For those of us in the federal contracting community, the toughest challenge today is finding the smart, talented, and highly qualified scientists, engineers, developers, and program managers we need to create and deliver the solutions that best support our customers’ missions. It’s been said that we’re all fishing in the same pond for this talent—and it’s a very small pond!
This demand for “the best and brightest” is accentuated by the tighter margins in our business and the government’s demand for quality solutions from proven providers, as evidenced by the renewed focus from procurement managers for value-based acquisitions versus lowest-priced. Successful providers have to emphasize their technical differentiation to win value-based procurements, which increases demand for highly technical and highly qualified talent.
Today’s millennial workforce expects a different workplace from the one many of us are used to. In addition to a healthy work/life balance, flexible hours, parental support for moms and dads, tuition support, and similar benefits, we find that young engineers, scientists, developers, and budding program managers expect a creative, collaborative environment where “their voices are heard,” they can grow, and where they can not only suggest new ideas and technologies, but be granted the financial support to grow those ideas into marketable solutions.
When we launched the LGS Innovation Initiative – an internal program to encourage and fund collaborative technology development – several years ago, we didn’t have recruiting in mind as the end benefit. Rather, we wanted to open the doors for LGS team members to come up with ideas for new products, pitch them to the management team, and then get the funding they’d need to productize their ideas. Every year, we usually select four or five such ideas, offer them some R&D support, and end up delivering their value to our customers.
What we’ve discovered recently is that today’s young engineers and scientists find this kind of innovative culture to be a good reason to join our ranks. So what began as way to spark new ideas has also become a very good way to attract new teammates!