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Roundtable: Onboarding New Employees into a Safety Culture

LEFT to RIGHT: Charlie Easter, Weatherford; Gary Childress, Oil States Energy Services; Kirk Ginn, Atlas Sand; Wendy Wilson, Weatherford

LEFT to RIGHT: Charlie Easter, Weatherford; Gary Childress, Oil States Energy Services; Kirk Ginn, Atlas Sand; Wendy Wilson, Weatherford

PESA’s Healthy & Safety Committee joined the Human Resources Committee on May 16 at Weatherford for a roundtable discussion about onboarding new employees into a safety culture from the HR and Health and Safety perspectives.

Wendy Wilson, Global Director – HSSE Assurance, Weatherford, kicked off the roundtable with a focus on the challenges of meaningful onboarding that excites new employees. Her approach includes four main components: onboarding, training, competency and measuring performance. She also discussed Weatherford’s RightStart Orientation, which features local one-on-one orientation and a mentorship assignment.

Weatherford’s Competence Assurance Process features qualified assessors and modules mapped to roles, so that employees are able to progress past initial, level-one onboarding. Wilson also discussed the company’s initiative to transform its culture, as the quickly growing staff needed to install leaders with a culture mindset to reshape company philosophy and create a culture champion network.

Wilson concluded by stressing that executives should focus on having more effective conversations, approaching them with curiosity and ensuring that the outputs of these strategies are safety and flawless execution.

Gary Childress, Vice President – QHS&E, Oil States Energy Services, shared his thoughts on competency as the core of onboarding. He stressed that organizations should develop the tools to form their vision for the future while remaining aware of how their individual organization develops.

Experienced new hires often need to be focused on, Childress said, as he has noticed an immediate disconnect between this group and the culture of the company. This can be combated by having a plan regarding initiatives and effective, results driven rollouts.

He concluded by focusing on mentors explaining they must be selected carefully as mentors can experience fatigue. That said, mentorship should not be viewed as an extra part of a role; it should be specific and rewarded with promotion.

[su_quote cite=”Gary Childress, Vice President – QHS&E, Oil States Energy Services”]“We need to identify the top things an individual needs to be able to perform well. Let’s work backward to identify what they can do. Our best onboarding begins with people selection – stay in tune with your organization and you will succeed.” [/su_quote]

Kirk Ginn, Vice President, Human Resources, Atlas Sand, then discussed activities in the Permian Basin and how to address onboarding issues in that location, as opposed to Houston. He said that the exponential growth in the Permian highlighted the challenges of hiring in an isolated region, as well as retention issues.

He emphasized how important mapping the employee experience can be to future success and how recognizing specific problems and failures can make all the difference in how they are dealt with and resolved. He discussed two main drivers in successful hires:

  • making a personal connection to safety
  • using poll surveys to understand data and communicate this to management, while being careful about what questions employees are asked

During the question-and-answer session, participants illustrated how perspectives from small and large organizations – as well as heavily and lightly populated areas – can change how onboarding and maintaining happy, successful, competent employees can be achieved. These included personality assessments, continuous onboarding tactics and group vs. one-on-one training. Participants discussed at length media use and mentorship programs, taking into account size and location as well.

The PESA Health & Safety Committee and Human Resources Committee will both host additional roundtables in 2019. Check PESA’s Event Calendar for future dates.





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