What motivates engineers?

Dec 17, 2021

What motivates engineers?

From IT to Manufacturing, for many businesses their teams of engineers are their lifeblood. However, keeping engineers happy and motivated is not always the simplest feat. Especially during a skills shortage (https://www.twinfm.com/article/fm-careers-the-engineering-skills-shortage ) which is resulting in employers increasingly trying to out-offer one another in order to poach top talent.

While monetary remuneration is always going to be a big draw when it comes to recruitment. It is important to remember that engineers study for years to get into the profession due to a passion for the subject itself. This means that if you can keep your engineers happy and motivated in their day-to-day job, they are far less likely to start looking elsewhere. But just what exactly is it that motivates engineers to get up in the morning?

Autonomy to solve problems

At its very core engineering is about finding elegant solutions to complex problems. Whether that’s building a bridge or optimising a computer network, engineers relish being given the time and resources to create solutions. However, they also want the freedom to choose how they approach these problems, and do not appreciate feeling stifled by rigid working practices or overbearing control from above.

They want a feeling of ownership over the projects they work on, give them the freedom to make small decisions and the ability to influence senior decision makers.

Challenge

Few people like to feel like each and every working day is the same. But this is especially true of engineers, if after a year or two an engineer feels like the challenge of their role has dissipated and it has become a little stale, it won’t be long until they start looking for another job that can better test their willpower.

Equally, no one likes to feel like they’re treading water to keep their head above an impossible workload. Managers then need to strike a fine balance between giving their engineers sufficient challenge to stay motivated, while also not overloading them with work. The secret to finding this balance? Communication.

When engineers have consistent, open, dialogue with their senior team they can report exactly how they’re feeling regarding various projects: you’ll know when they’re hankering for a challenge, and also when you need to ease off in order to help them achieve what they need to do.

Opportunity to learn

Whether they qualify as an engineer at university, or they complete a Higher Engineering Apprenticeship it takes around four years to get certified and can take even longer for some specialisations. Yet even after becoming certified, engineers are always looking for the opportunity to learn new skills and expertise.

The beauty of technology is the fact it is always changing, there will always be new and better ways to do things, and your engineers too will appreciate the ability to adapt with it. Providing continuous opportunities to learn new skills and develop further will not only stop engineers from looking elsewhere, but it will also make them better at their jobs and ultimately benefit your business just as much as them.

Development

The number one reason why people leave a job is that there are better opportunities elsewhere, not necessarily better paid, but ones that move them up the ladder. This can be especially true of engineers. Engineering is a rigorously demanding role that requires a lot of dedication, in their very nature then engineers are highly motivated people, and you need to be able to match their motivation.

If an engineer is approached by a competitor who can offer them a more senior role, you’re unlikely to be able to get them to stay with you, unless you can match their offer. But what you can do is provide your engineers with a clear career development path, this cements in the mind the track they are on, and combats that ‘stuck in a rut’ feeling which leads to people looking for other jobs.

Looking for an engineering recruitment partner?

Hunter Selection is the UK’s leading specialist recruitment service for the Engineering, Manufacturing, Service and Technology sectors. With expert teams working in specific industries, our dedicated consultants can advise you and find the right engineers for the job. Click here to find out more. https://www.hunterselection.co.uk/sectors/engineering/