Just as we got over the panic and chaos of commuting during the last oil week, it’s time to do it all again as Offshore Europe descends on the AECC for the 2015 exhibition. This year, the theme of the show and accompanying conference programme is “How to inspire the next Generation” kicking off with a much anticipated keynote session from Professor Brian Cox.
Now, whist we recognise and agree that the next generation should be inspired to join the E&P industry (and we’re as excited to hear what Brian thinks as much as the next fan), we can’t help but wonder – what are we doing to inspire the current generation? In times of uncertainty, how should we go about motivating those already working in the sector?
For many, the North Sea Oil and Gas industry is a family affair. We get into it because our parents, siblings, relatives, friends or neighbours do it. There’s a definite risk in losing future talent if we cut off this source of inspiration by failing to react to the needs and concerns of our current generation of workers in this altered and volatile landscape.
With job losses, challenging shift patterns and the stress that goes hand in hand with unsettled times, there is no doubt that vulnerability can appear, with performance and morale both noticeably affected. This can result in us working harder but achieving less both as individuals and organisations.
Caroline Hughes, imorph’s Director and founder, thinks that employers can take steps now in order to mitigate these feelings within the existing oil and gas generation, even though it feels counter-intuitive.
“To survive the current climate and have an industry future generations want to work in, we need to look after the current generation; maintaining and sharing our knowledge and skills and building industry defining practices that mean we can operate in lean times as well as good.”
It’s not just a “nice thing to do”, it makes business sense too.
“Working well and achieving more isn’t just good for business, it also gives employees real satisfaction. We all want to do a good job, we want to clock out at the end of the day feeling like we’ve put in a good days work. Accomplishing something and recognising your contribution – that’s motivating.”
Recognising the potential of your staff and providing them with the support and opportunities to develop and share their existing skills and explore new areas of expertise can build a strong sense of ownership and responsibility. Establishing this relationship between employee and employer often improves performance and productivity as well as morale and motivation.
Through the delivery of interactive change and training programmes, imorph helps businesses support and enhance their most valuable assets by focusing on developing and combining behaviours, processes and technologies with best practice theory.
“We are meeting more people than ever who are bubbling with frustrations at the uncertainty of the industry and the increased pressures and expectations placed upon the workforce as a result.”
“Whilst it is brilliant that we are thinking ahead to attracting future pools of talent to the sector, we also need to pay attention to the frustrations and the needs of those already dedicating their careers to oil and gas.”
As training providers we wish training was the answer here but undeniably the needs of the sector and it’s current workforce stretch far beyond the capabilities of a fantastic course. As has been discussed at length, a fundamental culture shift is required if the industry is going to make any of the changes required to weather this storm and inspire future generations to come. For the first time in a long time, this change could be achievable.
If training was the answer…
Supporting your employees, recognising their potential and inspiring them to excel can have a huge impact on performance and productivity.
Although each company and set of challenges is different, Caroline has identified four potential solutions to reassure, encourage and inspire our existing workforce in the current climate:
- Support teams whose dynamics have changed to help them work together effectively, redefine their objectives and achieve their business goals.
- Provide training opportunities for those who have new roles and responsibilities as a consequence of redundancies and restructuring.
- Establish and communicate processes, procedures and policies properly so that people know what is expected of them.
- Create and maintain safe cultures and environments.