A mid-tier Oil & Gas company ventured into a 100% owner-operator onshore processing facility (expansion of an existing facility owned by the company) and several offshore collection facilities of the Coast of Western Australia. As the offshore facilities were new, the company need to recruit all new personnel into the company to operate these facilities. Most of the personnel needed were Production and Maintenance Technicians.
The company needed to select a large number of candidates. The company needed to have a good understanding of the candidate’s technical ability, but it was also an opportunity to ensure those who were recruited were aligned to the company’s values and the desired culture of these new facilities. As the company needed to recruit majority experienced personnel (at least initially), many would have 10, 20, 30 years’ experience, and therefore bring with them their own or their previous company’s way of operating from both a technical, but also behavioural perspective. Further, many of the personnel had experience working on onshore facilities, but not necessarily offshore. Many employees hired may not have worked a FIFO before, so suitability for the lifestyle also needs to be determined.
The company firstly wanted to define the desired behaviours and values they wanted personnel to have to create the new work culture on these facilities. The driver for this was it had been identified by line managers that technical competence alone had not lead to success in the company’s existing facilities. The challenge was how to effectively identify the behaviours and values at the point of recruitment, while managing such a large applicant pool.
This company engaged People Solutions to identify the best method of meeting these challenges and the recruitment targets given. People Solutions first conducted a success profile for these Technician roles with a range of stakeholders within the company. With an understanding of this, People Solutions recommended an Assessment Centre methodology as it allowed for many candidates to be assessed within a short period of time, involved all the decision makers, and was the best method of assessing the required competencies and values required by personnel in these roles.
This was a very new process for many of the line managers, who in the past, recruited personnel through their existing network and informal conversations, and many were uncertain about using Assessment Centres. However, the current recruitment process was not possible for this project as most personnel would be unknown to the company. Further, due to the large scale and complexity of multiple facilities involved, the company needed a standard and streamlined approach for assessing and selecting candidates.
To overcome some of the uncertainty in using this methodology, line managers were engaged early in the process and were involved in the design of the Assessment Centres. Further, line managers were encouraged to have input into the people that were selected to their facility by participating in the Assessment Centres. All line managers received training before assessing in the Assessment Centres to ensure they understood its value, but more importantly, their role on the day. We found once line managers had participated in the Assessment Centre day they saw the value in this process and become advocates for this methodology to other line managers.
One of the desired outcomes of this process was to recruit Technicians who displayed the desired behaviours they were selected on, when they were performing their role. This was determined by getting the employees supervisor to rate their performance against the success profile criteria 3-months after being employment. Results found, on average, 90% of employees were at, above or well above average of the expectations of the competencies and values identified.
Further, the company met their recruitment targets and had a very low turnover in the years after they were employed by the company (retention rates for these roles in the mid-high 90%).
The company continued to used Assessment Centres as a standard recruitment process for any volume roles. They also introduced this methodology for development purposes 3-4 years after this initial campaign to identify talent and succession plan for roles at the Team Leader, Supervisor and Manager levels.
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