The Houston Chronicle recently released its “Houston’s Top Workplaces 2013,” which surveyed employee feedback on factors such as pay and benefits, connection to their workplace and view of leadership. Over 68,000 Houston area employees participated in rating their employer’s performance in the survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics. This year, out of the 285 companies that participated, 150 made the list of top workplaces. The rankings are categorized by large, midsized and small companies to level the playing field.
So, how did Houston oil and gas companies fare? Leading the pack in the large company category are EOG Resources and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., capturing the top and second spot respectively. Plains All American Pipeline, Enbridge Energy Partners, BP and Statoil fell into the top ten as well.
What makes larger companies more appealing to their employees? Based on the Chronicle’s findings, a push back on a bureaucratic, behemoth culture goes a long way quoting Mark Papa of EOG Resources, “My philosophy is the bigger you get, the more bureaucratic you tend to become.” Papa instead is focused on a decentralized EOG to empower its workforce leading to a more entrepreneurial organization. This theme of “less centralization” resonated with employees at the other top ranked larger companies as well.
In addition, larger companies scored high on overall compensation and career opportunities. Employees at BP awarded high marks for a competitive benefit package with industry-leading pay and bonuses tied to performance. The company was also recognized by employees for extensive training, continuing education and career development opportunities including international assignments.
“People are the cornerstone of our commitment to providing America with the energy it needs,” said BP America Chairman and President John Mingé. “As the largest oil and gas investor in the U.S. over the past several years, it’s great to know that our Houston workforce – a large part of BP’s more than 20,000 U.S. employees -- takes deep satisfaction in delivering on this commitment.”
In the midsize company crowd, the Chronicle reported that Cheniere Energy took the prize of top-ranked company to work for. Other oil and gas companies that fell into the midsize top ten are Energy XXI, Hilcorp and Rockwater Energy Solutions. Cheniere, with its focus on the growing LNG-related industry, was rated high because of its flexible work schedules, open communications and cohesive goal of being part of the energy solution of the future. Hilcorp received a nod for a growing trend in giving back to the community through a one-time contribution and matching funds in subsequent years for the employee’s charity of choice. Companies offering volunteer opportunities and charitable giving has grown over the years and is becoming an expectation of incoming talent.
So how did smaller sized oil and gas companies do in the Chronicle’s Top Workplaces? They grabbed two out of the top ten spots with Talos Energy ranked first and 2H Offshore ranked seventh. Talos, a private equity company, may not be able to offer the highest salaries, but offers equity to all of their employees who enjoy the energy of a smaller company where everyone’s contribution is vital. Feedback from 2H employees on the survey included favorable comments on the “approachable” nature of the management team, “tremendous benefits and flexible working hours,” the emphasis put on “knowledge sharing, communication and continued training” for employees and how “new ideas” are encouraged from all levels of staff.
The Chronicle also announced “special awards” based on the survey findings of WorkplaceDynamics. Rockwater Energy Solutions and EOG Resources received Leadership awards. 2H Offshore was also awarded a special Communications Award, in recognition of the company’s outstanding performance in the Communications section of the survey.
Overall, Houston-based oil and gas companies performed well in the Houston Chronicle’s 2013 Top Workplaces grabbing many of the top spots. The feedback obtained by WorkplaceDynamics bore out some vital lessons for companies looking to attract and retain key talent. While pay and benefits are important, focus should continue on building a culture with open communications, customized rewards, flexible work arrangements and dynamic day to day leadership that engages its employees.
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