The Power of Your People
Sayyid Mohammed Al-Said
Our businesses are only as powerful as the people we employ. As a service provider in the oil and gas industry, I know that all too well. After six years of starting and running new businesses, I found myself facing the same HR challenges; my experienced employees are nearing retirement, while younger employees are not attracted to my industry. After a Forum presentation opened my eyes to the impact this had on my business, I vowed to learn how to retain my qualified people and attract younger employees. Here are two best practices I uncovered during my search for solutions:
Engagement and Transparency
I learned the value of one-on-one relationship building. With 250 people on staff, I focused my attention on those with little experience—less than six years in the industry—but high potential. I interviewed new recruits at the engineers’ level, established a mentorship program and held informal meetings to address their career aspirations.
By taking the time to understand what drives my younger employees, I was able to see what they needed to achieve success. As a result, they felt more valued, and the rate of young staff turnover fell dramatically. I took a different approach for my more experienced staff. Instead of focusing solely on their careers, I elaborated on the vision of the organization, while improving the business structure through corporate governance. This helped motivate them to “own” their role in the big picture, and created much-needed transparency across the board.
Another big lesson I learned was the value of sharing successes with your staff on a consistent basis. When my employees come to work, they’re looking for ways to achieve recognition and celebrate their accomplishments. Knowing this, I decided to take the first 10 minutes of every stand-up meeting to recap the previous week and highlight personal and professional successes. This exercise has proven to be a useful team-building tool, whereby my staff gained confidence in working together and in knowing that the organization is sound. I, in turn, get to keep my finger on the pulse of my staff.
Sayyid Mohammed Al-Said is a serial entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of IBD Group. Fun fact: Sayyid Mohammed worked as an engineer at PDO (a Shell-operated company) for 10 years prior to pursuing his own business interests.