July 2015

Let their hair down: Investment that pays back

We're all human: commercial director Mike Gaskin talks about leadership and team-building in a difficult market

I’ve been in the oil and gas industry for a while now and seen different means of team building. In fact, some of the ways of managing staff were actually team-destructing.

It’s not uncommon in this sector to have high expectations of workforce without showing them gratitude. After all, they’re paid better money than their counterparts outwith the industry. To some leaders the workforce is little more than pairs of hands to do a job - first to dispose of when money gets tight.

It’s not a straightforward task, to build a great team. It takes hard work, leadership and the ability for all to pull in the same direction, even when things get tough. But on top of that you need to create an environment that will make your people proud to be part of the team – and eager for more.

One of the ways of achieving this is careful selection process of new employees; it’s vital to hire people who will complement the existing workforce and be a good fit for the wider company culture.

At Maritime Developments we’re fortunate that many of our employees have been with us now for a number of years, while some have been with us since we first started back in 1999. Those guys know the company better than anyone – they carry its ethos and plant the seed for newcomers on our core values.

In my previous employment, I watched the growth of MDL as a bystander, occasionally working on projects with the original team. The company has grown hugely over that period, particularly in the past few years, but it never lost sight of what made it successful in the first place: its people.

With that in mind, we recently held a successful charity fundraiser at our company’s Peterhead premises as a thank you to our staff for their efforts over the past few months.

While the event was also an occasion to raise valuable funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care, our main focus was on giving something back to our employees for their hard work and dedication.

This hard work allowed us to deliver Maritime Developments’ first complete pipelaying spread, including the first portable vertical lay system (PVLS).

This latest innovation has led to extremely positive feedback from major clients around the world for its ability to maximise operators’ return on investment and reduce mission time offshore. And it wouldn’t have been possible but for the skills and expertise of our relatively small but talented team in both Aberdeen and Peterhead.

Indeed, whenever the company travels overseas or visits clients’ premises all we hear is positive feedback on the high quality of work and customer service delivered by our various project teams to exceed clients’ expectations.

Events, such as our MDL Carnival held earlier this month, allow us to say a modest “thank you” to our team for adding this priceless value to our equipment and services.

So, even when times are a bit tough, we can see the returns from affording staff the occasional afternoon off to concentrate on team building activities.

After all, we’re all human.

Mike Gaskin, commercial director