CHAL­LENGE AC­CEPTED

HOW EN­ER­PLUS HR EX­EC­U­TIVE LISA OWER TURNED AROUND A COR­PO­RATE CUL­TURE BE­SET BY AN IDEN­TITY CRI­SIS, MI­CRO­MAN­AGE­MENT AND A COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS BREAK­DOWN

Alberta Oil - - OBSERVER NEWS NUMBERS PEOPLE PLACES -

When Lisa Ower ar­rived at En­er­plus in early 2014, she was pre­sented with a for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge. Af­ter all, she was en­ter­ing a work­place that lacked a clear iden­tity, faced a com­mu­ni­ca­tions gap at both the ex­ec­u­tive and man­age­rial lev­els and had a medi­ocre level of em­ployee en­gage­ment. Worst of all, per­haps, its se­nior man­agers were floun­der­ing amid a hos­tile cul­ture of mi­cro­man­age­ment and a gen­eral feel­ing that they were un­equipped with the tools and strate­gies they needed to lead.

In her ini­tial in­ter­view, Ower pressed the CEO on what spe­cific trait or abil­ity he was seek­ing in Hu­man Re­sources. The an­swer: He was look­ing for an injection of “awe­some” – pas­sion and in­no­va­tion and for­ward-think­ing – and it just so hap­pens that “awe­some” is pre­cisely what Ower de­liv­ers.

What does that mean in the con­text of an oil and gas com­pany’s HR depart­ment? For Ower, who has a mas­ter’s de­gree in psy­chol­ogy, it means hav­ing the abil­ity to as­sess in­di­vid­u­als, hone in on their needs, iden­tify which skills and abil­i­ties have been un­der­used and cre­ate a space where each per­son feels em­pow­ered to en­gage, ex­per­i­ment and grow. She doesn’t try to de­ter­mine what makes ev­ery per­son tick. In­stead, Ower works to iden­tify what needs to change in or­der for a whole work­place to click. It’s this grasp of how to best en­able in­di­vid­u­als, in com­bi­na­tion with a firm be­lief in col­lab­o­ra­tion, con­sul­ta­tion and data-driven de­ci­sion mak­ing, which al­lowed her to suc­cess­fully over­haul En­er­plus’s out­dated cul­ture and re­place it with a mod­ern, col­lab­o­ra­tive work en­vi­ron­ment. That meant some ma­jor changes to what had been a con­ven­tional white-col­lar work­place. For ex­am­ple, trust be­came a lead­ing tenet of the new cul­ture, and so it seemed coun­ter­in­tu­itive to con­tinue im­pos­ing an ex­haus­tive set of em­ployee rules. Polic­ing at­tire, for in­stance, was not sug­ges­tive of mu­tual trust, so the work­place dress code was shelved.

Un­der Ower’s guid­ance, En­er­plus moved away from the tra­di­tional va­ca­tion pol­icy, in­stead em­brac­ing a re­sults-ori­ented strat­egy called OUR­time that en­cour­aged em­ploy­ees to pur­sue a health­ier work-life bal­ance through day-to-day flex­i­bil­ity. Un­der this sys­tem, the num­ber of hours worked were no longer the fo­cus. In­stead, it was all about the qual­ity of the re­sults that those hours yielded. When

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.