You’ve probably seen the news headlines, all telling variations of the same good news:
Last year was the best year for employment and hiring since 1999. This year will be an even better year for hiring than 2014. The economy is nearly back to full strength. And so on and so forth . . .
This is good news for civil engineering companies, all of which are looking to achieve healthy growth and profits in 2015. However, there’s a “flip side” to this equation, the consequences of which could potentially sabotage these plans for growth and prosperity.
With a better economy come more employment opportunities and more workers who make the decision to leave their current company for “greener pastures.” Make no mistake about it: top candidates in the field of civil engineering are viewing the economy differently then they did a year ago. Specifically, they’re thinking about career advancement, and they’re certainly open to the idea of advancing their career with a new employer.
So—how can you prevent your best employees from exploring other opportunities by offering them the advancement that they’re seeking? The first thing to do is ask yourself the following four crucial questions about your company’s retention efforts:
#1—Do we have a path for professional growth?
Are you encouraging our engineers to participate in professional societies? (Okay, that’s two questions and not one, but they both speak to the same issue.) If employees can’t see a definite path for professional growth within your company, they won’t be able to envision themselves working there for much longer.
#2—Are we changing our workplace to reflect the changing needs of our employee base?
The first step is to identify those changing needs, which in today’s market include job sharing and telecommuting. With resources such as Skype and GoToMeeting, it’s becoming easier to get the team together for quick meetings. Employees value these resources and the flexibility that they offer.
#3—Do we offer the benefits that are important to our team?
Sometimes, the benefits that seem important to the more senior staff members are not as important to the Millennials and Generation X members—or important at all. If you’re not making sure that what you offer is in line with what your employees actually want, then you’re at risk for those employees leaving.
#4—Are we tracking statistics on employee turnover?
As the saying goes, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. During the Great Recession, it wasn’t as important for managers to effectively motivate their staff. That’s because employees were gritting their teeth, happy just to have a job. That time has now passed. These days, if you’re not effectively managing and motivating your best employees, those employees are going to leave.
When is the best time to pay attention your company’s retention programs? NOW is the best time! Actually, you should always be paying attention to these programs. That’s because, by its very nature, employee retention is a pro-active process. If you wait until your best employees submit their two-week notice, then it’s already too late.
And that is definitely not good news.