The Best Ways to Retain Engineers: Tips and Tricks

Every company wants their employees to stay with them, and today, engineers are high on the list of employees that companies want to keep. Engineers are in high demand and companies are fighting for top talent.

With the war for talent in full swing, how can you make sure your company is doing everything it can to retain its engineers? Here are some of the best ways to retain engineers and keep them happy at your company.

Flexibility is Key‍

One of the best ways to retain engineers is to offer them flexibility in their work. This could mean allowing them to vary their hours, work remotely for at least a few days a week, or giving them the opportunity to take on new and challenging projects that may not be part of their core job.

Engineers want to feel like they’re able to grow and advance in their careers, so offering opportunities for development is important, but so is feeling like they are maintaining a work-life balance. They also typically prefer a quiet workspace, so if you have an open office environment, offering them remote work may be even more important.

Create Culture Through Collaboration

Creating a culture of collaboration is one of the best ways to retain engineers. When engineers feel like they are part of a team and that their opinions are valued, they are more likely to stick around.

Furthermore, collaboration fosters a sense of ownership and pride in one’s work, which can lead to increased productivity. Like other employees, engineers want to continue to grow and develop their skills, and collaborating on projects is a great way to build their skills and resumé.

Create a Culture of Inclusivity

In order to retain engineers, it is important to create a culture of inclusivity within your company. This means that everyone feels like they belong and are valued. Additionally, fostering a culture of inclusivity can help attract top talent.

While many engineering organizations still have a majority of white, male employees, this makes it even more important that female and BIPOC engineers feel included, welcomed, respected, and that they belong. Of course this is true across your entire company, but there is a particular need in engineering, where underestimated employees have likely already had to fight for their place throughout their careers, and it takes years to cultivate good engineers.‍‍

Gather Feedback From Employees‍

Asking for feedback from employees (and implementing their good suggestions or communicating why you aren’t implementing them) is a great way to retain engineers.

By showing that you care about their opinions and want to improve the workplace, you’ll create a more positive environment that people will want to stay in. Because engineers are focused on how things work, they will often deliver practical, actionable advice that can be invaluable in improving your company across your entire workforce!

Allow Them To Own Their Successes‍

One of the best ways to retain engineers is to allow them to own their successes. When engineers feel like they’re able to contribute and make a difference, they’re more likely to stick around. Giving them ample opportunity to share ideas and lead projects they’re excited about lets them know that you value them. Then, provide ways for their ideas and projects to be recognized, and celebrate their success.

Make sure that the customers at the receiving end of their projects (whether internal or external) have a chance to express gratitude for your engineers’ work, and whenever possible, highlight the direct impact their work has on the project or organization.

Set up Performance Based Reviews‍

If you want to keep your engineers, it’s important to set up performance-based reviews. This way, you can identify areas where your engineers need improvement and work with them to address these issues. Additionally, regular reviews will help keep your engineers on their toes and ensure that they’re meeting your expectations. These reviews are best when combined with peer reviews from the people your engineers work with most closely. Performica’s OrgGraph identifies working relationships based on communication metadata, and automatically solicits peer reviews from an employee’s closest work colleagues.

Reinforce Values in Every Meeting

Your engineers joined your company for a reason in the first place, and compensation is only part of that conversation. Engineers work with companies where they feel appreciated, and feel aligned with the values of their company. A way to make sure employees stay happy is by reinforcing those values in every meeting you have with them. It’s easy enough just to bring up how the latest project reflects their personal philosophy when you know it does, but going out of your way will show them that you care about what they care about. Showing up on time and being respectful are two simple ways you can communicate respect without even saying anything at all; follow through on promises made at meetings; and take ownership for mistakes without blaming others.

Encourage a Sense of Community

When it comes to retaining engineers, one of the most important things you can do is encourage a sense of community. This means creating an environment where engineers feel like they are part of something larger and that their work is valuable. While team-building exercises are a common go-to for companies looking to build community, engineers may find them patronizing or uncomfortable, especially if they are introverts. Make your office and your work community a magnet, not a mandate, and you’ll have much more success creating a community where your engineers want to stay.‍

Give Individual Attention

‍One of the best ways to retain engineers is to give them individual attention. This means making sure they feel like their voices are being heard and that their opinions matter. It also means providing opportunities for them to grow and learn. Showing that you value their contributions will go a long way in keeping them around. Schedule on your calendar when their work anniversary and birthdays are (these are also key points when people tend to consider leaving their jobs!) and sincerely recognize and thank your engineers. Pay attention to the projects they most enjoy working on, and be an advocate for them whether they’re currently in the room or not.

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