It takes a special kind of person to work in the health IT world. To be successful in the field requires a unique balance of empathy and the drive to keep up with the fast-paced world of technology.
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The perks and benefits that motivate health IT employees are often different from the perks and benefits other employees look for. In order to attract and retain top health tech talent, it's important to learn what makes them tick – and what keeps them motivated to walk the demanding and rewarding health IT career path.
Recently, my company, HealthITJobs.com, released the 2016 Healthcare Information Technology Salary Report. The report shares the most recent survey data regarding benefits and satisfaction in the health IT community. These insights can help employers and HR pros better understand what drives health IT employee satisfaction.
Here are four things you need to do to keep the health industry's tech talent happy:
1. Let Them Do What They Do Best
The majority of our survey respondents (79 percent) said they are either very satisfied or satisfied with their current job. Most are happy with their current roles because they have the opportunity to make a difference.
Giving health IT employees work that they're proud of makes them more loyal. In fact, a study published in Global Business Review in April 2016 looked at 480 IT professionals across India and found that transformational leadership combined with meaningful work improved commitment to the organization and employee performance. In addition, a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2016 found that 88 percent of those who say they will stay with their employer for more than five years feel a sense of purpose.
Have discussions with employees about what they feel they do best and look for ways to help them continuously leverage those skills. Track employees' industry-specific skills and more general soft skills, and then assign responsibilities accordingly. That way, employees will know they are using their strengths and that their capabilities are being acknowledged.
2. Feed Their Hunger for Knowledge
For many health IT employees, the opportunity to learn new skills is a major contributor to job satisfaction. Help employees keep up with the newest and most exciting technologies and tactics by creating learning opportunities for them.
Also, remember that health IT pros have an interest in a variety of topics – even some unrelated to their jobs. Encourage your employees to take advantage of free online learning websites that teach everything from coding skills to new languages. Providing employees access to these opportunities will help them quench their thirst for knowledge.
3. Remember That Money Talks
Perks, benefits, and meaningful work are important drivers of employee satisfaction, but the truth is, most people work to support themselves and their families. Salary and income potential mean a lot.
In a 2015 Indeed survey of employees across industries, 77 percent said they would be attracted to a new job if it paid more. Compared to the general employee population, a smaller percentage of health IT employees were motivated by higher income.
While this doesn't mean money is unimportant to health IT employees, it does point to the growing availability of competitive pay packages. In order to set yourself apart from other well-paying organizations in the field, you need to zero in on other forms of compensation employees value.
The HealthITJobs.com survey found that health IT professionals care most about benefits such as 401(k)s, paid vacation, and working from home. Like competitive compensation, paid vacations and 401(k)s are becoming standard for permanent health IT jobs. On the other hand, only 24 percent of the professionals surveyed by HealthITJobs.com said their current employer allows them to work remotely. Adding remote work opportunities to your compensation package could be what draws in and retains the industry's top talent.
4. Focus on What's Next
For an industry that's so focused on what's next, the future of health IT pros' careers often gets lost in the shuffle. In fact, a 2015 Saba survey found that while 60 percent of HR professionals believe their company creates clear career advancement paths, only 36 percent of employees agree.
Having open and honest discussions about career paths with health IT employees will improve employee satisfaction. According to our survey, an overwhelming 40 percent of health IT professionals say they will likely change jobs in the next year. Discuss with employees the opportunities they are looking for from their ideal employer. Explain the advancement potential at your organization and how you can help them reach their individual career goals. That way, both employees and employers can be confident that they have a long, happy relationship ahead of them.
Tim Cannon is the vice president of product management and marketing at HealthITJobs.com, a free job search resource that provides health IT professionals access to nearly 2,000 industry jobs. Connect with Tim and HealthITJobs.com on LinkedIn.