Motivating engineers can be very stimulating and rewarding. It takes the personal commitment of the manager of these human resources to set the climate for growth and development. This climate can provide only up to 20% of the development of an individual. The remaining 80% of development is the personal commitment of the individual.
Since developing the human resources is one of the most important responsibilities of an engineering manager, the following attributes are important:
Works effectively with others.
Establishes a climate for growth.
Is a good communicator.
Is versatile and able to cope with change.
Sets objectives for himself and with his people.
Manages time wisely.
Is enthusiastic and positive.
Keeps physically fit and mentally alert.
Is sensitive to the needs of his people.
Certainly there are other important attributes, but techniques of motivating vary with individuals so the manager must attempt to learn and experiment in motivating his people.
Some of the techniques a manager can use to motivate technical people are:
Recognition for Outstanding Achievement - This can be done through news releases, special recognition plaques, dinners, and other more innovative ways.
Practice Career Planning - Discuss short-and long-term career plans with each individual in addition to his strengths and weaknesses.
Set Measurable Objectives - Objectives should be set with subordinate participation for measurable goals over a specified time. One or two personal goals should be included.
Performance Appraisal - Evaluate his performance at least once a year or more based on his objectives as well as other achievements that are job-related.
Pay High-Achieving Engineers Well - Identify the top 25% achievers and pay them commensurate with their achievement and conversely curtail compensation for low performers.
Provide Job Enrichment - Provide challenges early in careers of engineers and continue providing stimulating assignments with reasonable freedom to achieve “job-stretching” goals.
Self-Development of Each Individual - Support and promote opportunities for continuing education and self-improvement on all relevant levels.
Engineering resources comprise one of the most vital assets of any enterprise. With technical change so rapid, engineers become unproductive and disgruntled early in their careers. Helping them to develop themselves into enthusiastic, productive career achievers instead of just job-holders is the art of motivating people. The most valuable resource a manager of an engineer controls to achieve this self-actualization of his career is himself.