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Houston’s Oil Industry Eyes Recovery, Job Creation

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Jenny Philip, senior manager, economic research for the Greater Houston Partnership, discussed the future of Houston?s energy workforce at WorkforceNEXT?s Fall Summit Oct. 20. Houston has lost 24,700 mining and logging jobs since the beginning of the industry downturn (December 2014).

?Houston is the energy capital of the world,? said Philip. ?We love to boast about that in $100 oil, but we also have to own that in $26 oil or our current $52 oil.?

We?re on the verge of approaching $54 per barrel oil, which Philip said is when many energy analysts believe we will start seeing more exploration and production activity and hiring.

In a September meeting, OPEC agreed to cut oil production, but Philip said market fundamentals are holding back a surge in oil prices.

?If you look at supply and demand, you have to take into account not only the production that is already occurring, but the amount of surplus capacity that has been built up throughout the course of the downturn,? she said. ?Right now, we?re at about three billion [barrels] and we?re not able to draw down on these inventories in a significant way until next year.?

Those aren?t great market fundamentals to support a huge oil price increase, but there is movement toward a $55-$60 oil price environment, she added.

Assuming the price trough of $26 oil in Feb. 2016 is the lowest the industry will see this downturn, Philip said typically it will take two or three quarters to see drilling pick back up, which is happening now. Two or three quarters after that, we?ll see an uptick in hiring.

?We?re not going to see a huge hiring binge. As the industry recovers, significant hiring is still being held off,? Philip said. ?The concern with energy industry hiring is that a lot of the technological advances that were employed during the downturn actually cannibalized human capital. The projects that were hiring were the ones looking at technologies to take people out of the workforce.?

Similar to adjusted expectations to the rig count and oil price, the industry has to adjust its expectation of the head count post-downturn.

Moving into 2017 and 2018, Houston isn?t expecting to see a recovery like it did coming out of the Great Recession in 2009, said Philip.

?What took us into the Great Recession was a financial crisis,? she said. ?What took us into this downturn was specifically about energy. Houston?s employment continued to grow, even with the volatility of oil prices.?

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WorkforceNEXT Q&A: Talking with Jamie

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Jamie Belinne, SPHR
Assistant Dean, Rockwell Career Center
Enactus Sam Walton Fellow
C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston

Inspirational speaker and educator helping people embrace change, diversity and growth.
Jamie?s specialties include managing generational differences, leveraging interpersonal style differences on teams, enjoying and promoting diversity, Millennial and Gen Z career development, negotiations, recruiting, onboarding, conflict resolution and women?s leadership issues.

What are the best practices you?re seeing among energy companies who hire college graduates?
The best companies are realistic about the cyclical nature of the industry, and they know entry-level hiring will be one of the first things to pick up when things improve. As a result, the best companies are staying involved on campus with branding activities, even if they?re not hiring much or at all. We?re seeing more energy companies volunteering to guest lecture, presenting to student organizations, helping with mock interviews and resume reviews, and sponsoring leadership and diversity programs that aren?t focused on hiring.

Should companies be on campus if they?re not hiring?
Don?t attend career fairs or host interviews if you?re not hiring. But it?s important to keep a strong brand on campus to position you for future hiring. The best companies are currently doing programs that target freshmen and sophomores so those students will feel a strong connection to the company when they are graduating and entry-level hiring has improved again. Otherwise, you risk being forgotten, and you won?t get the top candidates when you return in the future.

As Gen Z starts to enter internships, what can we expect?
I survey thousands of college students each year, and Gen Z is definitely different from the Millennials.  Gen Z is very comfortable solving problems independently and even implementing their own ideas with limited involvement or oversight from others. For this reason, it?s important that new hires are very clear on what types of things need approval prior to moving forward. It is also important to be very clear on what information can and cannot be shared, and with whom, and under what circumstances. This is a generation that has been very successful through crowdsourcing, so they are less likely than the Millennials to seek approval before asking questions or testing ideas outside of their own departments.

