What to Watch – Your Dynamic Workforce

woman packing work belongings into a box

For the next few editions of Both of These Things Are True, I’ll be looking at What to Watch for in 2022. With so much going on in energy prices, climate action, workforce dynamism, and policy action, you might ask: What’s not to watch right now? But every oil and gas leader needs to keep one eye on the factors that impact now and the next decade — like the recruiting and retention of our workforces. Without a strong, committed workforce, you cannot take advantage of the opportunities of the moment nor lead into the energy future.  

Both of these things are true:

  • The oil and gas industry overwhelming functions in a traditional management hierarchy with traditional management approaches.
  • Today’s workforce is dynamic in numerous ways: skills, priorities, experiences, and a willingness to change jobs.

To seize the opportunities in front of us, oil and gas managers need to understand this dynamism —which in the face of the status quo is walking right out the door — and prepare to meet it with their own dynamic response.

The situation

The Adamantine team reviewed some key 2021 workforce surveys and was stunned by the similar themes and flashing warning lights all of them show. Here’s what you need to know (with links to the underlying survey):

  • Nearly half of all Americans say they are either actively searching or considering looking for a new job (Prudential). Six in 10 millennials are doing so. Sixty percent!
  • Four million American workers quit their jobs in July 2021 (Harvard Business Review).
  • Thirty- to 45-year-olds increased their resignation rate 20% between 2020 and 2021, the greatest increase among generations (Harvard Business Review).
  • Most workers give these top three reasons for leaving: better compensation and benefits; lack of growth opportunities or wanting to do something different (Prudential).
  • However, millennials put something different in the top three reasons they resigned: the desire to work remotely at least some of the time (Prudential).
  • In fact, a stunning 62% of workers said they would take a pay cut to work remotely without any restrictions — with a remarkable 72% of working parents prioritizing this flexibility over pay (Personal Capital).
  • A 2021 Deloitte survey of millennials and Gen Z workers noted that millennials are prioritizing holding themselves and each other accountable for addressing racism and sexism.
  • The same Deloitte survey found that approximately 1/3 of millennials and Gen Z workers have had pandemic-related stress and anxiety requiring time off. Over 40% of workers in these generations feel stressed all or most of the time. These numbers are even higher for women because of the added burden of childcare and responsibilities at home and concern over racial and gender equality.

These stats require no further commentary for leaders struggling with recruiting and retention.

Seize the day

Game changing leaders — here are the basic actions you should take in the next 6 to 12 months to retain and keep attracting the best talent:

  • Find out why employees are leaving. One of the great disconnects happening within oil and gas company operations is that what managers think their workforces want are not necessarily what they require to stay. Engage in meaningful exit interviews and post-mortems with front-line managers to understand exactly what’s going on.
  • Ask employees what would make them want to stay. Retention strategies will need to be tailored to unique groups as well as individuals. Prioritizing workforce retention will enhance recruiting as well. We know we have an exit crisis in the industry — especially among our mid-level managers, the ones we just got trained to be particularly effective and ready for leadership! For example, the Prudential survey found that 45% of workers who are looking for other jobs said that they would think about staying if their employer offered new, internal opportunities.
  • Go hybrid wherever feasible. A blend of in-person and remote work provides employees flexibility with building company connectivity. A striking 59% of employees in the Prudential survey prefer a hybrid environment.
  • Cultivate new skills in your workforce. The pandemic has left a majority of employees (58%) feeling stunted in the development of new, transferable, future-ready skills. Managers can activate learning opportunities as part of their retention and recruiting strategies.
  • Evolve the company culture. Game-changing leaders arebuilding their companies’ cultures to acknowledge and meet the current workforce challenges. The Deloitte study identifies important takeaways for evolving company culture to retain and empower millennial and Gen Z workers: acknowledge explicitly the burden on working women; cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplace; support employees struggling with economic uncertainty and stress; explicitly prioritize climate strategy; and acknowledge the importance of mental health and stress management.

Future-proofing work is workforce retention work. Building your company’s ESG and decarbonization strategy is a key component in building a resilient and responsive company culture. Ready to get started? We are building our project list for Q2 2022 — reach out and let’s see how we can help.

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