I have placed a lot of civil and MEP engineers in my career. It's always sort of amazed me that some companies take their young engineers with their shiny new Professional Engineer seals for granted. These young engineers have worked diligently and have toiled in their jobs for the past 4-5 years preparing themselves for this day. Then it happens and it's sort of anti-climatic. Sometimes they get a pat on the back and maybe even a salary bump. Sometimes it means that they now are a salaried employee and even with the salary bump, their income goes down because they no longer qualify for overtime. Many start asking themselves what's next?
This is a very precious resource in a consulting engineering firm so it would seem to make logical sense (and engineers are a logical sort of people) that the leadership would be circling the wagons to applaud this momentous event in a young engineer's career. Think back to when you passed your PE exam...what happened from your firm leadership?
Here's a few suggestions to help you create the environment in your firm that new PE's want to stay:
Celebrate the win- make it a public event in the company that everyone celebrates. This is a milestone event and it should be celebrated! Maybe a celebratory lunch out with all the PE's in the office and even the EIT's so they have something to be excited to aim for.
Have a career track sit-down- The leadership of the firm or at the very least their group/division should meet with each new PE to discuss about where THEY see their career going next. Are these goals in alignment with where you see them advancing? If not, they may already be sensing this and looking elsewhere. Talk to them about next steps in their career progression and the steps needed to achieve those goals.
Set your new PE up with a mentor-Nothing ties an employee more to a firm than personal relationships with a strong mentor. If your firm doesn't have a formal mentorship program, look into building one.
The bottom line to keeping your new PE's engaged is communication and sharing your vision with them. Let them feel a part of the bigger picture and share with them that their presence matters and what they do positively impacts the company.