Employee retention and staff longevity play a crucial role in the success and growth of organisations. Retaining talented and experienced employees not only saves time and money but is also proven to increase a company’s productivity, consumer review ratings and its industry presence and market share.
In this blog, we explore the significance of staff longevity in an increasingly complex workplace context, and why and how companies like JN Engineering invest in their employees to ensure their long-term contentment, satisfaction and commitment.
The Importance of Staff Longevity in Engineering
The field of engineering has witnessed significant advancements over recent years, especially in technology. While the fundamental principles of engineering remain the same, the introduction of computer technology and specialised software has created a new paradigm for the way engineers carry out their work. Technological advancements have greatly enhanced productivity and efficiency in designing and preparing detailed engineering drawings. However, the consequence of this progress is the increased expectation for projects to be completed within shorter time frames, with the pressure on employees to work at the pace and efficiency of their non-human counterparts.
Retaining employees for extended periods brings numerous advantages, particularly in STEM industries. In the highly competitive engineering industry, staff longevity plays a significant role in a firm’s success. First, long-tenured employees develop a deep understanding of the company’s operations, protocols and resources. This accumulated knowledge is invaluable and greatly contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of an individual’s work within a specific workplace. Additionally, long-term employees build strong relationships with clients, suppliers and other stakeholders and a greater understanding of their needs, which optimises business opportunities, work efficiency and client satisfaction.
Moreover, staff longevity contributes to a positive company culture. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work. This leads to higher productivity and better outcomes for the business overall. Conversely, high turnover rates can be detrimental to an engineering firm, as they result in a loss of sum total skill and knowledge in the company, increased recruitment costs and potential impacts on the firm’s reputation. Therefore, it is essential for engineering firms to prioritise employee retention and create an environment that fosters staff longevity.
Engineering in Australia: Challenges and Opportunities
Engineering is a vital industry in Australia, playing a crucial role in infrastructure development, resource extraction and technological innovation. However, the engineering sector faces several challenges that impact employee retention. One of the main challenges is the shortage of skilled engineers. As demand continues to grow, there is a limited pool of qualified professionals available, leading to fierce competition among firms to attract and retain talent. Engineers Australia reported a 22 per cent increase in engineering vacancies in 2022, making engineering one of the professions with the strongest demand in Australia.
Additionally, the engineering industry in Australia is highly project-based, with many firms relying on short-term contracts and project work. This can create uncertainty and instability for employees, leading to a higher turnover rate. Furthermore, the industry is constantly evolving, with advancements in technology and changes in regulatory frameworks. Employees need to continuously upskill and adapt to these changes, which can be demanding and stressful.
Despite these challenges, JN have recognised the need to step up and create an environment of continuous recognition for contributions made as well as promoting tailored personal development. JN have pivoted to focus on numerous opportunities for growth and development. Growing infrastructure needs and focus on renewable energy provide a fertile ground for engineering firms such as JN to thrive. By capitalising on these opportunities and implementing effective employee retention strategies, JN plan to overcome challenges and create a workplace that is fertile ground in which its employees can thrive, grow and choose to remain.
Employee Retention Strategies: Best Practice
Implementing effective employee retention strategies is essential for engineering firms to succeed in the highly competitive industry. Here are some best practices and tips to help staff longevity:
- Understand the working culture in Australia
Australia has a positive working culture characterised by a focus on work-life balance, equality and respect. Understanding and embracing these cultural norms is essential for creating a positive work environment that attracts and retains employees.
- Prioritise job satisfaction
Engineers are driven by their passion for problem-solving and making an impact. Firms should provide challenging and meaningful work that allows employees to actualise a contribution to the firm, the client, and even broader society. Regular feedback and recognition are also crucial in ensuring job satisfaction.
- Implement retention theory
Retention theory emphasises the importance of creating a supportive work environment that meets employees’ needs for autonomy, competence and connectedness. By fostering a sense of belonging and providing opportunities for growth, firms can enhance employee satisfaction and retention.
- Offer competitive compensation and benefits
Competitive compensation and benefits packages are essential for attracting and retaining top engineering talent. Firms should regularly review their salary structures and benefits to ensure they remain competitive in the market.
- Provide opportunities for growth and development
Engineers are lifelong learners, constantly seeking new challenges and opportunities to expand their skills. Firms should invest in professional development programs, mentorship initiatives and career advancement opportunities to retain their top talent.
- Foster a culture of collaboration and innovation
Creating a culture that promotes collaboration and innovation can greatly contribute to employee satisfaction and retention. Encourage cross-functional teamwork, provide platforms for sharing ideas and best practices, and celebrate successes as a team.
JN have made significant progress in implementing the above and have prioritised staff needs within the firm, continuously seeking feedback from their staff to ensure they keep on track and feel supported and valued.
Here lets look at A Personal Story: Find out why Owen O’Brien, Director & Associate Remedial Engineer has invested over 35 years working at JN Engineering