How to attract and nurture talent in the renewable energy sector

Relevant specialist knowledge and skills are vital to success in this growing industry. Lee Clarke at Dynama outlines three ways strategic workforce planning will help to boost competency while championing diversity and inclusivity in the renewable energy sector.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) eleven million people around the world were employed by the renewable energy sector in 2018.

This represents an increase of 700,000 jobs from 2017, growing nearly 7% in just one year. However, finding suitable highly skilled individuals is a formidable challenge and one that has caught the attention of the UK offshore wind industry in particular.

Why renewable energy

Recently, the Offshore Wind Industry Council announced plans to create a new task force to boost skills for this rapidly growing sector which is expected to generate at least one-third of the UK’s electricity by 2030. Critical to success is championing a diverse and inclusive culture to attract the best people from the widest pool of talent.

At the same time, the sector has attracted large numbers of people from other offshore industries who are looking for a career in the sustainable energy market. The Investment in Talent Group is one of the first to recognize this trend. It is developing an offshore energy passporting system to ensure that all parts of the energy sector recognise transferable skills and training, to enable offshore workers to move seamlessly between renewables and other technologies.

Strategic workforce planning for sustainable business success

While these projects have a progressive outlook, they are likely to take time to build momentum, a luxury that fast-growing industries seeking new skills and talent don’t have.

This is where the benefits of strategic workforce planning come into their own, providing the speed and flexibility required to maximize human potential and accelerate business success.

The latest solutions are also well-placed to support organisations into the future, as the industry moves towards a hybrid workforce where intelligent humans and smart machines work more closely together. The trend is already beginning to happen as the adoption of advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, automation and robotics are radically changing the skills mix required in a blended workforce.

In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the areas that really matter when it comes to attracting and nurturing talent in the renewable energy sector.

Be a great place to work

With ambitions for diversity and inclusivity, renewable energy companies need to build the right environment to attract the brightest talent. An organisational model that actively sponsors and openly rewards high achievers, irrespective of race or gender is essential. Recognising and respecting diversity as part of the work ethic and values of a business is a start but, has to be followed up with actions including a commitment to fairness.

When building a workforce for the future remember that recruitment campaigns should emphasise the benefits that will appeal to all candidates, but focus on those of particular interest to all genders and ethnicities. For example, flexible working practices, transparent pay structures and paternity/maternity leave. Pitch the job correctly and the right people will come running.

Turn theory into practice through technical innovation

Here are three ways that the capabilities of strategic workforce planning technology can go beyond workforce management (WFM) to foster a positive, productive workplace:

1. Close the inequality gapthe Offshore Wind Sector Deal sets a target to double the proportion of women in the industry to one-third by 2030 while a target for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation will be announced by the end of the year. Technology holds the secret to making this a reality.

The latest strategic workforce planning solutions link seamlessly with critical HR databases and ERP systems to provide a complete view of all employees. Details such as gender, age, career and pay history, past roles and future aspirations are presented in real-time making it easy to source and match candidates against current vacancies and then develop efficient WFM schedules to match.

It is also possible to turn this information into valuable insight by conducting ‘what if’ scenarios and through the use of key metric dashboards and forecasting to make sure the balance of skills and mix of staff is meeting the business requirements.

2. Promote enduring workforce relationships between employee and employer – to attract and then keep the very best talent. Use strategic workforce planning technology to create a comprehensive skills matrix that instantly identifies staff competencies, qualifications and experience. At the click of a button, be able to highlight skills, gender or race equality gaps and build timely, relevant training programs.

At a glance, managers can quickly assess an employee’s suitability for promotion based on their grade, past performance and current skill sets to create meaningful career pathways. In this way, renewable energy companies can show they really care about planning for the future and so build a positive, long-term relationship between employee and employer.

3. Self-serve your way to workforce sustainability – by keeping top talent motivated through the introduction of self-service. Employees simply log onto a secure online portal to update their personal information, view their schedules, book time off and receive notifications of changes to their schedules or documentation requirements. With a clear view of their own schedules and those of their colleagues, employees see that everyone gets an equitable number of the most unpopular shifts. They can also track their training schedules, request specific training and even conduct their learning online to achieve personal career goals.

There is an exciting future ahead in the renewable energy sector. Attracting and nurturing the right talent is essential to its success. Championing diversity and inclusivity with the help of a strategic workforce planning solution will ensure the right people are in the right place, at the right time to make the most of the opportunity.

About the Author
Lee Clarke is General Manager, US/EMEA at Dynama, an Allocate Software company and leading provider of strategic workforce planning software.

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