“So I would say something that wasn't on the agenda two years ago, that is top of mind now is the resiliency and the mental health of the workforce.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Geoff Smith, Mercer’s managing partner for the Gulf States region, who had the above to say about emerging priorities for HR leaders in the energy industry. We discussed the impact of the energy transition (from fossil-based energy to renewable energy) on the workforce and the industry response.
First, Geoff was quick to contextualize the energy situation by reminding the audience that it’s energy “that actually makes the world go round.” Energy firms are thinking about the future and how they can take advantage of the energy transition while continuing to deliver this critical resource. Some companies are planning to continue the traditional route of supplying fuel but in an economically viable and environmentally conscious way. Other organizations are adding new strategies, like carbon capture, to their portfolio.
Despite the widespread acknowledgement that change is coming, it’s estimated that less than half of energy companies have done a full assessment of their people strategy to ensure a smooth transition for the workforce. Geoff explained that even though industry leaders recognize the importance of alignment, they haven’t necessarily developed the appropriate change management systems to respond to the demands of the energy transition.
From a people perspective, Geoff discussed an ongoing challenge among CHROs to attract and retain talent due to competition with the technology industry. In response, energy companies may need to continue the use of premium pay, at least for the near future.
And finally, there’s the importance of mental health and wellbeing of employees. According to Geoff, we can expect to see serious changes in the industry, such as global EAPs and measures to encourage mental health discussions. Safety, employee engagement, and mental health are all interconnected and necessary to support the workforce during a transitional time.
The only resource arguably more important than energy is the people that make up the energy workforce. So, the future of energy and the energy transition depend on getting the people agenda right first.
The full podcast recording with Geoff Smith is coming soon!
Milan Taylor is a Partner and Mercer’s Global Natural Resources & Energy Leader.
As a global consultancy for people management, Mercer offers all services to support transformation for energy businesses. Its Organizational Capabilities Assessment can quickly pinpoint the fields for action. Whether starting small by implementing ESG criteria in LTIs, broadening the scope towards our awarded DE&I services or applying our organization and workforce transformation expertise, Mercer is the trusted advisor for organizations to transform towards true sustainability.