For many of us, our jobs have changed in some significant ways over the last five months. A lot of us are working at home, either part time or full time. Meetings with our teams have become mostly virtual. Travel to other manufacturing facilities or job sites has almost ceased. And to top it all off, some are dealing with a whole new world of kids schooling at home and spouses working a few feet away from us.
While these changes aren’t permanent (let’s hope), I’m certainly hoping that our companies and our management teams will find new efficiencies and smarter ways to do things, post-Covid-19. While I wouldn’t want to work from home full time for the rest of my career, I’ve discovered that there are aspects of it that I love — especially the avoidance of commuting in bad weather and flexibility in working around family issues.
Aerotek, a recruiting and staffing services provider recently talked with 150 mechanical engineers, hoping to find keys to the best work environment for long-term career happiness. The interactive microsite, Overcoming Inertia: Propelling Mechanical Engineering Careers Forward (aerotek.com/en/mechanical-engineering), has some interesting insights in some important areas. These include: sense of autonomy, clear expectations for work, compensation, growth opportunities, ideas taken seriously, job security, reliable peers, transparency, recognition, personal values alignment, performance evaluations, and skill development.
One of the things that the interviews found was that these five factors had the largest gaps between what engineers want and what they actually get out of their jobs:
- Manager(s) care about career.
- Opportunities for growth and advancement.
- Clear communication about performance.
- Clear communication about what is expected.
- Transparent communication about job and company.
“As we adjust to the new realities and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know workers are thinking deeply about their careers, looking for meaning and real satisfaction,” said Chad Koele, President, Engineering & Sciences and EASi at Aerotek.
What strikes me about these five factors is that they’re likely to worsen in a Covid-19 atmosphere, where in-person communication is severely limited. If you’re in a management role, consider this a wake-up call to do some serious introspection about the engineers who report to you and how you interact with them.
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