Transforming HR in the Age of Technology
By Gunnar Neset, Vice President for Global Business Services Human Relations, Equinor
Equinor (formerly known as Statoil), the Norwegian based energy company has been in business since 1972 and has operations in more than 30 countries today. From an oil and gas producer focusing on the Norwegian continental shelf, the company has expanded to become an operator in diverse and broader energy plays such as shale onshore US, and wind operations off the coast of UK. Throughout the globalization journey the company has become known for cutting edge use of technology.
Like the rest of the industry, Equinor was hit hard by the oil downturn four years ago and was forced to rethink the use of technology beyond core operational areas. The hard learnings from the last few years have made a lasting impact on how the company approaches change and technology, including within HR.
“We started early with automation and increased self-service to employees and leaders. Through our global shared service concept introduced several years ago, functions like IT, finance, facility management and HR are integrated in one common employee service portal. Now we are focusing onto smarter use of data and the end user experience. We are striving to acquire modern and more intuitive systems that engage and empower people and that appeal to the next generation,” says Gunnar Neset, Vice president Human Resources in Equinor.
The HR strategy at Equinor has five core elements- including digitalization.
We are building the basis for more advanced use of data analytics to enable better and fact- based business decisions.
Developing leadership, competence and culture to drive automation, robotics and advanced data analytics in support of Equinor’s ambition is part of the plan. This is a transformation of the broader Equinor, and of HR.
Equinor is constantly looking for opportunities to automate and streamline tasks so that employees can focus on high value activities. The whole company has in fact undergone a process where continuous improvements in all areas (both operations and staff)is a top priority. And technology, of course is a vital part of that change journey.
Equinor’s core HR system is a customized on-premise ERP-system that forms the basis for the global processes. The back-office processes are highly automated, and there are advanced integration with many other systems like the finance system. Nevertheless, there is a need to move to cloud systems and more innovative user experience including use from mobile devices. Currently we have a cloud based talent management system.
“We are looking into how new digital opportunities can give us more innovative and efficient HR solutions. We are building the basis for more advanced use of data analytics to enable better and fact- based business decisions. To reinforce the focus on the employee and candidate experience we are also applying design thinking and lean in combination with digitalization,” says Neset.
Within the area of recruitment, Equinor has started to use online assessments and video interviews in parts of the process. In payroll and reward, RPA technology is on the agenda—robots doing payroll run and preparing salary analysis.
Looking further ahead, we see significant opportunity to increase further use of technology on this journey. We are preparing to offer mobile learning with the evolving apps and are also exploring AI powered interfaces combined with our learning management solution. Virtual classrooms and microlearning is also on our agenda—with short, effective videos that can speed up learning, sharing and innovation.
It seems like the company that has been on a journey from an oil and gas focused company to a broad energy major is no stranger to new and disruptive technologies.
“Equinor’s overall goal is to shape the future of energy, and turn natural resources into energy for people and progress for society. That is why we have chosen to embrace the opportunities that the new technologies represent,” says Neset.