5 Keys to Attract and Retain Top Engineers

An Allegis Group survey uncovered a remarkable statistic—100% of companies that hire engineers cited “attracting top talent” as an issue for their organization. Even given today’s tight talent market, this is significantly higher than the 84% of employers hiring for other positions.

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How do hiring managers navigate this challenging situation? It begins with an employee value proposition (EVP) that appeals to jobseekers but, more importantly, incorporates the specific reasons engineers should choose your organization.

Although engineers, like everyone, are motivated by high pay and top-notch benefits, you’ll have to offer more than that if you want to stand out from the other offers they could be receiving at the same time. Many engineers like the idea of working for a global titan, but you don’t have to be a household name to attract top-quality engineers.

Although each engineer offers uniquely valuable knowledge, skills, and experience, there tends to be several characteristics engineers have in common. They are curious. They like to examine ideas and develop theories and explanations. They enjoy discovering how things work, solving problems, and finding ways to improve products and processes.

Knowing this, what tactics can you use that will resonate with the engineers you’re recruiting?

Present Your EVP

When you first meet with a jobseeker, it’s crucial to quickly gain a solid understanding of the candidate’s skills, wants, and interests and to demonstrate in concrete ways how the company’s mission, work, and environment will meet their goals. In the course of the interview process, seek to uncover what motivates and inspires your candidates.

Make sure that your recruiters have a solid grasp of the company’s EVP and can be specific about the ways the organization acknowledges and rewards its strong performers. Get the candidate excited about the prospect of working for your company.

What’s more important than ever these days is to maintain a sense of urgency throughout the recruitment process, as he or she is likely in discussions with other employers at the same time.

Once your chosen candidate is hired and fully onboarded, you must make sure you’re delivering on the promises you made during the recruitment process, but that’s not all. You must keep them engaged and involved in forging a career path that will ensure their needs are met. While ensuring that their work product and performance meet your organization’s standards and goals, you should look to what engineers are likely to value and appreciate in the workplace.

Creating Employee Satisfaction Among Engineers

Many engineers appreciate recognition for using their imagination to innovate and make product and process improvements and to better the industry they are in—or even the world.  Many want to work through complex problems and challenges—and to do so without the hassle of common operational and business challenges.

5 Keys to Engaging Engineers

  • Challenging work
    • Provide challenging and innovative projects.
    • Empower them to innovate.
  • Autonomy
    • Provide a sense of ownership over projects.
    • Offer influence over decision-making.
  • Training
    • Provide access to training and career development.
    • Provide opportunities to learn from, teach, and present to others.
    • Encourage rotational assignments and cross-platform collaboration.
  • Access
    • Provide contact with leadership outside the chain of command.
    • Offer opportunities to represent the company in industry/trade events.
  • Recognition
    • Incorporate two-way performance feedback.
    • Offer rewards for innovation and achievements.
    • Ensure they know they have a future with you.

These are all ways to motivate your engineers and meet their needs at the same time your organization is helping to build a strong and inventive workforce.

This approach can yield dividends far beyond your current employees and benefit your EVP to help attract new talent. When you appeal specifically to the factors that really carry weight with engineers, you can do a better job of showcasing your company and opportunity.

Building on a Foundation of Success

Gaining a solid reputation for hiring and empowering the best engineers at your organization will spur employee referrals and create networks across the board that will help keep your pipeline full, continuing to benefit your organization into the future.

Brooks Wells is the Executive Director at EASi.

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