How to retain staff – Engineering, Architecture and Construction

How to retain staff – Engineering, Architecture and Construction

They say the great resignation is upon us.  That seems to be true for some, but not others.  What is it that some practices are doing that is achieving a high level of retention during “the great resignation”?

Why Retention if You and not Them

Simon Goodhead of The Coxe Group spoke to ACEC through the national webinar education program on this topic in February 2021 anticipating what was coming around the corner.  The talk was based around organizational behavior and the key aspects of why people disengage with a firm, why their job performance may decline, and what that cost is to an engineering and architecture firm.  Fundamentally, it is the firm leadership.

The podcast that followed the presentation (here) takes the 90 minute presentation and pulls the entire presentation to 34 minutes.  Why not take a listen and see what resonates for you?

With the cost of an employee disengaging and eventually leaving (either by choice or termination for performance) the expense can be immense.  When viewed over the entire firm, the cost is likely to reach close to 100% of the firms average salary.  In this instance, cost truly means an expense with no revenue – it takes the firms profit.

The Cost of Attrition 

Let’s look at an extreme example.  Consider this – if you reduced a 401k plan that saved the firm an average of $5,000 per employee for your 50 person firm, you see a saving of $250,000.  If that saving caused your attrition rate (self-selected departure or termination for underperformance) to move from 5% to 15% (that’s a shift from 2.5 people on average to 7.5 people), that will likely cost your firm $350,000, a drop in profit of $100,000 by trying to save $250,000.

How we Help

Two of the many things The Coxe Group has provided our clients over the years are these:

  • A view of what is coming around the corner – we are always looking forward and helping our clients understand what they may want to do now to accommodate what is going to happen.
  • A deep capability in organizational behavior – our industry is based on people. Whether they are architects, engineers, or contractors, it all starts with our identity, our leadership, and our people.

Get in touch if you want to understand more about retention and organizational behavior.