Competencies in Oil and Gas
Many energy companies and oil field services companies use competencies to successfully respond to critical workforce issues. These include attracting and retaining the right technical talent, complying with regulatory requirements and growing the staff capabilities needed to achieve strategic objectives. EKTi works with clients to identify and define the technical, commercial and core competencies critical to achieving long term success.
What is a competency (in oil and gas)?
At EKT Interactive we describe competencies as “the ability to perform specific functions or activities that are important to success in an area, position or organizational level.” A competence describes the ability to do something, not to know something.
What does a competency measure?
The general categories for competencies include technical, leadership, business and commercial and personal effectiveness capabilities. These are then broken into more specific competencies and sub-competencies, depending upon the needs of the organization.
How are competencies created?
The normal process for creating technical and functional competencies includes:
- Meet with leaders to clarify objectives and target positions
- Meet with “subject matter experts” (SMEs) to gather information on roles, functions, processes and standards. Identify underlying knowledge and skill requirements
- Sort and cluster information into categories, competencies and sub-competencies
- Generate standards and examples for different levels of proficiency for each competency (e.g. basic, skilled, mastery)
- For each position involved (landman, geologist, supervisor), chose the competencies that are most relevant. Agree upon the required level of proficiency
- Communicate the competency requirements to the individuals in each position or role.
How is the EKT Interactive approach to competencies different?
Many organizations use generic competency structures that are available through professional organizations or consultants. These reduce development time, but may not reflect the organization’s work structure or standards. This can create confusion and frustration as managers and employees try to apply the generic competencies.
A more common approach is to use the client managers and SMEs to generate all of the information needed to create the competencies. This can be a very demanding and time intensive process that prevents internal experts from focusing on their primary roles.
EKTi follows a systematic approach that captures the specific structure, standards and needs of the client organization. But we also apply a “fast track” process that incorporates relevant expertise but reduces the time demands on client managers and SMEs.
After initial client meetings, we use EKTi’s seasoned professionals to draft competency definitions and examples for the function or position. The EKTi staff are selected based on their experience with the target function or positions.
The client SMEs and managers then review and revise the draft definitions and standards. Once they agree on the competencies, the organization proceeds with assigning and assessing the competencies.
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What are some applications of a competency framework?
Normally individuals and their managers use the profiles of competency requirements to assess needs and create development plans. However, competency structures can also be used to:
- Identify training needs for larger groups (e.g. front line leaders, service reps)
- Create questions for efficient, legally defensible selection interviews
- Comply with qualification or certification requirements
- Design onboarding programs for new hires
- Create career progressions
- Provide feedback during Performance Management or 360 feedback reviews
- Generate data that supports workforce planning or talent management.