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WorkforceNEXT Energy Insights: Talking with Mary

WorkforceNEXT Energy Insights: Talking with Mary

Posted By: Westleigh Cutts.

Mary Patterson PHR, SHRM-CP
Director of HR, Chief of Staff and Administration
B&W Energy Services 

Mary is a Human Resources Professional and Leader with a unique mix of experience in Mergers & Acquisitions, Talent Acquisition, Compensation and Benefits. She is experienced in delivering HR solutions across multiple industries globally, including manufacturing and distribution, consumer goods, distribution, financial services, energy and oil and gas. Most of all, she is able to build effective relationships from entry-level employees to senior executives.

What hiring techniques do you use in the energy industry? What is working now versus what has worked in the past, what will work in the future?
We always treat our candidates like they are extremely important to us because we understand the cost associated with each hire. We have a very strong mentoring program and the younger generation responds very well to this type of culture – so we promote that often. We use niche job boards for certain positions.   

What is your biggest challenge as a human resources professional in the energy industry, and what are you doing to address it?  
For positions that are not energy specific such as IT, HR, Accounting, Finance, etc., there are certain people who automatically turn down the opportunity to interview even before they find out it is an upstream, downstream or midstream company. We find ourselves discussing our total compensation package versus an employer outside of the energy industry.

What does the future of the workplace look like?
I can only envision the future of the workplace being far more casual than it is even today with more flexibility on remote working. How can we prepare for the next generation in the workplace? We have to find a way to connect the next generation to the work, the goals and the mission of the company by restructuring their job for them to have exposure to more than just their area. As HR Professionals, we always need to find a way to keep our employees focused on the mission of the company so that they understand their role in helping the company reach its goals.

How do you facilitate communication and a positive work culture in your company?
It is so important to keep the lines of communication open – for efficiency as well as for quality of work. In HR, we utilize our resources to get the word out on important items when there is not a company announcement or scheduled meetings. We always try to share important topics with managers so they can communicate to their teams.

How do we keep an engaged and committed organization when the going gets tough?
1) COMMUNICATE! If times are tough, employees are talking so we have to communicate the future vision of the company, how the company will survive, the rationale behind any restructuring or layoffs, and each employee’s role.
2) We also need to praise and value individual employee contributions because people want to be part of a winning team – so we show them how their individual efforts impact the company.
3) Provide training and cross training.

Get to know the HR Pro

What’s the most unusual place you have visited?
I went to Thailand’s Chiang Mai in the early 1990’s and although beautiful, most places did not have running toilets. The outhouses they did have for the public to use had toilets that were 2 inches off of the ground. It was an amazing trip and I spent four days in that part of the country, but it was an adjustment.  

If you weren’t doing what you do today, what other job would you have?
I would be working at a magazine – Vanity Fair, Vogue, etc. Somewhere with great fashion and great articles.

What “lesson from mom” do you still live by today?  
My mother always said, “if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.” I always find myself biting my tongue.

I would really like to go on an overseas mission trip with my church. I have many friends that have said that these trips are so spiritually rewarding and they feel so fulfilled when they return home. They have a different perspective on life after these trips.

And don’t forget to mark your calendars for March 29 — our tenth event, the WorkforceNEXT Energy Summit — will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Houston. This Q&A is just a preview of the topics that will be discussed among the over 200 HR executives that will be attending to hear more about the future of HR in the energy industry. We hope to see you there!

*Ever wonder what perspectives colleagues in your segment of Energy might offer? Would you like to participate in a Q&A to share your point of view? We want to encourage you to engage with your Energy community all year ‘round, not just at our Summits — connect with me with questions you want answered or to volunteer for a Q&A Insight Article.