How should you attract Gen Z to the energy industry?
As with the Millennials, it is still important to tie your company?s work and mission to a larger meaning.  The more you can talk about how your company is improving the world and the lives of people in it, the more exciting you are as an employer.  Social entrepreneurship is big with this generation, so showing how your company impacts the ?triple bottom line? (people, profit, planet) is critical. The students also want to see a family atmosphere in their potential employers. Team-building activities and co-workers who socialize are big perks for younger hires. They no-longer expect work-life balance as much as work-life integration. They may play Pokemon Go at their desks on occasion, but they will also bring work home and work on projects after hours.

Get to know the HR Pro

What ?lesson from Mom? do you still live by today?
Find something nice to say. Complaining and gossiping never got anyone anywhere.

If you could spend a week anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I?d love to visit the Galapagos Islands and see all of the unusual wildlife.

What?s the worst mistake you ever made in life that taught you a valuable lesson?
I took a job right out of college, just because it was in my field, without really thinking critically about the company. It was a terrible fit for my values system, and I cried all the way to work every day. That decision has made me passionate about making sure other college students don?t make the same mistake I did!

Prior to her position as Assistant Dean for Career Services at the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, she managed Recruiting and Staffing at The University of Texas at Austin. Earlier at UT, she built McCombs? first MBA Career Services group.

She is a founding member of the global MBA Career Services and Employers Alliance. She is the recipient of the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2012 Professional Change Maker Award and the 2013 Innovation Excellence Award in Diversity Programming for one of her books on career development. She is also an Ironman and a mother of two.

Building Your ROI Case: Q&A with Dr. Brett Richard

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Dr. Brett Richard, Manager, HR & Organizational Effectiveness, Sasol

Q: Why is ROI important for HR Leaders to Consider?

A: Challenging the HR Community to think in terms of ROI specifically focuses on how Energy HR Leaders are using ROI to show senior executives and other stakeholders the value of human capital in today?s marketplace. If HR Leaders are not considering ROI surrounding their programs during this challenging cost containment environment, then they are at risk for losing key initiatives and programs for a variety of areas.

HR Leaders must be cutting edge to be effective for today?s marketplace, and learning how to establish and prove ROI is an important skillset to stay at the forefront of this industry.

Q: What is the key first step in building the ROI case?

A: There are two primary steps that should be taken for each program that you want to apply a ROI case to improve or save the program.

The first step is setting the stage with management and creating the value proposition.

Preparing/Creating the Value:

? Getting buy-in and persuading senior management
? How to structure an ROI program for maximum effectiveness
? Understanding the value that senior management places on various programs
? How to extract the specific value propositions that will make an ROI analysis effective

Q: How do you isolate the ROI for a specific program?

A: The isolation step involves determining the specific metric that will help the HR Leader to establish ROI. Without this metric the case cannot be calculated and measured.

Placing a Metric that can establish ROI:

? Identifying the primary metric
? Calculating the effect of a measurable program
? Numerous ways you can calculate ROI- not every method works for each program
? Controlling the variables and understanding challenges or flaws in the ROI process

Q: Which types of programs work well with establishing an ROI case?

A: The ROI analysis can be used with almost any program that allows the HR leader to establish a primary metric and then calculate the effect of the measurable program. However, not every method of calculating ROI works for each program. This has been used effectively with training programs, benefit programs such as day care or wellness have also been showcased with an ROI analysis.

How Big Data and Analytics can REALLY be used to establish and grow your HR programs.

Trade Show Leader: Stone Fort Group’s Sean Guerre

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Sean Guerre is a media entrepreneur and currently is the co-founder of Stone Fort Group- a Live Event & Digital Media startup serving b2b communities in the Energy, Transportation and Workforce/HR markets.

His claim to fame is serving as a former chairman of the Society of Independent Show Organizers, and he has been a keynote presenter and speaker at SISO, IAEE, Folio, Niche EventFest and CEIR Predict.

Prior to founding Stone Fort Group, he co-founded TradeFair Group (energy media), which was sold in 2012 to private equity firm Veronis, Suhler & Stevenson.

