One of the features in this month's issue of CE News is all about our annual Best Engineering Firms To Work For contest and awards (starts on page 20).
Being a great place to work is more critical today than ever. Even though the recession of 2007-2012 had a devastating effect on many firms in this business, the fact is, truly outstanding people have always been hard to attract and retain. And now, with the economic recovery gaining more momentum, the best people have more options than ever as it relates to where they'll give their energy, hours, heart, and soul (and that's what truly outstanding employees do.)
I like to put myself in the shoes of others every so often. This topic got me thinking about what I would be looking for if I were looking for a job in our business today. Here are some of the things I would be looking for in an employer:
Inspired leadership – Nothing good is going to happen without inspired leadership. This means the person(s) at the top of the organization have a positive, "can-do" attitude, can see where they want to go, aren't selfish, and are working as hard as I am to make good things happen.
Purpose and focus – The organization should have a real purpose and ongoing focus on a worthwhile mission and the role should relate to that. It is critical for me (and others) to be doing something that is worth doing. It's the only way I know to stay motivated. Some see this work as simply good projects whereas others feel the need to be connected with something larger than themselves. Either way, the money or benefits alone will not do it. Good people want to know they are making a difference in others' lives and not wasting their lives on unimportant activities and trivia.
Culture of sharing glory and rewards – Any company that is too ego-driven by the founder/owner is probably not one I would be happy working for. Sometimes this situation is not as readily apparent as one might think. There are plenty of affable, friendly people who seem to be self-effacing but who really own businesses geared solely for their own benefit. These companies tend to not grow because the owners don't want them to and the best employees recognize the situation and leave.
Everyone is different and there are obviously many factors that go into making any one company a Best Firm To Work For. The important thing is what's important to you!
We have another great issue here of CE News for July. We sincerely hope that you enjoy and benefit from it!
Mark C. Zweig