The Engineering Industry Is Struggling To Retain People – Here’s Why Your Workers Need Regular Training and Motivation

Through Joanne o’donnell, HR Manager at HTL Group.

Retention of staff is one of the main concerns for businesses in the UK. Following the pandemic, demand for workers continues to break new records. According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 1,172,000 job vacancies in the UK between August and October 2021.

In the engineering sector, this increased demand has created competition for the workforce. It even means that some workers are likely to change jobs for new opportunities that their current employer does not offer. In fact, 24 percent of workers plan to change employers in the next few months, according to a survey by recruitment firm Randstad UK.

As the UK nurtures its ‘build back better’ ambitions, construction and engineering are essential to spur an improving economy. Engineering roles in the oil, gas and renewable energy sector will be critical to economic recovery. Training for these roles could come from within.

In a competitive arena for engineers, construction and service companies can struggle to retain even their most loyal staff. Here, we explore the real impact of poor staff retention and why regular training and effective motivation are essential to navigate your engineering business through worker shortage.

The real impact of resignation

A staff resignation is always disappointing. While we may be happy that individuals find new opportunities, the impact of leaving can extend well beyond their last day.

Financially, retaining staff for as long as possible is essential. According to research from Oxford Economics and Unum, workers earning £ 25,000 or more per year cost companies an average of £ 30,614 to replace. Losing four employees in one year can cost more than £ 120,000.

The majority of these costs come from onboarding, training and reduced productivity of new staff. But that money could have been invested in training and developing existing staff members to ensure they will remain a valuable part of the business.

Training and motivation

Employees want to learn, and most want to learn for the benefit of their business. According to SurveyMonkey, 86 percent of workers say job training is important to them. The motivation for developing skills is improving productivity and morale. 59 percent of workers say it would improve their job performance and 51 percent think it would give them more self-confidence as well.

Engineering is an industry that values ​​education and training, with professional qualifications meaning that staff can continually add skills and competencies to their long list of qualities.

These statistics prove that the staff appreciate their work and wish to continually improve in their profession. For workers who are already qualified, additional training can help their development and lead to increased loyalty.

Building skills, whether it’s bolt tensioner operation in construction and engineering, or minor team building activities, can help retain staff. Even then, soft skills are essential to promote collaboration and a positive work culture.

In a LinkedIn survey of 2,000 business leaders, 57% said soft skills are essential for staff development. Improving the employee experience should also be a priority, with growth opportunities identified as the means to achieve this.

Engineering companies such as the HTL Group continuously train staff and support the next generation of engineers. Training courses such as mechanical seal integrity and renewable technology are essential to broaden the experiences of workers and technical specialists.

Together, training and skills development help to retain engineering staff. A learning report from LinkedIn found that 94 percent of employees would stay with a company longer if it invested in developing their careers. Giving engineers access to development means they won’t look elsewhere for the same opportunity.

A positive culture

When looking for a job, 72 percent of workers say that company culture affects their decision to work for a company. For those leaving a job, 32 percent also cited company culture as the reason.

The key to boosting motivation at work is culture, and this can be an easy fix. For many engineers, working from home was not possible given the nature of the job. But flexibility in other aspects should always be taken into account, and workers now expect companies to offer it as standard. 88 percent of workers want flexibility in hours and place of work. Employees now prioritize family and lifestyles over harsh work environments – and after the year has passed, who can blame them? Engineers may appreciate sabbaticals or work hours that suit their individual needs.

However, motivation to work can also come from professional results. It is better for 86% of workers to prioritize results over production, which means engineers can be more motivated to work when they recognize the impact of what they provide for a business.

Essentially, flexibility and the way work is measured should be changed to keep staff motivated. Prioritizing how your staff feel will inevitably help to retain their loyalty and effort.

Retaining employees in the engineering industry is becoming difficult in the work landscape. While the impact of resignation can be damaging to businesses, by training and rethinking how to motivate staff, a construction and engineering company can be successful in maintaining the skills and loyalty of its best workers.


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