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The essential guide to talent sustainability – Part Two

Hydrocarbon Engineering,


Engineering excellence is a crucial business differentiator for many small to medium sized companies. Large operators are under enormous pressure today to meet tighter project timetables. However, the process of evaluating staff performance and setting clear goals is often an under estimated discipline. Sometimes the practice of establishing clearly defining targets and reviewing career goals can be conducted with little attention in a highly pressured, time constrained environment. Evaluation is a two-way process. It is an opportunity for the employer to assess performance and acknowledge added-value achievements and for the employee to express viewpoints and benchmark their skills against the industry standards to identify areas for improvement. Evaluation also builds loyalty. Implementing comprehensive programmes across the main areas of the business and assigning key business performance indicators helps to assess results. Through transparent metrics and realistic goal setting, both employers and employees can set clear expectations to best manage career aspirations. Companies need to constantly measure workforce performance and analyse measurements to keep talent strategies aligned to business goals and deliver results.

Crucially, the process of evaluation ensures staff are adding immediate value to projects and maintaining safety standards that deliver reliable, quality engineering to tackle complex projects.


Many companies succeed in business by building strong networks with industry leaders and professional institutions. Greater interaction brings greater benefits. Both individuals and employers will gain at all career stages. Ultimately, it is the proactive engagement of companies with eminent leaders, government and industry bodies that will help to nurture and reward chemical engineers across oil and gas, chemicals, manufacturing, engineering, construction and much more. Industry bodies, such as IChemE for example, build and sustain an active international professional community, united by a commitment to qualifications and standards that foster engineering excellence.

Networking helps connect the right people to discuss how to develop innovative ideas and feasible solutions that will address the increasing needs of the oil, gas and petrochemical industries and strengthen a collaborative approach to developing professional talent within the industry. From trade associations to industry events, trade communications to social media, networking nurtures positive interaction and entrepreneurialism.


Investment in technology is a strategic basis for harnessing talent and building expertise in key disciplines. Essentially, providing staff with the appropriate tools will enable individuals to demonstrate their skills and efficiently meet the tasks aligned to the company goals.

Today’s generation of engineers embrace technology having witnessed a world where the use of software, mobile devices and cloud-based solutions are prevalent in all aspects of life. The use of intuitive optimisation software, for example, helps to improve decision-making and provides younger engineers with easy-to-use functionality including, state-of-the art visual analysis and powerful process design to reduce energy usage, minimise capital operating costs and improve product yield.

Many companies have adopted AspenTech’s aspenONE software to achieve operational excellence increasing capacity, improving margins, reducing costs, becoming more energy efficient, ensuring safety and shrinking their carbon footprint. With aspenONE, new and occasional users have become proficient faster and experienced users can do more. This is critical for process industry companies facing workforce development and skills shortages.

Process optimisation software helps to build efficiencies in the processes undertaken by engineers, so the development process of less skilled operators can use the tools to achieve the necessary tasks.


There is a clear need for a sustained approach to capturing, nurturing and retaining knowledge for the long-term future of the process industries. T.A.L.E.N.T. is a model that is scalable and can be used as a guide to address skills issues that exist in the industry today. This is not a linear journey – it is an on-going dynamic process that helps improve operational efficiencies and maximise profitability.

If we are to mitigate a skills shortfall across the process industries, then we need to apply best practice to the process of talent sustainability – from developing skills that will model our plants, through to operational management of highly technical and complex projects. The next generation of talented engineers will build our communities, develop infrastructure, design and construct new roads, inspire creativity in chemicals and manage our manufacturing industries.

Executing an integrated T.A.L.E.N.T. model and aligning it with the overall business strategy will allow process industry businesses to reap the rewards of enhanced loyalty and productivity, establishing a clear vision for transforming the way companies optimise their biggest asset – people.

Written by Paul Taylor, AspenTech.Edited by Katie Woodward

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