If you asked me a year ago if I thought our field employees at Marathon Oil were competent in their jobs, I would have probably said yes. How could they not be? We have been exploring for and producing oil and natural gas for 128 years and we have been very successful. Fast forward to September of 2015 and ask me the same question and my answer would be definite. Yes, our field employees are competent, but now I know exactly what that means.
In December of 2014, we began a project to document the qualifications of our field employees and define a clear path to train them. This task had been attempted before but had never been fully implemented across the entire organization. Our task was to understand the current state of our field employees’ competency, define what qualification should look like, and create a process to document the current state and communicate the path to qualification for our employees. This process needed to be transparent, effective and efficient.
To understand what “qualified” meant, we needed to define all the competencies for each role in the field. We gathered Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from selected disciplines and facilitated several exercises to determine the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) that would be required for each role to be considered qualified. These KSAs became the competencies for each role and defined what “qualified” looked like.
With the future state defined, next, we needed to understand how qualified each employee currently was. To accomplish this, each field employee conducted a self-assessment against the defined competencies for their role. This assessment was then validated by their supervisor or an SME through a practical exercise consisting of questioning, white board exercises, simulations or field demonstrations. This gave us the current qualifications of these field employees, and also highlighted any gaps in training that needed to be filled.
All that was left was to document all of this data so we had a transparent view of the competencies for each field employee. This is where Kahuna came in. In the past, we relied on books to house the checklists and training resources for each role, and the documentation of their training was put on paper, or in some cases was never documented. I believe this is where our biggest opportunity for success with this project lies. Using Kahuna, we created roles for the distinct positions our employees were filling in the field. Each role was assigned the identified competencies, and then the data from the validated self-assessments were entered into the system. The result is a clear view of employee qualifications in a visual dashboard allowing us to understand their strengths as well as opportunities for further training. This dashboard view can be customized on the spot to reflect a single employee, an entire asset, or the entire company with a few clicks of the mouse.
So what’s next? Our goal is to capture every technical role in Kahuna to have a complete picture of the competencies of our Marathon Oil workforce.