Brian Crossman. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

In my last column (for those three people that read my stuff in order) we discussed what the new employee can do to get that job and do well at it. Well, at least we hope so. But this is only half the story. It is up to a few other people to make this symbiotic relationship work out. The employers, the HR departments, managers and co-workers all have a hand in making this brand new relationship work. Us old-school guys have an archaic way of thinking that the new hire is there to work hard, do our bidding and make us happy. That may have been kinda true at one time (I said true, not right) but it sure isn’t today. Let’s have a look at this and see if we can figure it out together.

The orientation

Rule number one is “Don’t promise things you can’t deliver.” It sounds simple, but in your excitement of hiring this awesome young person, you may be tempted to say things about their future with your company that may or may not be true. For example; “Johnson!” “I like the cut of your jib!” “You’ll be the president of the company soon!” While it is possible, it is highly unlikely. Be honest and encouraging.

Welcome aboard!

Now is the time to introduce your new rising star to the company. You want the new guy to meet the people they will be working with. Try not to introduce him or her to the biggest asshole in the company right off the hop. (Unless you are that asshole, then, well, too f—ing late) The good thing then is all the other people in the company will seem wonderful by comparison.

Safety

This should probably be first. These young people we hire need to have the proper safety tickets, (taught well by a competent instructor) and must be made to feel safe in the new career they have chosen. No small task in an inherently dangerous industry. The good news is that we’ve improved our safety to a level that is the envy of many other industries. In order to retain these employees, they need to know that everything possible will be done to get them home safe at the end of every shift. They do however, need to understand the right to refuse does not mean they don’t have to work because they are feeling sad and uninspired.

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Set a good example

New hires will follow your good example. (For those of you with children, y’all know that statement is false.) Go ahead and give it a try anyway. From being a good communicator, paying attention and wearing your PPE, they will see how you are acting and hopefully they will do the same. If not, a little gentle encouragement may be required. For example; “I F#%@ing told you FNG!”

“Wear your damn safety glasses!”

“You’ll take an eye out!” (Apologies to “A Christmas Story”)

Maybe don’t yell. Or swear. Just saying.

Be nice

Remember the movie “Roadhouse?” Dalton (played by Patrick Swayze) is a bouncer training his staff. “Be nice,” he says, “Until it’s time to not be nice.”

It sounds really easy to say, maybe not so easy to do. After all, some of these young people are very demanding, and sometimes are not easily motivated.

“Hey FNG, Grab that pail!”

“Can’t FNG #2 do it?”

“I want to go for my vape break.” (This is taking over from the smoke break apparently)

“FNG #2 is busy. It’s up to you.”

“I know it seems like a monumental task, but I have faith in you.”

“I just KNOW you can carry that pail 35 feet.”

“Show me how far you’ve come since you started.”

“You can be the goddamn president of the company someday!”  (Try not to break rule #1 as noted in the beginning of this column.) But if the pail gets moved, there is some satisfaction in that for you.

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  • 0036 Prairie Lithium - Chad Glemser 30 Sec
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Changing our expectations

It’s a new world out there people, and if we wish to move forward we will need to modify our expectations. The older generation, seems to take pride in the fact that we worked 12 to 16 hours a day for 320 days a year. We took pride in all the money we made, and the things we spent that cash on. What we didn’t take pride in was the time we didn’t spend with family and friends. Not much pride in the alcoholism, divorce and missing your kids’ birthdays either. Then, the boom was off. Many guys, who were used to pulling in big money quick and spending it even faster, were suddenly broke. (Not every rig worker’s life was like this, but many were, for sure.)

The new generation has a different outlook than we did. They are willing to take less money and have more time with their families and friends. Crazy, right? Who the hell do they think they are for expecting some silly “work-life balance” thing. The nerve. Imagine wanting those “days off” for relaxing, recharging and having quality time with loved ones. So many of the old generation think we are so smart for working insane hours and creating the illusion of material things over time with family. Truth is the new guys are smarter than us. Not a little smarter, but a whole lot smarter. Because of this, it is time for the industry to adapt and change its expectations. (Note; there are many young workers who live by “Go Hard or Go Home.” I don’t want to paint them all with the same brush.)

Seriously though, it is time for the energy industry to re-evaluate the way we do business. I’m not talking about “Environmental Social Governance” which I realize is part of the future, but it’s very expensive and creates vast amounts of red tape. (That’s a conversation for another time)

We need to change our personal attitudes about our day-to-day lives in the industry. This goes not only for contractors, but the companies we work for as well. The oil producers have done a wonderful job of making their companies great places to work. I’ve personally talked to many people who give glowing reviews about the companies that employ them. There are many great advertisements and articles noting things like “We are in the top one-hundred companies to work for!” And many other selling features to be employed there. I have no doubt that these are all one-hundred percent true. But in many cases, it stops at the employee level and takes a hard turn at the contractor level. Often there is a very different expectation for people and companies that are performing contract work. It is improving, as many companies are communicating with their contractors to see how they can assist with things like safety, hours of service, retention and making sure they get paid enough and on time. We all have to remember this is a team effort from top to bottom. Here’s the thing. We keep talking about the ongoing labour issues in the energy industry, but we really need to adapt to the wants and needs of the next generation, whether they are our own youth, or new Canadians immigrating to our country. I believe this is what’s important;

-Safety

-Proper compensation for work done.

-Enough time away from work to recharge.

-Steady, long-term careers with potential future education and advancement. (Very difficult)

-The feeling that people are a part of something ethical and important.

In my opinion, this is how we will succeed, by finding a balance between getting the work done in a cost-effective and timely manner, and allowing the next generation of workers has the kind of life they will enjoy, and feel like they are a part of something good.

 

Brian Crossman is a partner at independent Well Servicing in Estevan

Brian’s hiring advice is; “Not everyone you hire will stay. The sooner you accept that, the farther down the road you can push that HR nervous breakdown you will most certainly have someday.”

I will say this. There are many young people who lean toward the old adage of “Go Hard or Go Home” and there is a place for these motivated young workers.

 

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  • 0036 Prairie Lithium - Chad Glemser 30 Sec
  • 0035 TED - Whitecap
  • 0034 TED_NA Helium 2021
  • 0033 Buffalo Potash Jared Small Footprint
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0029 Latus Viro updated Latus phone
  • 0027 TED_NA Helium 2021_30
  • 0025 Kendalls
  • 0026 Buffalo Potash Quinton Salt
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0014 Buffalo Potash What if PO
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
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Brian Crossman: Now hiring!

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