It Is All about Human Resources

06.09.2014
Antipinsky Oil Refinery is a modern enterprise. It uses the most advanced solutions and technologies and state-of-the-art equipment. Therefore, says Elena Polyakova, Deputy Director General (Human Resources) of Antipinsky Oil Refinery CJSC, we set strict requirements in terms of the employees’ skills and proficiency. 

— Elena Vyacheslavovna, when Antipinsky Oil Refinery CJSC was first set up, HR documents were managed by an administrative assistant. Now, the refinery has a whole HR Directorate. How much broader are its tasks compared to simple document management?

— Antipinsky Oil Refinery CJSC was established in the summer of 2004. At the time, we had no more than 50 people on staff, so there was no need for an HR department. It was not until the end of 2006, when the headcount reached 252 people, that the HR department was set up.

As the refinery developed, it required more staff. By the end of 2010, the refinery’s personnel numbered 600 people resulting in the need to build the processes governing work organization, use of working time, planning of the enterprises organizational and payroll structure, as well as labor costs. Therefore, it was a perfectly logical decision at the time to set up a labor and payroll department.

The HR Directorate was established in 2011. Over the last three years, there have been many developments chiefly attributable to the growth of production capacity and the resulting changes in the company’s needs. The directorate’s operating processes were shaping up and the number of functions performed by our specialists kept growing. Finally, an optimal HR Directorate structure comprising HR Documents Management Department, Labor Organization and Motivation Department, and HR Management Department was formed.

These departments plan, organize and implement HR processes required for the operation of the refinery in strict and full compliance with applicable law of the Russian Federation and the company’s internal regulatory instruments.

— Elena Vyacheslavovna, HR Department’s duties are quite obvious — making documents when an employee is hired or dismissed, but what kind of work do specialists of other departments do?

— It is not all that simple as far as the HR Department is concerned. All the units interact very closely. Just to give you a simple example: in order to hire a new employee, there must be a vacancy. The staff schedule is compiled by the Labor Organization and Motivation Department. The HR Management Department pre-selects candidates, conducts the final selection with the head of the relevant unit and assists the selected candidate up to the point of formalizing employment relations with him/her, which is done by the HR Documents Management Department. Once the newcomer has taken the job, all three departments will attend to his/her employment matters during the entire term of employment with the company.

In 2013, in compliance with the archival legislation, the company put together its HR documents archive, compiled a register of HR files comprising almost 340 files, conducted expert evaluation of the documents value.

In 2014, a register comprising almost 360 files was compiled. In 2013, over 400  job descriptions and almost 50 regulations on various units were developed and approved.

The development and implementation of a stepwise system to create the conditions for continuous and successful work of existing employees and attracting new talent is the responsibility of the Labor Organization and motivation Department.

In 2012, Regulations on Employee Incentives were developed, and since then 50 employees have already been awarded for their work. Last year, the refinery put up the Honors Board, which featured the pictures of its 20 best employees.

The Honors Board is the most important stage of the motivation system: the refinery’s units nominate their candidates according to the principle of merit, the nomination is followed by a comprehensive evaluation procedure and finalizing the candidates with the Employee Council. The Regulations provide for cash payments in recognition of employees’ merits and conferment of the title of “Honored Employee of Antipinsky Oil Refinery CJSC”.

We are now gathering information for the nomination of candidates whose pictures will be put up on the Honors Board this fall.

We are planning to complete our work involving coordination and approval of the Regulations on the “Best in Profession” Review Contests, whereupon we will be able to organize and hold review contests not only to identify the most qualified employee representing a relevant profession, but also to provide the participants an opportunity to exchange experience and learn new working methods.

— In May, the new collective bargaining agreement was approved. What role did the HR Directorate play in its development?

— We took charge of developing the draft of the new collective bargaining agreement and annexes to it, worked in close cooperation with the Employee Council, Chief Engineer, Deputy Director General (General Administration), Chief Accountant, specialists and executives of the Legal Directorate, Planning and Economic Affairs Department, Industrial and Occupational Safety Directorate. The new Regulations on Employee Compensation and Financial Incentives is attached to the collective bargaining agreement.

— On what matters does the directorate headed by you interact with the Employee Council?

— We maintain ongoing and close cooperation with the Employee Council on finalizing work time schedules, drafting internal regulatory instruments (regulations, standards, work procedures), conducting staff morale surveys.

