Joseph Lampinen is director of the Americas Engineering product group of Kelly Services, In his current role, he is responsible for the strategic development and growth of engineering staffing, search and project services in the Midwest and Canada, with special interest in manufacturing, engineering, plant/facilities engineering, sustainability and Lean Six Sigma.
Mr. Lampinen joined Kelly Services® in 1998 as a technical branch manager in the Chicago Market and subsequently served as Midwest regional engineering manager. Prior to joining Kelly, he was an operations director with Laidlaw Corporation in the Midwest.
He holds an interdisciplinary bachelor of arts degree from Western Illinois University, a graduate certificate in engineering law and management from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently a graduate student in technology at Purdue University. Mr. Lampinen is a certified manufacturing engineer, project management professional (PMP®) and LEED® AP. In addition, he is an active member of several engineering and professional organizations, including the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Project Management Institute, Association for Facilities Engineering and American Society for Quality.
When it comes to attracting and retaining the top engineers, it’s important for employers and recruiters to understand what makes them tick. That’s why we researched our own psychographic profile of electrical and mechanical engineers.
What our research confirmed is that the decision to become an engineer often stems from childhood interest in hands-on, do-it-yourself projects and a curiosity with cars, trains, computers, and motors. Yes, playing with cars and trucks really does indicate a future career!
Of course, engineers also tend to have an interest in, and aptitude for, math, as well as a desire to make a difference in the world. These same ideas are the basic principles that engineers look for in their career.
If you’ve ever spent time with an engineer, you surely noticed their affinity for hands-on problem solving. Engineers enjoy having new problems they can solve creatively, and their strong work ethic will drive them to find a solution.
When selecting a job opportunity, engineers look for a number of key career values in a position. Engineers prefer to work on projects where they believe in the goal and are able to see the results in a tangible way, such as with a new product or technology. They also enjoy working on a team, despite feeling capable of working independently. However, they are interested in careers that allow them to advance, and often compare their own salaries to peers’ at the same or other companies.
As very hands-on employees, engineers feel that their time is better spent designing and developing than in meetings and working on reports. It’s important that engineers don’t feel stuck in a cubicle, and instead get opportunities to test their theories and solve problems in a "do-it-yourself" kind of way.
Now that we understand what makes an engineer tick, how can you attract and retain the best talent?
Well, for starters, you need to begin thinking like an engineer, even if you aren’t one.
We know engineers are very proud of their profession, so it’s important to tap into their passion. This means allowing them to focus on what they do best—solving problems and creating projects—while minimizing other tasks. Engineers don’t want to be micro-managed, but want the freedom to be creative and use their skills to get the job done right.
A key thing that many engineers look for in a job is its opportunity for advancement. This means not only advancement to higher-level positions, but also for employer-provided training to facilitate their personal and professional growth. Engineers are lifelong learners and seek to further develop their technical skills, as well as soft skills like leadership and public speaking.
Lastly, engineers want to feel like they’re a part of a community. Create an environment where engineers can interact on both a professional and social level, and set up programs such as charity events for them to participate.
As an employer, by understanding what your talent values in a job, you can structure their work to best meet their needs. In the end, you will enjoy more productive and more loyal employees.
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