4 strategies for managing engineering contractors

Engineering organizations seek to manage costs while recruiting and retaining good talent. Here are 4 key strategies to better manage engineering contractors.

03/24/2010


Get more help with engineering resources from Control Engineering .

A few simple strategies, along with clear communication, can help ensure success for engineering contractors. Photo courtesy of Kelly Services Inc.

A few simple strategies, along with clear communication, can help ensure success for engineering contractors. Photo courtesy of Kelly Services Inc.

Within the engineering workforce, many organizations have begun to hire contract engineers as they have sought to obtain top talent in the most cost-effective manner possible.

Today's employers find many advantages to using a contingent staffing company as a general business model to manage the ebbs and flows of the normal business cycle. A staffing company's core competency is to recruit, hire and retain a pool of skilled employees, so they become a great talent source when and where business needs dictate.

With the economic fluctuations and uncertainties of today's work environment, most employers exercise even more caution in hiring full-time employees. Many prefer to hire contract workers, who are anxious to advance skill sets within contract positions.

Use of contract employees helps organizations to control costs, manage project workloads, and handle the peaks and valleys of the global economy to meet organizational objectives.

Engineering organizations: 3 goals

During the coming years, engineering organizations will continue to focus on three goals. They will:
• Recruit well-trained, highly-talented engineers to help accomplish business objectives and positively impact society;
• Retain top talent for long-term careers within their organizations. To ensure long-term organizational success, managers should develop various employee recruitment and retaining methods.
• Reduce costs: No matter what the state of the global economy, organizations always hope to reduce expenses to improve profitability. Hiring top engineering talent "just in time," organizations will reduce costs and increase profits.

Engineering organizations seek to recruit and retain top talent, while trying to keep costs low. Photo courtesy of Kelly Services Inc.

Engineering organizations seek to recruit and retain top talent, while trying to keep costs low. Photo courtesy of Kelly Services Inc.

As companies work to accomplish goals, managers must remember that all employees -full-time, contract, and interns - are core to success.

Contract engineers: 4 strategies

To establish a successful relationship while working with contract employees, managers may want to implement the following four strategies.

1. Develop an appropriate on-boarding system
: As managers hire contract engineers within their organizations, they can focus on a variety of goals. First, managers can help their contractors achieve maximum performance and success by welcoming them within their workforces, especially during and after their first few workdays, so they reach their full potential to help their organizations succeed. Ensure contractors are satisfied with their new work environments by receiving education on company culture, procedures, and protocols. By aligning contractors' goals and objectives to the organization's goals of their organization, managers will be assured that new contract employees will work to the best of their abilities and enjoy their work experiences.
2. Communicate expectations to contractors
: Before contractors begin their new assignments, they need to fully understand details of their positions, including expectations and policies. This decreases contractor anxiety. Provide clear expectations of the position and discuss goals of the position.
3. Reward high-performing contractors
. Engineering organizations regularly reward full-time engineers for strong performance and success with anniversary or milestone awards, extended vacation time, and bonuses. Managers can work with their staffing supplier to recognize and reward contract engineers for their contributions, so that contract engineers will feel as equally regarded for their efforts.
4. Prepare contractors for long-term futures
: As managers develop a successful on-boarding system, communicate expectations, and reward contractors for continuous support and commitment, they are striving to retain talent for the long-term. As the condition of the global economy improves, it is expected that organizations will have more opportunities to permanently hire top talent.
Contented, successful contractors can positively impact their organizations for the long term.
www.kellyengineering.com

- Tim McAward is the vice president and product leader of Kelly Engineering Resources (KER), a specialty service of Kelly Services Inc., a leader in providing workforce solutions. Since employing its first engineer in 1965, KER has grown to be recognized as a leading provider of engineering resources to customers in such industries as automotive, chemical, defense, electronics, energy, medical device and pharmaceutical.

More help with engineering management, from Control Engineering :
- Podcast on employee retention and project management: Mustang Automation and Control ;
- How to Work with a System Integrator ;
- How to get the most from your system integrator relationship ; and
- System integrator resource page .
- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering , www.controleng.com.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.
Electric motor power measurement and analysis: Understand the basics to drive greater efficiency; Selecting the right control chart; Linear position sensors gain acceptance
Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.