HR Strategy

3 Ways to Empower Oil and Gas Employees

By

Aaron Santelmann

| Jun 6, 2014

Whether through induced hydraulic fracturing (typically referred to as “Fracking”) or the Keystone XL pipeline (no, not Keith Stone) the oil and gas industry has no problem seizing its slice of national attention.

Although many eyes and ears are focused on the energy giants and the gas pump, the lower-level employees driving the industry machine often are forgotten.

Oil and gas production contributes 7.5 percent of gross domestic product and supports 9.2 million jobs nationally. With a booming industry that continues to rise, it is imperative for the executives to curtail tunnel vision on profits and realign its focus on another essential element of the business: the wants and needs of employees. If upper management were able to pay more attention to employees’ needs, it would cause a ripple effect from the front office to a field that’s filling up.

From 2007 to 2012, private-sector employment increased in the U.S by only 1 percent. But in the oil and gas industry, it grew by 40 percent. Such a growth in jobs inevitably will produce a workforce lacking tools in certain areas. So, what are these employees looking for when it comes to payroll?

Anywhere Accessibility

Oil and gas operators are usually on the move, resulting in little time to sit at their desks and analyze whether payroll numbers for each employee are correct. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by the end of 2012, there were over 90 thousand workers just in the drilling sector of the oil and gas industry. Each of those employees should have access to their personal information or time sheets. This is why the industry needs the flexibility of accessing his or her HR and payroll information from web-enabled devices while trucking in the muck.

Having to rely on slow, downloaded systems or rigid remote desktops can stifle potential profit. Since no industry covers the plains like oil and gas, employees should have a system that goes as far as they do. Enabling managers in the field to access tools (like a self-service dashboard) as easily as those in the office would save time, enabling HR personnel to focus on strategic initiatives.

On-Time Accuracy

Few things are more frustrating than going to collect a hard-earned paycheck and realizing it has not come in or has errors. When those situations arise, it’s not long before the fruit of your labor turns sour. Oil service men and women work long hours, travel longer distances and need to work different wells for multiple clients, so knowing where to send each client’s invoice is crucial. If oil and gas employees had access to more fluid expense-management technology, it would relieve HR personnel from doing it themselves.

Allowing employees to track their jobs and handle their receipts via a mobile device and Internet connection would save accounting from having to reimburse individual receipts, or from the potential threat of being out of compliance with corporate expense policies. Any expenses falling outside the parameters set by management can be flagged and set aside for review.

As an added bonus, since all the documents are held in the cloud, when it comes time for tax season, records can be found and submitted easily. Managers need the flexibility of customizing their expense settings if they want to maintain employee reimbursements and reports. Since payroll errors quickly drain morale, they can put a huge stress on productivity. Because a simple solution exists, those errors are avoidable.

PAFs for Perfect Communication

Personalized action forms (PAFs) are an excellent way to foster healthy communication between parties and enhance the way talent is managed. Many people realize how expensive it is to find new businesses compared to winning additional business from existing clients, and that also applies to employees. According to HR.com, it costs $7,000 just to replace a lower-level employee, while jumping to $40,000 to replace an executive. With thousands of dollars poured into each employee- whether through salary, benefits or training it is imperative to find cost-effective ways to keep those employees engaged and excited.

In order to do this, communication needs to be superb, and managers need efficient ways to filter out the top workers from those merely working for the weekend. PAFs are the simple way to manage those processes. Managers can submit a written PAF on an employee’s behalf that goes straight to HR to request a promotion, transfer or raise. PAFs are stored in the system for record keeping while increasing efficiency for the processing employee changes.

This champions a culture of transparency between managers and their employees, while giving workers the confidence that their efforts are being recognized and rewarded. A well-organized culture of communication in the workplace drives employee engagement and maintains the flow of an industry where change happens frequently.

About the Author

Aaron Santelmann

A young and enthusiastic writer and researcher, Aaron is an instrumental member of Paycom’s lead generation and reporting team. Aaron is an engaging writer who maintains a strong presence on Paycom’s blog where he focuses on politics, government and compliance, tax guidelines and other employer regulations that impact businesses across the country. Outside of work, Aaron enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his family.

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