Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Employee Retention

    Posted 08-18-2021 04:21 PM
    I'm wondering if anyone has any insight they'd like to share regarding strategies for employee retention.
    Feel free to use any of the questions below to frame your thoughts:

    -What strategies have you seen successfully used to retain employees?
    -What would make you more likely to stay at a company?
    -If you've left a company, what could they have done differently to keep you? (please no specific company bashing)
    -Are there any well-intentioned strategies that you've seen implemented that seemed to have the opposite effect?

    We've talked about employee satisfaction in my post-graduate studies, but I'm curious to hear from you about your practical experiences with this topic.

    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK

  • 2.  RE: Employee Retention

    Posted 08-23-2021 01:06 PM

    I think this is a heavy topic and I would love to it start off.

    I think that companies should make an effort to make every engineer feel like they are part of the team by giving them an integral role to play. To reinforce this, I would give and like to receive feedback (both positive and negative) from other engineers so that they understand how they are performing and that their performance matters.

    This is one aspect that I enjoy about my current company and why I have been happy here for a little more than a year now.

    Daniel Bressler EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Structural Engineer
    Brooklyn NY

  • 3.  RE: Employee Retention

    Posted 08-23-2021 02:29 PM
    Thanks, Daniel! This is something that was brought up by several groups at our company when we had every employee broken our into small groups to discuss the company and get to know employees from other parts of the company. I know I personally like to know what I'm doing well and where I can focus for improvement.
    One non-engineering way I've tried to help make everyone feel like a part of our group (pre-covid) was baking something for each birthday in our group.

    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK

  • 4.  RE: Employee Retention

    Posted 08-28-2021 06:12 PM
    -What would make you more likely to stay at a company?
    In terms of people, I personally appreciate when people seem to truly hear you and remember things about you. The person who hired me 7 years ago can still tell me what it was about my resume made him think I was a good fit for my role, and he even remembered a few details about my master's research. I have also found that co-workers are more comfortable to be around when they bring up things about their own life that reminds you they are human too, whether it be something about their family or their hobbies. Likewise, it is gratifying when they remember things about your family or things that you like as well.  
    In summary, good relationships are important, which likely isn't a surprise to anyone here.

    In terms of professionalism - having interesting work, being being shown that you have a career path that has opportunities to do new things, grow skills, and expand your responsibilities. Having a manager or other support who wants to help you achieve these things.

    -Are there any well-intentioned strategies that you've seen implemented that seemed to have the opposite effect?
    Not inviting people (who have time) to meetings about tasks that they aren't currently on. I have found that keeping certain meetings only restricted to those who are "need to know" makes junior engineers feel left out and can give the sense that there is only one thing they will ever work on, which is the current thing they are assigned. Expanding discussions about projects or tasks across an entire team can help people remember that they are part of a larger goal and that what they are doing contributes to that. It can also help people stay interested and ask to be involved in other tasks that might need support. This can be tough when time needs to be billed to a project, but having things like weekly team all-hands check-ins can help achieve the desired result.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 5.  RE: Employee Retention

    Posted 09-07-2021 11:50 AM
    I hadn't specifically thought of it in terms of retention, but I definitely agree about including junior engineers in at least some of the project meetings. It is nice to see what your future path could look like by seeing what the project managers or more experienced designers are doing.

    Heidi C. Wallace, P.E., M.ASCE
    Tulsa, OK

  • 6.  RE: Employee Retention

    Posted 10-29-2021 08:30 AM
    Q. "If you've left a company, what could they have done differently to keep you?"

    Hey Heidi, over the years I have learned that the best professionals leave for one or more of the following perceptions:
    a. Lack of recognition;

    b. Lack of challenge; and,

    c. Lack of opportunity.

    The reason I state "Perceptions" is that while upper management will state their org have this, fact is the people are unaware of it,
    i.e., what, when, and how will it be open to them.

    Stay Healthy!


    William M. Hayden Jr., Ph.D., P.E., CMQ/OE, F.ASCE
    Buffalo, N.Y.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot 1819 - 1880

  • 7.  RE: Employee Retention

    Posted 09-12-2021 09:37 PM
    A few things that I am seeing my company is doing it right:
    - "Talk the talk and walk the walk".
    - Treat everyone equally, make sure that every voice is heard. Junior folks are encouraged to speak up and voice their concerns.
    - Ensure a diverse and inclusive working environment. Having employee networks that focus on women, black, Hispanic, LGBTQ+ employees definitely help create a positive working environment and allow everyone to be their true self at work. 
    - Continue winning challenging work and empowering innovation to make day to day work interesting.
    - Make sure everyone has enough support and time to learn to do the work properly especially new hires.  
    - Reward great work timely. No need to wait till the end of year for awards or wait to a certain time frame for promotion.

    Tung Nguyen, PhD
    Water Resources Engineer
    Sacramento, CA