Making engineers happy: Personal growth contributes to employee engagement
April 17, 2023
min read

Making engineers happy: Personal growth contributes to employee engagement

Ana Gospodinova
Ana Gospodinova

With so many software engineers out there, striving for personal growth becomes increasingly important for organizations to attract and retain tech talent. Since the increase in productivity is triggering long working hours, it also defines today’s engineering workforce with global demand for better work-life balance. Opportunity to advance as a software engineer nowadays is interpreted as a sign of progress and well acceptance. To become more competitive companies feel a significant pull towards reconsidering initiatives to help foster personal growth.

The road to employee engagement starts with a conversation

Today, employee engagement makes companies stand out from one another.

As an organization striving to make engineers happy, you need to think in which direction you want to grow and link it to your people strategy. In this case, serious and continuous conversation with engineers contributes a lot. These sessions can happen during weekly team meetings or on a monthly basis. Importantly, team leads have to be skilled in assessing who needs what while developing an environment where engineers are able to speak freely and state their demands. Simple questions such as ‘How are you doing? Are you happy? Why not?’ can be great conversation starters. Note their thoughts and demands, as later on your HR team will have to prioritize where to invest and distribute available resources.

personal growth employee engagement

This is especially important for all junior engineer roles. Sometimes less skilled engineers might get lost once they feel the real deal. Since it’s a common thing when you are new to the business or at the very beginning of your career, things can get overwhelming fast. Engineers can get lost even though they feel born for their careers. In these situations, training becomes an important element and an icebreaker.

3 ideas to develop employee engagement initiatives

Engineers especially want to feel acknowledged at work. It makes them more motivated and better performing, ultimately contributing to employee engagement. Companies should consider these steps when developing initiatives contributing to employee engagement.

1) Define a plan and budget for personal development

This stage can be considered a foundation stone and often the most difficult one. Firstly, team interviews have to be conducted. Different teams have different needs for personal development. It gets especially difficult if you are willing to listen to each team member’s demands, and some great companies do that! Secondly, depending on the company, the plan can be formed under bigger umbrellas, such as ‘coding training’ or ‘emerging technologies,’ or focusing on networking and growing the feeling of belonging to something bigger. According to the feedback, HR teams should prepare the plan with year-long activities and the budget to support them. Based on capacity and available funds, the final personal development plan should be presented to all employees during an all-hands meeting.

employee engagement personal growth

2) Staff training

Ongoing training and development is an essential part of an employee’s working life. According to a survey, 37% of engineers believe that support for personal development ideally acknowledges their work. Being able to grow personally and professionally is one of the key factors in employee engagement. According to diagnosed key areas for development, your HR department should decide whether internal or external training is a better fix. Internally it means that skilled engineers organize after-work trainings for those in need or more accepted training organizations or engineering communities are invited using internal meetup formats. Besides offering knowledge distribution, these events are a great way to empower internal and external communities and a sense of belonging.

3) Visiting developer conference

A team usually has an array of talents, skills, interests, and personalities. All of which absorb and process information in different ways, which is another reason why attending with a team to a developer conference can heighten the knowledge transfer. Personal career development benefits from these conferences because engineers complement their existing skill set with new skills, make a presence inside different developer communities, and network for future opportunities. All of that drives high employee engagement. Of course, these activities have to be aligned with the yearly plan for personal development. As a suggestion, it should be presented to engineers in the form of topic clusters such as Python, Mobility, Java, or Sustainability. According to the area of interest, dates during the year, and conference geolocation, you can group candidates in bigger teams for cost-saving and optimization purposes that contribute to better planning and efficiency.

employee engagement personal growth

Count on those who can take the organization step further

When looking for professional development initiatives, you need to consider why it’s important for your organization’s future. And always include leadership in these types of decisions. If you have decided to focus on your organization’s future through training and development, having an eye on those who can take it one step further is essential. Even though software engineers perceive work acknowledgments through salary the best, we track significant changes in perception towards the importance of personal development in making engineers happy.


#Wanted and #Misunderstood: A Developer Survey 2023 (Full Report)

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#Wanted and #Misunderstood: A Developer Survey 2023 (Full Report)

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