Guerre graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a BBA/Marketing, lives in Houston with his wife Katy and 2 daughters. He has served on the boards of SISO, St. Cecilia Catholic Church, Southeast Media and Pink Petro.

He is passionate about launching live events, new digital media brands, startups, running, cycling, craft beer and spending time with his family.

Guerre’s favorite quote aptly captures his sense of humour as well: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” – Mike Tyson.

He took some time to tell us how he got started in trade shows and to give some witty wise words.

TSNN: How did you get started in the industry?

Sean Guerre: I was fortunate enough to have a fraternity brother who was working at an oil & gas publisher launching a trade show group. He asked me to come over from my current job…selling fax machines…I think I made the right choice 😉 We had an awesome adventure building and growing shows for them in the US and then globally. After a few years we jumped over to our own startup to manage and build shows for ourselves and I have never looked back!

TSNN: How different was the industry when you started, compared with today?

Guerre: As you can guess from my 25 year-old starting point, all of the tech was built well after I started in the trade show business. Rolodexes, phone calls and foam core floor plans were the norm…and fax machines of course! Print marketing/Direct Mail was king and business moved at a slower pace. Everyone worked in the office and there weren’t many shows held by corporations, mostly association and some for-profit. The majority of events were horizontal and focused on major industries and large segments.

It is a much faster business pace today with instant feedback from digital ads, social media and the ubiquitous email. It is easier to test a new event concept and determine the likelihood of its success with the marketplace. The ability to connect with a marketplace is also significantly easier through all the channels that exist in today’s trade show industry. Our teams work virtually, they are global, and events serve key niches regularly.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the focus of bringing a community together to share knowledge and have buyers and sellers trade challenges and solutions.

TSNN: What are some of the lessons you have learned being a part of this industry?

Guerre: I have been incredibly fortunate to have had strong mentors in the trade show business right from the start, and the lessons they have taught me are priceless. Sharing information is something that you rarely see in business, but in the event business it happens everyday and makes us all stronger.

David Johnson, my first boss, showed me this business and all the possibilities of how we can serve a market need, which is the only real reason you should launch an event.

Michael Hough, Denyse Selesnick and Lew Shomer showed me how to profitably launch and build a trade show as a small company without any real investment, but with passion for a market.

Don Pazour taught me how to be gracious, grow a business to the next level, make it more profitable…all at the same time.

David Audrain, Joel Davis, Phil McKay, Scott Goldman, John Failla, Carl Landau and so many more from my experience at SISO are a constant set of sharing peers that give me great counsel on launching & building our events.

TSNN: What is your favorite part of being in the industry?

Guerre: There are actually 2 fave parts for me:

1.     The people! I truly love the great people I have met in the trade show industry. From the folks in the industries we serve, the awesome teams who made our shows successful over the years, and of course the great people who are all part of the trade show industry.

2.     Shows! That feeling you get when you start a show from scratch with your team. Finding the market need, developing the relationships, creating the marketplace and then seeing it all come to life…it is one of the most magical experiences that one can have.

TSNN: Anything you miss that you wish was still around?

Guerre: I’m a pretty optimistic person and stay focused on the present and future, so honestly there isn’t anything I really miss from the past, it was all a great adventure. If I had to pin down one item…I do kinda miss those big foam core backed floorplans. It was just cool to see them around the office every day, get colored in as booths were sold, contracted and collected $$$. Salesforce Reports and Online Floorplans don’t have quite the same feel.

TSNN: Anything you are thrilled went away?

Guerre: Fax machines!

TSNN: What do you hope your personal impact on the industry is?

Guerre: Hopefully I have given back at least a small amount back for what the industry has given me, which has been tremendous. I will continue to strive to give back, help new folks entering the industry, give advice and time to young entrepreneurs and promote the live event industry as a fantastic marketing channel for b2b marketers.

TSNN: Any wise words about what this industry means to you overall?

Guerre: I’m not sure this is wisdom but here are 2 quotes that I love which sum up much of what I have learned as a 25 year veteran in the trade show industry:

· “Anytime someone throws money at you…don’t duck!”- Sheldon Adelson

· “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face”- Mike Tyson