"Before wining in the marketplace, you need to win the workplace."
It’s not only the great infrastructure in your office that matters but more importantly, each happy and satisfied person working for your organization makes it a great workplace. Once you have a great workplace, then it produces great customers and you eventually become a winner in the marketplace.
Oil and Gas (O&G) industry faces unique challenges, it is unlike any other corporate, which operates from the most comfortable and safe places to work. Crew members in oil and gas industry work in remote and harsh conditions away from home. Their workplace is much more challenging and thus they need even more attention and care. I identified 7 areas where HR teams in Oil and Gas industry can focus to retain existing talent and drive better productivity…
 Communication Channels
Since the crew members are always working in remote areas and mostly disconnected with the network, they need innovative ways of communication channels to listen to their issues, needs and worries. You need a way for the crew members to capture the issues as they happen and the system to send it to the authorities as soon as they are back in the network. The Crew Relationship team in the organization must actively listen to these inputs and respond with appropriate actions in time.
 Data Analysis
All the incidences, work history, communication notes for a crew member should be collated and the automated systems should be put in place to conduct data analysis of crew's past work-issues to identify areas of improvement. The latest technologies like Natural Language Processing algorithms can help identify these trends automatically and give ready-to-use information to the HR professionals for their decision making.
 Relocation Opportunities
An Oil and Gas Crew member is mostly present 24X7 in the workplace (on a rig) as part of their Hitch Cycles. Even though they get an off-hitch break from the work, being present in the workplace 24X7 at a stretch for weeks takes a toll on their mental well-being. If your organization has geographically diverse workplaces, then offer relocation or crew exchange programs to provide opportunities and experience of working in new workplaces.
 Remote Training
Once the data analytics identifies the areas of improvement for a crew member, then develop systems to automatically suggest the training programs for the crew. These training programs should use gamification approach to make the training more interesting in their monotonous workplace and also these training modules should be delivered remotely on their hand-held devices. This type of learning helps the crew member to get a sense of satisfaction and feel of becoming a better personality.
Re-skill / Re-tool Opportunities
The Remote learning programs and data analytics will open up new possibilities for the crew members and they can perform better in their existing job role or even can become capable of taking new roles by re-skilling. The crew members generally want to switch jobs either for better monetary prospects or for an appealing job role, if your organization can give them the freedom of choosing a better job role by elevating their present skills then the chances of the crew continue working in the organization are very high.
 Insights about better Pay-Rates
Organizations can even go a step further and be transparent by sharing insights about pay-rate trends with their crew members. Crew members can be made aware about the real pay-rate trends in different areas of work in your industry and empower and motivate them to think on the lines of how can they perform better or which skill should they acquire to get better pay-rates. If the organization can help the crew members to make informed decisions about their career path, then it actually imparts a sense of loyalty and feeling of gratefulness towards the organization.
 Crew Engagement Strategy
There are a number of case studies and white papers in the HR domain, which suggests that training and retention of the human resources is more effective than re-hiring. Organizations should strive to have better crew engagement strategies. The industry should consider the resources (money and time) required for tools and software systems to implement an effective crew engagement strategy as a capital investment than considering it as a nice-to-have aspect.
Oil and Gas industry is facing lot of challenges and shortage of talents already, I feel these strategies can help overcome this challenge to a great extent.
What do you think? Share your view-point below in comment or contact to exchange the thoughts.
The Author, Arati Joshi is a Senior Digital Transformer with specialization in Oil and Gas Industry and Crew Deployment Software.