A lot of work is done in close cooperation with the Employee Council on an ongoing basis with regard to finalizing candidates to be nominated for rewards, awards from the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Antipinsky Oil Refinery CJSC, state and industry awards, and inducted onto the Honors Board.

— Elena Vyacheslavovna, what new decisions have been made with regard to the compensation and incentives system? What are the main changes in the benefits package offered by the refinery?

— The HR Directorate is trying to use advanced technologies of labor organization and motivation to increase the attractiveness of our enterprise in the labor market and ensure its competitiveness.

The compensation system remained unchanged in the new Regulations on Employee Compensation and Financial Incentives, but the Regulations did specify the main indicators of the enterprise’s production and business performance, employee individual performance indicators to be used for the evaluation of monthly performance results and bonus accruals.

The new Regulations on Employee Compensation and Financial Incentives provides for an additional childcare allowance to be paid to families with children under three years of age out of the refinery’s funds. The document also provides for the most discussed payment everybody waited for — one-off leave allowance.

The policy includes nine new types of bonuses: for developing and introducing new technologies; promoting inventive and rationalization activities; commissioning of new or upgraded capacities and facilities; participating in sports competition; to Honored Mentors; employees awarded Certificates of Appreciation, Letters of Recognition; employees whose pictures are put up on the Honors Board; in honor of the refinery’s professional holiday – Oil, Gas and Fuel Industry Day; in honor of the refinery’s anniversary; to combat veterans for the Defender of the Motherland Day (February 23rd). Another provision added to the Policy is the allowance to single parents and families with three or more children. The amount of such allowance is “tied” to the minimum subsistence level in Tyumen for working age population.

Another important area is maintaining the employees’ professional longevity: the company reimburses part of the cost of their treatment at health resorts and children’s vacation expenses. The total amount of social benefits paid in 2013 grew by 22 percent against 2012, even though the company continued to develop and build new facilities, which required major capital investments.

The work we have done is paying off: we were able to provide employees for the facilities commissioned in January 2014, and continue recruiting staff for the facilities being built.

— How do you manage to find qualified specialists?


— Our quality management system is certified and we have our own policy in that area, we have determined our mission and strategic goal, we have the principles Antipinsky Oil Refinery CJSC is guided by. One of such principles is making sure that the company has highly qualified personnel provided with training and development options. This work is the responsibility of the HR Management Department.

We recruit highly qualified people and make sure they continue improving their skills by organizing training for workers, specialists and managers. Last year, courses at various training centers cost the refinery more than 2 million rubles, and this year already as much as 1.2 million rubles net of travelling allowances.

Specialists having necessary knowledge, skills and experience are not always available in the labor market of Tyumen and Tyumen Region.

Therefore, we decided to develop our own internal training programs. In May 2013, the refinery set up its own training facility, obtained a license to carry out educational activities in three professional training programs: chemical water purification technician, waste treatment facility operator and chemical laboratory assistant.

Since then, five groups have been trained: chemical water purification technician — 1 group; waste treatment facility operator — 2 groups; chemical laboratory assistant — 2 groups. On completion of the course, the trainees were assigned grades and received work permits.

The training is provided by highly qualified Antipinsky Oil Refinery CJSC employees and external teachers and trainers.

— Are you planning to increase the number of educational programs?

— We are doing that, the list of programs is constantly expanding. We develop professional training programs that do not exist in Russian training centers or are held extremely, rarely if ever.

In the last six months, specialists of the HR management department together with heads of production units developed six more professional training programs: loading operator, process unit repair technician, process pump operator, process unit operator, process compressor operator, pipeline walker.

However, there are many other options for professional and career growth that can be implemented at the refinery. For those employees who grow professionally, actively develop, study the equipment they work with and want to improve their skills, the refinery has set up a Staff Review Commission conducting employee assessments to assign them grades or promote them to higher grades.

Any employee may apply for an assessment by the Staff Review Commission to be promoted to a higher grade. After a successful assessment, the employee may compete to fill in a higher-grade vacancy.

— Have there been any tangible results of that work yet?

— In 2013, we conducted 25 reviews, whereby 63 employees were assigned higher grades and 49 of them were promoted to higher positions. This year, we have already had 9 reviews, whereby 27 employees were assigned higher grades and 21 of them were promoted to higher positions.

