5 Tricks to keep your Engineers happy and engaged

5 Tricks to keep your Engineers happy and engaged

Regardless of whatever field of engineering you operate in, the reputation of your establishment or organization rests largely on your capacity to get things done in a timely fashion and to spec.

Making sure that projects keep to the schedule, especially in the face of uncontrollable changes, additions, as well as delays is by far a project manager’s biggest and most multifaceted task. For a project to be completed successfully, the engineers working on the project must remain happy and engaged, otherwise, you risk failing. But keeping engineers happy and engaged is easier said than done, but it’s also simpler than most people assume.

The importance of keeping employees happy cannot be understated, particularly for smaller teams. Losing vital technical employees as a result of discontentment can be a serious blow not only to the product development process but to an organization’s overall domain knowledge, as well as the morale of the rest of the technical team.

When engineers are managed correctly, they are happier, more productive, and likely to go above and beyond the call of duty. As a manager, it is your responsibility to directly support the individuals on your team.

It’s also your job to execute and coordinate everything across teams. You must do this while simultaneously observing from a distance so that the broader organization, as well as the associated processes, can expand as the company grows

This may sound simple and straightforward. However, managing a team, particularly of engineers, comes with its own densities and challenges that must be addressed for success to be experienced. To boil things down, here are 5 tricks and tips to keep your engineers happy and engaged:

Consider gamification seriously

Gamification is becoming more and more popular in the engineering world. Gamification plays on the mindset that drives human engagement. When you introduce games at the workplace, research has shown that employees are more engaged, creative, and loyal to an establishment.

Adding something as simple as a ping pong table, Foosball, Monopoly, Giant Jenga and more to the breakroom may not seem like a huge deal to a manager. But it goes a long way in proving to the team members that they are cared for and valued. By adding various fun elements to the workplace, gamification can make work feel more exciting and rewarding, which is exactly what you need for your engineering team to stay happy.

Optimize work-life balance

The last thing you want for your team members is for them to feel as though they don’t have any time to rest or relax. When your engineers are muddled by tight deadlines, it only causes them to feel more fatigued, stressed, and frustrated, which is bound to affect the quality of work produced.

Work-life conflict occurs when the demands of work and home life become overbearing, in tension or otherwise become incompatible to the extent that engaging in one can make the other feel more challenging than it should.

A work-life balance can be hard for employees to attain and yet it is one of the most important ways to measure employee happiness. When employees are burdened by a work-life conflict, they are generally less engaged, less committed, and less productive. As such, finding a way to ensure that your employees don’t get burnt out is critical.

Increase self-sufficiency and ownership

A need for self-sufficiency isn’t unique to engineers but to all employees in general. If you are failing to fulfill this need, then you may be missing out on a big component of what attracts and retains a good team of engineers. A strong sense of self-sufficiency and freedom to select how to deal with problems, is essentially what all great engineers want.

Therefore, if you are forcing your engineers to stick to a strict 8-5 schedule, you may be restricting your employees’ levels of creativity and inspiration. The best thing that you can do for your engineers is to create a result driven culture. Giving your team the freedom to operate anywhere, at any time as long as results are produced is what will keep them happy and involved.

Offer flexible opportunities for career growth

It may seem intuitive to give your engineers big promotions but if these promotions cut into their development time or creative processes, it may actually create an unhappy workforce instead of a happy one. If you ask around, you’ll discover quickly that a lot of the best engineers, with a few exceptions, aren’t interested in traditional leadership roles.

This is because they simply don’t want to lead or manage others. Instead, they want opportunities to keep expanding their knowledge so that they can keep creating greatness. This doesn’t mean that engineers don’t want promotions, its just that your idea of a perfect opportunity may look a lot different than you would anticipate.

Rather than merely offering promotions, give your employees the room and support they need to grow. Don’t force your engineers from the technical and creative process unless you are sure that is the path one wants or hopes to take.

Give them access to modern tools

Know of any doctors that are willing to work with a broken stethoscope? Similarly, you cannot expect your team to produce stellar results if all you’ve given them access to are rudimentary or old tools. Most, if not all engineers love playing with new gadgets and tools, particularly if these tools can improve their workmanship and creative process.

If you can, give leeway to your engineers to select the type of tools that they would want to incorporate in their daily operations. As long as the tools that you supply allow them to get the job done as effectively as possible, then you shouldn’t have any problems with an unhappy team.

Final Thoughts

Today, engineers and employees, in general, want a lot more than just a good salary and benefits.  Sure, a good salary and the standard perks do go a long way in helping to keep employees happy and motivated.

However, to retain engineers that are loyal and engaged in the long term, you’ll want to do everything possible to build a work culture that offers intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivators.

Hopefully, these tips shared above should help you keep your team both happy and engaged. The good news is that these tips are easy to implement and can work in any dynamic organization.

As such, whether you are an experienced manager that has been at it for some time now or are an engineer that’s been promoted to a management or leadership role, these tricks will help you deliver a successful engineering project.