Change Country

Architecture & Engineering Firms

A&E Recruiting & Retention Secrets

Posted on November 3, 2021 by

Kevin Johns

Kevin Johns

Share This

Employee attraction and retention is a vital competitive factor for architecture and engineering (A&E) firms. Beyond the obvious price and technical considerations, success on any project really comes down to the skill and judgment of the people who are going to execute it.

When a client entrusts precious capital dollars to an A&E firm, it’s more than just a transaction. To a large extent, they’re staking their own career and reputation on that firm’s ability to bring the project in on time and on budget. They want assurance that your team can not only do the job, but also guide them safely through unforeseen events.

This market reality puts effective employee recruiting and retention high on any A&E executive’s priority list.

Defining the ideal team for your organization

It goes without saying that you have to know what you want to get what you want. Professional skill and relevant work experience alone aren’t enough. An important first step in winning the talent game is to get clear on additional attributes that an ideal employee would bring to your organization.

  1. Are they creative problem solvers?
  2. Do they have a growth mindset (for themselves and the firm)?
  3. Can they grasp the greater business context of the job they perform?
  4. Do they have the requisite people skills to bring out the best in others?
  5. Have they developed the resilience to thrive through change?

Having transparent conversations– not only with your hiring managers, but also with the peers who will work alongside new hires – will help you to ask the right questions during the search process and move candidates forward for the right reasons.

Recruiting and retaining the best employees

The Zweig Group (AEC industry consultants) have done extensive research on recruiting and retention. Recent Zweig survey results show that the top five practices reported by most A&E firms tend to be fairly traditional:

  1. Public recognition, either at company gatherings or industry functions
  2. Gift cards or merchandise gifts
  3. Cash incentives in addition to base compensation
  4. Event tickets or larger personalized gift packages
  5. Letters or certificates of recognition presented by owners or board members

As competition for top talent heats up, it takes increasing creativity to build an engaged workforce. Think about what it would take to entice your “top billers” to stick with you rather than accepting a modest salary bump from the competition. Here are some ideas:

  1. Professional development support
  2. Opportunities to earn equity or participate in profit sharing
  3. Introduction of formal Employee Stock Ownership Programs (ESOP)
  4. More flexible office, remote, and hybrid work arrangements
  5. Incentive pay tied to service milestones
  6. Cultural elements that promote participation, inclusion, and personal development
  7. Desirable perks for high performers such as paid sabbaticals

The evolving impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on work norms add another important variable to recruitment and retention considerations. Firms with multiple office locations have to remain especially alert to employee sentiments about large company gatherings and what collaboration looks like in a hybrid workforce.

Contact Us

Staffing can have a big influence on the overall health and profitability of your firm, and success in any of these practices requires advanced listening skills on the part of your leadership team. We can help your A&E firm understand and optimize the business metrics that matter most. Contact us today to learn more.

Share This

Kevin Johns

Shareholder

Kevin leads the firm's architecture & engineering group, helping entrepreneurial owners build a better blueprint for growth.

Related Insights

Architecture & Engineering Firms

5 A&E Valuation Considerations for Buyers and Sellers

Posted on August 11, 2022 by

Kevin Johns
Even if you’re not currently thinking about a transaction, building these top buyer and seller considerations into your architecture or engineering firm’s financial reporting and forecasting will ensure you’ll be ready when opportunity comes knocking. 

Architecture & Engineering Firms

Preparing for a Buy/Sell Opportunity

Posted on July 1, 2022 by

Kevin Johns
There are five aspects of due diligence that create a sensible success strategy even if you’re not in the market for a buyer or an acquisition right now. If or when you are interested in pursuing an M&A opportunity, these five considerations also position you well among potential buyers.

Architecture & Engineering Firms

A&E Deals on the Rise: Know What Your Firm Is Worth

Posted on June 13, 2022 by

Kevin Johns
A common obstacle in assessing the fair value of an architecture and engineering (A&E) firm is getting buyers and sellers to agree on what the business is worth. Sellers who understand how their business is valued are in a better position to make sure they are not leaving money on the table.  

The Sound of Automation Podcast

Industrial automation businesses are the driving force behind Industry 4.0, and Clayton & McKervey is here to help.

Skip to content