The demand for quality Automotive Engineers is at an all-time high. This means such professionals are firmly in the driver’s seat when it comes to where, when and how they work. Many forward-thinking companies recognise the powerful desire for a hybrid working style since the pandemic had everyone working from home and have swiftly adopted the practice.
According to the recent ONS data, 78% of those who worked from home in some capacity said that being able to do this gave them an improved work-life balance in 2022. Hybrid working is proving popular and many employees are making this their top choice.
But in this new working era – where people are no longer in the workplace all the time – it can be challenging to effectively recognise, reward and most importantly, retain hybrid employees. To assist, here are some hybrid employee retention strategies to consider.
Set Up Individual Career Progression Plans
During the pandemic, many businesses had to put their employees’ professional growth on the backburner. It’s no surprise then that 60% of engineers who decided to move jobs did so for the possibility of a new challenge, according to The Engineers Salary Survey 2020/21.
You can avoid this outcome and retain your Automotive Engineers by helping them upskill. This goes beyond being just a CPD box ticking exercise. It should involve developing a career progression plan that’s personal to each individual, as people are more likely to stay with a company that invests in them.
Developing this plan in conjunction with your employees helps to uncover their priorities and desires. You might find the Hardware Engineer who you’ve noticed has a knack for motivating their team would prefer to focus on developing, rather than expanding their leadership abilities. Conversely, you might have a budding Project Manager who is currently working under the guise of a Software Engineer.
Here are some questions to assist you in understanding your employee’s interests and motivations:
What would you like to achieve this year?
What are your career goals for the next two to three years?
What support can we provide to help you hit these goals?
Are there any projects you'd like to implement, develop or join?
Are there any resources or training you’d like to support you in your current duties?
Supercharge Your Recognition and Reward Efforts
Regular recognition is a powerful retention method for hybrid employees and it cannot be stressed enough. It’s a verbal pat on the back and when employers tell their team what’s going wrong to help them learn, they need to tell them what’s going right if they want to motivate and inspire.
According to a recent Gallup/WorkHuman workplace recognition study of thousands of employees across the United States, UK and Ireland:
81% of leaders say recognition is not a major strategic priority
73% of senior leaders say their organisation doesn’t offer managers ‘best practice’ employee recognition training
However, when recognition is given regularly and appropriately:
56% of employees are less likely to look for another role
44% are more likely to say they’re “thriving” in their life overall
Are five times as likely to see a path to grow in their organisation
Interestingly, it appears the global pandemic only intensified employees’ desire for recognition (by almost 30% according to Gartner research). Here are some ways you can boost your recognition efforts for your hybrid employees:
1.Offer written recognition
It’s quite astounding what the words ‘thank you’ can do, especially in written form. Reach out to your valued Engineers via email to acknowledge specific work efforts. You might like to copy in key stakeholders for added exposure. If your company has a weekly or monthly e-newsletter or internal online platform, consider highlighting their efforts here as well.
2.Verbal recognition (virtual and in-person)
In a hybrid working environment, you may not have the opportunity to consistently deliver the recognition employees deserve in person. But the good news is that a virtual delivery is appreciated just as much. While you can recognise employee effort one-on-one, you might also like to do so in a team setting. Invite upper management to join virtual meetings and ask the team to speak about their latest achievements.
With Automotive Engineering salaries increasing by almost 14% from 2019 to 2020, it is no surprise that 62% of respondents in The Engineer's Salary Survey said poor pay was a major factor in changing companies. It is therefore a wise move to ensure your salary packages keep pace with the industry (pro tip: as a specialist Automotive Engineering recruitment agency, we can help.)
4.Benefits and perks
The move to hybrid working has brought with it a shift in benefit preferences. In the Automotive Engineering sector, we have found quality staff are currently prioritising job security. Make it a point to share communications about your company's future pathway with employees to try to alleviate concerns.
Every policy for reward that you put into place will help you to retain your hybrid workforce. In a talent-tight market, retention is key if you want to keep your team members from finding a better offer elsewhere.
The final trick to retaining Automotive Engineers is understanding what they value most. Seek feedback about employee satisfaction consistently through online surveys that they can access at home. You can make it anonymous if you feel it will garner honest responses.
Once you have the feedback, action what you can and communicate the adjustments you've made. This builds trust with employees, clearly showing you are willing to action their advice, creating greater levels of engagement which naturally lead to greater retention.
If you would like some assistance in crafting your employee satisfaction surveys, or further ideas about how to retain hybrid employees, be sure to let us know. The recent explosion of hybrid Automotive Engineering jobs means we are well-versed in understanding what top Automotive talent want, as well as what it takes to get them to stay.