NLNG’s journey to excellence
In 2003, after a few years of operation, NLNG began to analyse whether its Nigerianisation scheme was on track. Management required proof that the graduates the company had recruited were developing the target skills, knowledge and behaviours. Consequently, NLNG implemented a CMS, which proved to be robust in identifying the competences and proficiency levels required by NLNG staff.
Fast forward to 2009, however, and Paul Bakare, Human Resources Manager, NLNG, was keen to take another look at the CMS. Several safety incidents in the up- and downstream oil and gas industry prompted NLNG management to seek reassurance that its people had the right competences to avoid similar incidents; however, the existing system was unable to provide sufficient granularity.
Bakare explains that, although the system was helping NLNG to identify the competences and proficiency levels required by its staff, it was difficult to assess an individual’s actual level of proficiency. This lack of clarity made it difficult for NLNG to identify any competence gaps and, thus, close them through learning, experience or coaching.
NLNG commissioned Shell Global Solutions to review and update its CMS. “One of things we found was that the CMS was not being used to the full extent because, according to feedback, it was overly complicated,” says Barry Kimber, Senior Performance Improvement and Implementation Manager, Shell Global Solutions. “In fact, there were 469 competences in the system, which we felt was too unwieldy, so we were keen to simplify it and make it more user-friendly.”
Co-creating the solution
Over a two-month period, Shell Global Solutions facilitated a series of workshops at Bonny Island to articulate the competences that the organisation required. Kimber is keen to emphasise the importance of having NLNG staff closely involved in the process. He explains that when, for example, his team was looking at the mechanical engineering competences, it brought together a diverse group of mechanical engineers: some were NLNG staff and some were Shell subject matter experts who each had different levels of skills and experience.
During this workshop, the group identified the key mechanical engineering activities that are required to be performed and broke them down into the tasks required to achieve them. Those tasks became the main content of the competence requirement and, for each task, the group members, together, wrote proof points: objective statements defining what a competent person can do.
“That was all done in a workshop because we wanted the words in each competence statement to be the customer’s words and thus site specific,” says Kimber. “We did not go in with Shell competences and say this is what a particular person should be able to do, because each plant and process is unique. We have found that substantial value can be captured when we co-create the competence requirements for a customer’s specific operations.”
At the end of this process, the team adapted the CMS. Numerous changes were introduced, and the number of competences was reduced from 469 to 121. This 75% reduction, coupled with the introduction of proof points, was key to simplifying the process and making it more objective and fit for purpose. A proof point is an objective statement that shows if the person is meeting the requirements.