News Article

Talent Development and Retention

Tue, 12/01/2015 - 18:00

After a coffee break, moderator William Gaber, Founding Partner at Atabay Consulting led an interactive panel on Talent Development and Retention. He introduced panelists Juan Ángel Vargas, Client Consulting Leader for Human Capital and Energy & Resources at Deloitte Consulting Group, and Jorge Ponce Stirk, Integrated Projects Human Resource Manager for Mexico and Central America at Schlumberger. To introduce the panel, Gaber illustrated the challenges recruiters face on a daily basis and the energy sector’s needs on the matter of human capital. He stated that recruiters must take into consideration the fact that the market is divided into upstream, midstream, and downstream, but they must also consider short, middle, and long term plans. Another topic to consider is geography, as several areas of the country have a surplus of professionals while others are facing a shortage.

Both Vargas and Ponce mentioned the problems that the energy sector is facing and their strategies to address them. Vargas explained that after the price decrease in oil barrels, PEMEX reduced its supply chain, generating a surplus of talent. This was unexpected since the sector was expecting a larger demand of talent after the Energy Reform. He now estimates that for the next two years, this surplus will continue, but at Deloitte they have identified areas that will require qualified talent in the mid-term. Furthermore, he predicts a large gap in highly qualified labor in the next ten years but this much needed talent is not being adequately developed. Ponce also remarked on the effect of the depreciation of oil prices on the energy sector causing a temporary surplus of labor, but he also mentioned his company’s strategies to negotiate this issue. His solution is to mobilize talented individuals into those geographic areas, both nationally and internationally, which most require attention. This method is highly beneficial as it provides talented individuals with many opportunities and job security. These talented employees should be prioritized over new recruits as they possess a comprehensive knowledge of the industry and its clients. He commented on his experiences both in Mexico and abroad, as he states “Companies have to expose their professionals to different cultures and work environments in order to prepare them for change”. On the other hand, according to Vargas, mobility seems be decreasing in the energy sector as employees seem to be moving to the automotive industry. “The energy industry is facing infrastructure problems that are slowing down mobility programs.”

Next, Gaber shifted the discussion onto retaining high value individuals. Vargas mentioned a recent study by Deloitte, in which five different retention strategies were determined. The first is to make these individuals aware of their value to the company. The second is to help their subordinates to recognize the value of their leaders.  The third is to generate a positive work environment and the fourth is to make high value employees aware of the growth opportunities they are acquiring through training. Finally, the most important step is to generate trust in leadership.  Ponce remarked that growth within an industry and retaining valuable individuals is a process that begins at the recruitment stage. He states that, from the outset, there must be transparency in the recruitment processes regarding the benefits to which the future employee may be entitled and possible growth. Identification of the correct individuals is essential. “The first six months to one year are essential to determine whether the individual is correct for the position.” Ponce also states that companies should perform a self-assessment to determine whether they are truly competitive, as he says “it is necessary to analyze the market to determine whether we are competitive, otherwise it will not be possible to retain talent.”

Gaber mentioned an initiative to attract, develop, and retain talent, named “We Are All HR”. This initiative aims to involve all upper management and directors in the retention of talent. Ponce reiterated the importance of involving managers in each step, as “when a person leaves a company they are generally not abandoning the company but their immediate management”. Thus, he highlighted the importance of training management and providing them all the necessary tools to ensure this. Vargas mentioned another strategy, which is to create a sense of belonging within all staff members, and to encourage management to continuously look for talent and to try to retain it. Ponce also commented on the importance of identifying and flagging high value individuals. Finally, he continued that a possible motivation for newer and older employees is to manage a company through meritocracy, meaning that all promotions should be attained by merit.