It's been six months since I wrote an article on things I'm hearing about talent management in the Oil & Gas industry. Read that article HERE on LinkedIn (I posted it in multiple places but LI generated the most traffic & comments).
I think this is a good time to revisit the conversation and share what I'm hearing now.
Then: The long-awaited jobs recovery is likely pushed back to 2018… maybe later. There may be more layoffs before large employment gains. Now: Oil has been in the $60s for the since the beginning of the year (except for one week in Feb). The US rig count is in the high 900s (up 280 from a year ago). Service Companies and Producers will likely continue to increase activity to chase revenue and improve their financial performance. It looks like 2018 may be a big year for hiring and growth.
Then: Even without a recovery in activity, service companies and operators feel they will be forced to increase hiring soon. Cuts in headcount have been too deep and waiting any longer threatens their ability to participate in the eventual upturn in the market. Now: Service companies have increased their hiring. Several started hiring in mid-2017... before there was an uptick outside the Permian. And that hiring hasn't been limited to field workers - Sales, R&D, etc. are being hired too. What I haven't seen is a noticeable increase in hiring by the Producers. When they do, will it be new grads... or poaching from the service companies?
Then: Training is sorely needed for any new hires AND for the current employees that have survived the cuts. Over the last two years training resources were gutted in the race to protect operating cash. Training activities are trickling back in… but much more is needed and needed NOW. The big question: where do they find the budget for training and development at scale? Now: Training activity continues to trickle back in. But budgets are still severely limited. How will programs and development scale with hiring and increased activity? Who will pay for it - corporate or business units?
Then: In the past, technical training for the organization was the primary concern. Professional development was focused on those slated to move into specific roles. During the downturn, many critical holes in the organization were filled with available talent… with little (to no) budget or time for training. The result was technically talented staff willing but unprepared to take on key management roles. Now some companies are planning a more holistic approach to talent development, combining both technical and “soft skill" training to create organizational flexibility and individual performance. Now: I continue to hear a lot of plans but haven't seen much actually being delivered - at least not beyond a handful of pilots.
Then: The downturn impacted company cultures. Yet no one brought up cultural or behavioral changes needed for the upturn. A hard truth is that strategy matters little if the culture cannot or will not embrace it. That includes talent strategy. Change requires more than management, it requires leadership across the organization. Leadership requires both a vision and the ability to motivate the team to participate in the journey. Companies ignore this at their own peril. Now: I still haven't heard culture or change management come up in context of talent management.
What YOU are hearing? Let's compare notes so we all learn.
Kevin Paylow is a Corporate Storyteller at Deliberate Consulting. He helps leaders motivate their organization with confident, compelling communication that drives change. Follow him on Twitter @DeliberateKevin
©2018 Deliberate Consulting LLC