Case Study #2
Keeping young talent in the organization
An engineering firm hires new graduates from the best schools in the country. These individuals, men and women, are considered the future leaders of the company and are expected to grow and develop into these types of positions. The company reports that roughly 70% of these new hires are leaving the company within 2 years of hire. Originally the firm thought this was just the Millennial Effect of young people moving jobs with greater frequency than previous generations.
We suggested that some field research, akin to what they do in their engineering work, might confirm that suspicion. After visits to six field offices (they have 10), we reported the following:
- If the new engineer was placed in 3 of these offices, the turnover rate was below 10%
- If that same new hire was placed in one of the other three locations, the turnover rate was near 90% with people leaving within two years
- The number one reason people cited for leaving — they were not trained to do the work, improve their skills, and grow in responsibility and significance associated with the work they were asked to do
- The more capability was improved in these new hires, the more responsibility they were given because they became more capable, the more likely they were to stay with the company
The differences among and between offices was in the managers to whom these individuals report. Managers who acted like The Mentor, helping people learn and develop, expand their capabilities while growing in the scope and importance of the work they were asked to do had greater retention and engagement from these young engineers.
Managers who did not see their job as development of others, and often did not know how to be that type of leader suffered the greatest levels of turnover.
What we did:
- We organized a pilot program to deliver The Mentor Series™ to 8 managers and 8 young newly hired engineers (between 6 and 12 months with the company).
- Delivered The Mentor Series™ program to the managers
- Provided mentoring support to both the managers and the staff engineers
- Surveyed the participants at the close of the pilot (7 months)
- We lost 2 staff engineers in the pilot study (out of 8), one to relocation and the other because they did not like the engineering work the company did for its clients.
- The remaining staff engineers have seen increased development of their skills and expansion in the scope and importance of the work they do
- They are learning how to prepare and price proposals, manage budgets, and engage with the customer.
- One engineer who had announced they would leave remained with the company
The results are so encouraging the company has contracted for three more groups of leaders and staff engineers to participate in our program.