Creating a Human Resources strategy for an integrated energy utility

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Marchment Hill Consulting’s (MHC) client, an Asian-based integrated energy utility, sought assistance to formulate a human resources (HR) roadmap, strategy framework, as well as key initiatives to address a series of workforce-related issues. These issues included:

  • Limited connectivity between future plans for recruitment, training and development, and the future works program.
  • Rapidly changing mix of activities in works programs requiring a change to the traditional skills and resources available in utilities.
  • A distinct lag in identifying a need for a particular resource type, to when that need is filled (e.g. training apprentices/interns to specialise in today’s priorities rather than future business priorities when their apprenticeships/internships are complete).
  • A heavily skewed workforce (particularly in technical areas) in older age brackets, representing challenges in retirements, knowledge management and succession.

MHC was engaged to:

  • Conduct current state analysis of human resources competency and capacity,
  • Confirm the workforce needs through guiding analysis and consultation,
  • Work together with the HR group to develop a series of strategies to meet the future workforce needs,
  • Document these into a strategy and road map, and
  • Build internal support for the initiatives more broadly across the business.

The engagement began with a review and analysis of the client’s existing workforce issues, to understand the nature of the challenge. MHC then conducted a series of interviews with the HR Management Team, the Executive and other Managers to collect comments and inputs on the identified workforce issues. Following this, MHC documented the priority issues (i.e. those of strategic importance) facing the business – at both Corporate and Business Group levels.

Fig 1 CLP

Figure 1: MHC’s approach involved an initial assessment, followed by the development of an HR strategy

Utilising our past experience and contact networks, a research and benchmarking study was also conducted with a range of utilities and other sizable companies facing similar workforce issues, seeking insights and experiences transferable to the client’s current situation. Finally, MHC developed a five-year HR Strategy Roadmap to address the issues identified, along with a set of corresponding HR initiatives.

Fig 2 CLP

Figure 2: Utilities work and resource breakdown structures were developed, utilising MHC’s past experience and contact networks within comparable businesses.

Our client gained:

  • Identification and quantification of human resource risks.
  • Recommendations on workforce planning initiatives to address Training & Development activities for future workforce needs.
  • Recommended processes to enable improved resourcing and sourcing decision-making by providing supporting data and facts.
  • A baseline against which to consider resourcing demands, thereby objectively justifying changes to the workforce.
  • Alignment at executive level around the need for change and the timeline of actions to support the strategic plan.
  • Clear responsibilities and accountabilities to facilitate stronger relationships and connections between the HR branch and long-term planning functions of the organisation (i.e. Asset Management and Strategy/Regulation).
  • Relationship building and knowledge sharing amongst staff by sharing data, information and process.