How to Manage Oil, Gas Employees in Turbulent Times

How to Manage Oil, Gas Employees in Turbulent Times
In the midst of the energy industry downturn, HR experts share best practices on maintaining a competent workforce and how to acquire new, fresh talent.

One of the difficulties oil and gas companies are experiencing during the current industry downturn is how to manage its human resource operations – essentially who, when and how to hire and fire employees – and how to manage the company afterwards.

Several industry HR professionals convened recently to discuss recruiting and hiring strategies and how to manage during these turbulent times in the energy industry. The overall message was clear: the downturn will continue indefinitely, causing for more workforce reductions. Until the price of oil goes back up and the industry fully recovers, there’s a high probability of more reductions in capital expenditures (CAPEX), including employee layoffs.

Chris Melillo
Chris Melillo
Managing Partner and Energy Practice Leader for Kaye/Bassman International Corp.

HR and Recruiters: Handle Layoffs with Care

With the drop in global commodity prices, many oil and gas companies have been tasked with the challenging decision to lay off its employees, with some industry giants cutting thousands of jobs in 2015 already.

It’s imperative that each hire and fire decision is done strategically.

“If you handle layoffs the right way and take care of folks on the ground floor and handle them correctly, when [the industry] turns around, you will get them back,” said Marty Kunz, vice president of HR for C&J Energy with 20 years of experience.

Several HR professionals agree, including Freeport LNG’s Vice President of HR James Tastard, who shared that he had in fact laid off an individual only to begin working with him again years later.

“He told me I did him the biggest favor and he really appreciated how professional I was and that I actually helped him,” Tastard said. “He thanked me and said he was really happy to work for me again.”


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Valerie is an experienced writer and editor dedicated to providing useful and relevant career news about the oil and gas industry. Email Valerie at


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John Bell | May. 3, 2015
A good game plan and the ability to control the controllables would eliminate the now urgent need to off load unwanted staff. Empire building by uncontrolled junior managers and the lack of gateways has caused the issue at hand . The lowering of the barrel price has little to do with the panic to right the wrongs, the inbuilt value chain takes care of that along with profit shifting to lower taxing countries such as Singapore. Now we see the age of job shifting to less regulated countries, people exploitation is alive and well. E.G.-: Chevron profit beats expectations? Just smoke and mirrors in order to justify the actions, of profit making. Remember this, you have to sell your product with a margin. You can only get for the product what people can afford. Paying less to bring the product to market may well be your undoing!.

Mike Gibson | May. 1, 2015
Sir Ian Wood got his employees to take an overall 10% pay cut rather than layoffs. Should this not be a better way to go? Also some executives in the USA have agreed to cut their salary across the board. We have to ask the question Are our senior management and shareholders taking so much that we are seriously jeopardising the future of our industry?

Beral Bandoumel | Apr. 29, 2015
Unfortunately most of the time trust for companies is when they need you and then when it comes to fire for any any reason they dont look at a way whereby they can offer an alternative to not make it happen. Like someone said it keeping talented people is an investment and not a loss.

A. Vega | Apr. 28, 2015
Loyalty is a matter of trust between two sides but several times one of them forgets the importance of retain the talent. For sure, talent is expensive in this context but it ensures stability and professionalism so when downturn ends, reaction capabilities are there to react. But as said before, this is something most of companies dont care, just to save money. They need to understand the difference between expense and invest and retain talented, loyal and profitable employees is in fact an investment, no an expenditure.

Pierre Colin | Apr. 28, 2015
How can we be loyal if the company are firing staff as soon as there is a glitch in the industry? The companies dont care about, its just the financial part which theyre interested in.


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