Let’s face it: Even as we move into the new year, small, midsize and large drilling companies alike continue to face a war for talent. Those employees with unique skillsets and experience (such as drillers) have many enticing career options, and expectations of the workforce have changed significantly over the past 2 to 5 years. The best talent is no longer satisfied with a competitive hourly pay rate and benefits.

This competitive landscape and the evolution of workforce needs have caused drilling companies to reevaluate how they recruit and retain the best employees. In today’s article, I’ll highlight a few basic dos and don’ts for keeping your top drillers motivated, productive and engaged.

Process Efficiency

A lack of efficient processes is one of the primary reasons that great employees leave an organization. Without good processes, you struggle to recruit top talent to your company. Take time to evaluate your recruiting process from start to finish for inefficiencies. Equally important: Know timeline benchmarks within your industry and strive to align with them. Such benchmarks might include the time from when a candidate applies hiring, or from hiring to day 1.

Process efficiency remains important even after a new employee starts. One of the biggest mistakes leaders make? To stop recruiting their new employees once they’ve come onboard. Don’t get complacent in the fact that you’ve found the right person for the job! Once the employee begins the onboarding, continue to find ways to ensure the process remains smooth and efficient.

Rethink Training

Training for new employees can take many shapes and forms across drilling organizations. Some companies have a strong focus on Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards, while others might emphasize on-the-job training. Some organizations may have a flatter hierarchy, while others may be vertical. Smaller companies may embrace mentorship opportunities, while larger companies might offer formal training classes.

Ensure you have the right people in place to facilitate the training, and that those individuals understand the critical role training plays in retaining employees.

Whatever strategy your organization takes when it comes to training new employees, be sure that you get the most bang for your buck. A good training program mixes classroom-based and on-the-job training. Ensure you have the right people in place to facilitate the training, and that those individuals understand the critical role training plays in retaining employees.

You Never Know Unless You Ask!

One of the easiest ways to improve your recruiting and retention process? Ask for feedback from new (and existing) employees. For the most useful feedback about your recruitment process, consider surveying employees around 30 days post-hire. To gain more insights about your company’s onboarding program and process efficiencies, try a survey at 90 days post-hire. Last, consider implementing an engagement and/or pulse survey at regular intervals for all employees. Typical intervals for these surveys include every 6 months, year or 2 years.

If survey participation has historically been low within your organization, consider using incentives to boost excitement around survey completion. Most important, communicate with employees about the purpose of survey information. If you roll out a new initiative or program to the organization, be sure to share if that initiative resulted from direct employee feedback.

We all know it isn’t simple or easy to find talent in the drilling industry nowadays. Many organizations continue to search for and implement outside-the-box solutions to finding talent, then utilize ever-more creative ways to entice that talent to join their organization and stay long term. By following these few simple do’s and don’ts, you can help drive retention for your company and keep your drillers engaged!