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Why talent retention in oil and gas will depend on engagement

It's no secret that staff retention in the oil and gas industry is an issue; it has one of the highest turnover rates in any sector. However, there are solutions to minimise the risk of high staff turnover, which not only affects morale and the bottom line but also has an adverse effect on any firm's reputation and employer brand.

Clients who are, by their very nature, going to be spending significant sums of money, will demand that their suppliers are seen to be professional and well-run outfits. This includes expectations with regard to the quality of staff, their ability to deliver a consistent service and stable lines of communication throughout a long project, or a series of smaller ones.

In such specialised sectors as oil and gas, companies need to ensure that, once they have secured the talents of skilled and experienced staff, they take full advantage of techniques and rewards-based practices that are proven to work, enabling them to grow AND RETAIN a productive and profitable workforce.

This doesn't happen by itself. It starts with engagement.

If you understand the issues, you will have chosen a recruitment partner who knows your sector inside out. Hopefully, by now you'll have built a relationship with them, to the point where they consistently deliver high-quality candidates who they have thoroughly vetted and whose qualifications and experience they can verify.

Even this isn't enough to guarantee that, should you take them on, the new recruit will have the commitment and staying power to become a viable long-term investment for you. Truly competent candidates will clarify right from the outset what their expectations are, and these will extend far beyond salary and package.

Negotiations will be very much a two-way street at this stage. The package on offer doesn't necessarily have to promise the highest pay in the industry (although, of course, you will want to be seen to be prepared to pay at least the market rate for appropriate talent). What really matters are the cultural and 'soft' factors, together with the opportunity for professional development and advancement.

Younger people, relatively new to the industry, are not quite as keen as those of their parents' generation to move into a role that may well involve hard physical graft. You need to be seen to be offering far more than just a job; it should appear to be the best opportunity the candidate has seen since they got their university or college offer. It should promise that they will be rewarded for their hard work and commitment.

And, most importantly, you should mean it.

Words are cheap and good staff who have signed up to be part of an engaged workforce will soon grow tired of broken promises. If you offer opportunities for training, travel, or anything else during the recruitment process then you need to make sure it happens.

The best talent, whether they come up through the degree route or college and apprenticeship, will have friends and former colleagues with other employers in the industry. They talk, and they compare, so treating your employees in the right way will bring big rewards. They will be more productive, more profitable and may even help your future recruitment plans by introducing you to other strong candidates.

Our Operations Director, Duane Thompson said:

“Don't be afraid to let them know how important they are to you. The oil and gas industry can be difficult, challenging and, at times, dangerous. You are not telling a candidate that it's not. Instead, you are daring them to take the challenge, in the certain knowledge that they will be rewarded and that they are included in your long-term plans. A good salary can go so far, but a commitment to job security goes a long way and can be the deal breaker between you and a competitor offers.

So, now you've got your new hire; how are you going to keep them? We all know that there are far more ways to earn a good living, most of which are a lot easier and more comfortable than our industry. Your next move, if it hasn't happened already, should be to put in place a strategy for engagement with the rest of the workforce and with clients. A happy and engaged workforce isn't merely helpful in the context of productivity and the bottom line; it's essential.”

Duane Thompson's picture

Thank Duane for the Post!

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