Reducing Time to Autonomy for Technical Staff
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- October 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 147 - 149
- 2013. International Petroleum Technology Conference
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 37 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper IPTC 16394, "Accelerating Time to Autonomy for Technical Staff - Developing the Industry's Best Performers," by Michael Schaaf and Anu Garg-Buck, Royal Dutch Shell, prepared for the 2013 International Petroleum Technology Conference, Beijing, 26-28 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
Meeting increased production target in the near-future will require the recruitment and development of a large technical staff, made up of both recent graduates and experienced professionals. Shortening time to autonomy and integration is critical to success. This paper describes Royal Dutch Shell’s approach to developing this pipeline of technical professionals by outlining the conditions for success of the Shell Graduate Programme (SGP) and the Shell Advanced Technical Programme (SATP) and by discussing the approach to integrating experienced hires.
Structured programs built around on-the-job development such as the SGP have achieved the development of recruited personnel and have ensured that autonomous staff are truly competent. The key strategic driver is faster time to autonomy, which is essential in the context of a shortage of capable technical staff. In this work, the term “time to autonomy” is used per the definition provided by Schlumberger Business Consultancy as the time it takes a new graduate employee from entry into the company until he/she can make nonstandard decisions autonomously.
In 2011, the SGP was launched for technical professionals in all 29 technical disciplines in Shell. This was followed by similar programs for the commercial, human-resources, and legal skill pools.
The SGP is an integrated approach to accelerate graduates’ development up to the first level of autonomy in terms of performance and competence. The expected time to autonomy is on average 2 to 3 years, reduced from 4 to 5 years with the previous approach. The focus is on technical depth and broad business understanding.
Completion of the SGP has also been positioned as a prerequisite for consideration for internal job postings. Promotion occurs only when a graduate is successful and has been selected for a fully fledged technical professional job.
The principles of the SGP are as follows:
- The program is owned by the global technical disciplines within Shell, as opposed to other corporate divisions. This is a critical success factor because the technical disciplines are tasked with setting and ensuring the competence of their staff. They can set and enforce global standards for graduate development within the discipline.
- There is a focus on a small critical number of competencies (approximately 10). Reduction of competencies from often more than 25 to 10 or fewer has enabled greater focus and speed of development. Other competencies less critical for autonomy are developed over a longer period of time alongside participants’ primary work, mostly through self-study or online learning.
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