An engineer can represent a significant investment for a company. The resources needed to source, recruit, train and pay a competitive salary to an in-demand professional can pile up. Such an outlay is only exacerbated by excessive turnover, making employee retention a priority for any company employing engineers.
One of the most important parts of any retention strategy is to understand the reasons why employees are so willing to jump ship. Here are a few common problems:
Lack of big-picture vision
It’s easy to get worn down by routine — there’s a reason “the daily grind” is a euphemism for going to work. Once an employee’s financial needs are comfortably satisfied, they begin to prioritize other factors when examining job satisfaction. People like to feel that their job is important, both to the company and within the context of the larger society. They don’t have to be convinced that what they’re doing is their life’s one and only true calling, but they want to know that they’re making a difference, on some level. Failure to articulate this inclusive version of your company’s vision leaves workers thinking of their positions in more blunt terms: just a job.
Often, people become engineers because they love learning how things work, getting their hands dirty and solving problems. A conflict arises when an engineer values active work, out “in the field” or “on the floor,” over the desk work desired by an employer that receives more economic value from accessing the information learned in the course of their education and years of experience. People will often pass up a better salary or benefits package for a position where they feel challenged and motivated. Communicate with employees to find a compromise that allows your company to get what it needs while still offering engaging work.
No opportunities for advancement
With fewer and fewer jobs turning into lifelong careers, workers are increasingly willing to hop from job to job every few years, willing to make a sideways move if their new company has a reputation for promoting from within. Don’t expect talented, ambitious employees to stick around if all you can offer them is a career dead-end with only a meager cost-of-living adjustment on the horizon.
If you need expert help attracting or retaining talented engineering employees, consider TERRA Staffing. We maintain eight offices in three states, and can offer decades of employment expertise. Talk with a staffing professional today to learn how we can help you grow your business.