— To reduce employee turnover, the reasons that force people to submit letters of resignation need to be addressed.  Does your Directorate care to find out why people leave the refinery?

— We want to have objective information about why employees resign.  To reduce employee turnover, retain qualified specialists the company needs, adjust the recruitment process, specialists of the HR Document Management Department analyze information on the staff quantity and composition. Every resigning employee is asked to fill out a questionnaire. It helps to identify problem areas in the relationships between employees and the employer, obtain objective information about the reasons for resignation. The answers of resigning employees are taken into account in our work to retain qualified specialists the refinery needs.

— In the period of rapid headcount growth, it is essential to efficiently organize the onboarding system. Elena Vyacheslavovna, could you tell us about it please.

— The onboarding system consists of a series of successive steps, whereby a newly hired employee learns basic norms and rules used at the refinery, gets acquainted with colleagues, masters the system of professional knowledge and its use.

Not only does it reduce the period before a new employee can be allowed to work unsupervised, but also helps him/her to feel part of the team in less time. The HR Management Department is working very hard to improve the system.

The main objective of the first stage of the onboarding process is to help a new employee to grow familiar with the refinery as soon as possible and learn about its past, present and future. All newly hired employees receive a copy of the Antipinsky Oil Refinery CJSC New Employee Guide and attend a “Welcome to the Refinery” orientation class, where they receive information about the refinery’s history, its mission, strategic priorities and goals, as well as the products manufactured. They are certainly told about the Antipinsky Oil Refinery management team, its HR policy, professional training and career development opportunities, motivation programs and remuneration system, the Refinery’s sports, cultural and leisure activities. Special attention is paid to Antipinsky Oil Refinery’s social policy aimed at improving the quality of life of the employees and their families, financial support to those who found themselves in a difficult situation.

— As part of the onboarding process, the refinery has introduced a professional mentoring system.  What do the Regulations on Mentoring that came into effect in May this year provide for?

— Mentoring is certainly not a new concept. Earlier, all new employees had to take on-the-job training for 2 to 14 shifts. Now, a mentor is assigned to each newly hired employee for the entire probation period. This provision applies irrespective of the new employee’s initial professional level, whether he or she totally lacks the required skills or has extensive knowledge and experience.

The training is conducted at the employee’s place of work and is based on handling production tasks and situations arising in the course of work. The mentor shares his/her experience and knowledge with the new employee and helps him/her to get used to the workplace, study applicable regulatory documents and feel part of the team.

The refinery has 236 mentors, and it is our intention to give them further education by conducting “Effective Mentor” training sessions. Starting from the next year, there will be a competition among the mentors.

— Does the Antipinsky Oil Refinery have a talent pipeline? What kind of training and education system for future managers and highly specialized and qualified employees has been developed at the refinery?

— Specialists of the required category are not always available in the labor market. We continue our work to create the conditions for training future executives and highly qualified specialists at the refinery itself.

The HR Management Department continues its work to develop our internal training system for managers. To this end, we develop training programs such as “HR Daily Management Technologies”, “Time Management” and “Team Building”.

Last year, we launched the “Antipinsky Oil Refinery CJSC Talent Pipeline” program. At this stage, the candidates are undergoing evaluation procedures. Based on their results, we shall form and approve our talent pool. It will include the employees who have excelled in their professional activities, scored high on their professional knowledge, skills, business and personal qualities and undergone necessary training to be promoted to executive positions and positions that require highly specialized and qualified employees.

Once the talent pool has been formed, we will organize specialized training programs aimed at building or developing knowledge and skills required for successful work in such positions when vacancies open up.

Talent pool members are employees who have in-depth knowledge of our enterprise, its processes and operation rules, who have the motivation to be promoted and continue working at the Antipinsky Oil Refinery, and who are prepared fill in pending vacancies.

— Elena Vyacheslavovna, does the unit led by you meet all the refinery’s objectives in HR management?

— I can say that the Directorate meets all the requirements of applicable labor law, but the refinery’s HR management needs are broader and they scale up with the growth of our enterprise. Therefore, we constantly analyze the work we do and the enterprise’s development plans based on which we set ourselves new goals and objectives.

We do important, much needed and demanding, but interesting work, we have built a team of professionals who are ready to handle most complex HR management tasks. Our objective is to become a subdivision building up the company’s human capital.

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