Fostering Growth in Young Engineers
What does it take to foster professional growth in young engineers? This is an important question that AEC firms must successfully answer in order to recruit, retain and promote their employees, while providing high-quality service to their clients.
A number of factors come into play in growing young engineers. At Psomas, we place an emphasis on mentoring, exposing them to a variety of challenging projects, encouraging flexibility in thinking and approach, and even giving them the opportunity to have direct contact with clients. These are critical factors that go into paving their path to professional growth and success.
Mentoring is a strong part of our culture. Each year we celebrate it by presenting an award to the employee that best exemplifies mentoring qualities such as providing motivation, leadership and encouragement to younger staff. We recognize that a key element in supporting the talented young engineer is the manager and how he or she mentors employees.
Diversity of Projects
Partly due to our size, engineers here get to work on a diverse array of projects, both in size and type. This would not necessarily be the case at a larger or smaller firm. Working on a wide variety of projects means more exposure to unique ideas, challenges and solutions, which creates a depth and breadth of experience for the young engineer.
Ours is not a top down culture. In addition to project managers, engineers down the line have flexibility and more opportunities to provide input during the lifecycle of a project. Everyone is tasked with sharing their skills and using staff resources to help make a project a success. Our “One Psomas” philosophy emphasizes internal collaboration among whoever is best qualified to join a project, no matter the office. This approach exposes younger engineers to working with different Psomas offices, regions, personalities, clients, and design standards. It creates an environment where everyone has an opportunity to contribute to a project’s success. Ideas are bounced back and forth among team members, so that we all learn from one another and gain the benefit of different perspectives. All of this provides a solid foundation for project engineers to become project managers.
Exposure to Clients
When I’m meeting with clients, I bring the younger engineers along so they can interact with them and see firsthand the discussions that go into decision-making on a project. They get exposed to perspectives and opinions not covered in a textbook and witness the weighing of factors that drive decision-making— the balancing of hard design standards with softer aspects such as client preferences and public input. This helps build the more well-rounded engineer.
A Top Priority
In our industry, recruitment of young talent is becoming increasingly competitive. Succession planning is at the forefront of concern for many companies. As always, quality client service is paramount. All these factors make the fostering of professional growth in young engineers a top priority for AEC firms and what drives Psomas to invest in our young engineers to be strong future industry leaders.