Engineering Inc. - July/August 2007 - (Page 40)

BUSINESS INSIGhTS fRom ACEC’S INSTITUTE foR BUSINESS mANAGEmENT STRaTEgIES foR SuCCESSful MENToRINg; How To aTTRaCT aND IDENTIfy ToP TalENT Building a Strong Mentoring Program Given that baby boomer managers soon will be retiring in droves, now is a good time to start a mentoring program to take advantage of the expertise of senior managers and engage up-and-coming employees. Although developing a mentoring program may sound relatively easy, few firms are able to set up effective programs that are sustainable over time. Here are some strategies gleaned from a presentation by Leigh Mires, a principal and manager of Organizational Development for Walter P. Moore, Inc., at the recent Convention. According to Mires, a mentor is a “person outside the chain of command who is a teacher, a guide, a sage and, foremost, a person acting to the best of his or her ability in a whole and compassionate way in plain view of the protégé.” There are several steps in developing a mentoring program: 1. Establish goals 2. Identify protégés 3. Identify mentors 4. Identify rules of engagement 5. Evaluate 6. Review program It is important to note, explains Mires, that “part of the supervisor’s role is to mentor; it is not part of the mentor’s role to supervise.” She also points out that coaching is not mentoring. Coaching is performance-focused, while mentoring is careerfocused. For example, mentors should act as teachers who guide employees on how to be successful both within the company and in their career field. Mentors also must help employees understand the company’s culture, philosophy and values. Moreover, mentors must develop an employee’s long-term career strategy. Mentors also need to be aware of what is expected of them. They should put “time, thought and energy into knowing protégés and what they most need to develop; share wisdom and experiences—not as dictators, but as guides; work to help each protégé develop his or her own set of goals; respond to the protégé’s needs; and create special ‘assignments’ things for protégés to do or try, people to meet or organizations to join,” says Mires. To Retain Competitive Edge, Hire the Best Because the shortage of qualified engineers is becoming more apparent, engineering companies—and other industries, too— are competing to attract new talent. According to business consultant Mel Lester, who spoke at the Convention on the topic 40 ENGINEERING INC. JULY / AUGUST 2007 “New Keys to Competitive Advantage,” engineering firms need to learn to win the “talent war.” In his research, Lester points out that 72 percent of firms plan to increase recruiting and hiring this year, yet 25 percent of the U.S. engineering and science workforce is expected to retire by 2010. Firms should be aware that the workplace environment is becoming more important than money to employees and that a firm’s image and vision are emerging as key factors in recruiting. Also, top firms fill 50 percent of openings through their internal prospect databases, says Lester. Lester offers these tips to improve recruiting strategy: Networking n Stay in touch with former colleagues, classmates and employees. n Join professional associations; attend conferences and trade shows. n Use relationships with consultants, contractors and vendors for leads. n Rely on friends and neighbors to recommend candidates. In-House Referrals n Nurture a “recruiting culture” in which every employee is a recruiter. n Encourage everyone to keep his or her networks active. n Recruit continuously regardless of job openings. n Recognize employees who bring in candidates; don’t just reward them. n Contact candidates through existing relationships whenever possible. Prospect Database n Maintain an active database of prospective employees. n Include employee referrals, former employees, applicants, etc. n Make database accessible to all employees. n Include criteria to facilitate searching for specific openings. n The ACEC Institute for Business Management provides comprehensive and accessible business management education for engineering company principals and their staffs. Visit for a complete listing of ACEC programs.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - July/August 2007

Call for Entries
From ACEC to You
News & Notes
Market Watch
Legislative Action
The Big Dig
Risky Engineering
2007 Professional Liability Survey
Institute For Business Management Fall 2007 Course Catalog
Roadside Technology
2007 Convention Wrap-Up
2007-2008 Excom
2007 Fall Conference Primer
Business Insights
Members in the News
One on One

Engineering Inc. - July/August 2007