’t have that flexibility, and so, we need our services to ensure there is no compromise of location when it comes to what’s best for our caregivers and patients.
Do you encourage your team to disconnect on vacation, or does it depend on the situation?
Every person has the ability to disconnect in their own way. As leaders, it is important to understand those differences and respect them in a personalized manner. I always encourage caregivers and let them decide how to take care of themselves and their family, and strike the work/life balance that is best for them and for their loved ones.