A Discussion With Weldon Mire, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Halliburton Co.
The HRAdvice section of TheWay Ahead is an extension of the commitment the magazine made to readers to present the whole spectrum of the industry. In this issue, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Halliburton Weldon Mire shares his life experiences and advice for both employees and companies to have a healthy, ethical, and rewarding business or career. Halliburton has developed many programs to introduce students and potential professionals to our industry as well as tools by which to retain those individuals once they have made the decision to join the oil and gas industry. Mire shares his view of the industry and what companies such as Halliburton are doing to maintain healthy and competent workforces around the world. Finally, he gives his recipe for success and sheds light on the many dimensions the industry has to offer young professionals embarking on a lifelong career.—Tim Morrison, Interim HR Advice Editor
Weldon Mire has been a participant in the oil and gas industry for the last 27 years in several diverse capacities, giving him a unique perspective to share advice and ideas with the generation about to embrace the industry. For him, the lure of the industry was the broad range of professions and a culture that encourages empowerment and responsibility. “The energy services industry is multidimensional and, in my opinion, offers many things to career-minded people,” Mire said. He carries experience in operations, management, human resources, real estate, community relations, quality management, and training. The industry is dramatically different from the time when Mire started. Previously, feedback from employees was not encouraged, but today the industry thrives on feedback. Mire said Halliburton’s Chief Executive Officer, Dave Lesar, frequently solicits feedback from his employees, whether positive or negative. Consequently, Mire believes that his job is to make sure every employee is comfortable giving that feedback. He also believes that this is the only way that a company like Halliburton, which works in 120 different countries, could ever ensure self-governance with a high level of ethics. “Ethics are the principles and values by which our company operates. It is the DNA of how we go about doing our daily business. It is how we import good behaviors to communities, shareholders, and employees. It is the right side of all actions,” he said. “Hand-in-hand with ethics is our commitment to environmental responsibility. In all of its endeavors, we seek to protect the environment through technology centers and full-time scientists who are constantly developing new technologies that allow us to increase the efficiencies of reservoir exploration and production.”
There are many exciting changes on the horizon that will challenge new E&P professionals. The industry is becoming dramatically more technical and far more demanding. The stage of the industry is becoming ever more international, because the remaining global reserves reside in countries in every hemisphere. Efforts to attract professionals to the E&P industry are very important. Halliburton is actively exposing some 20,000 students a year to the industry by providing funding for their membership dues with SPE, the American Assn. of Petroleum Geologists, and the Soc. of Exploration Geophysicists.
In addition, the Halliburton Foundation supports universities and students around the globe. Halliburton’s University Relations program works with colleges and universities to influence curricula and partners with them to offer and sponsor seminars and courses. Doing so exposes students to the world of technology and engineering in the petroleum and energy industry. Interns and coop programs take a hands-on approach to ensure diversity in our workforce to underrepresented areas. This year, Halliburton had a larger number of interns than ever, Mire said.
“The need for energy professionals is so great that a portion of education funds disbursed by the Halliburton Foundation is distributed to elementary and secondary schools as we seek to build partnerships with these entities. The Foundation provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorships, scholarships, and grants in addition to the money spent on membership dues,” he said.
“Looking forward, our people resource will come from all nations. We have the responsibility to develop transferable competencies within the local workforce wherever we work and operate around the world. We actively recruit and educate nationals for our workforce. We have established four Technical Excellence Centers around the world, the most recent one in Malaysia. The others are located in Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.”
Halliburton’s mission is to create an environment that positively uses the natural differences that exist among people in the workforce, he said. The company partners with the Soc. of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Natl. Soc. of Black Engineers, Assn. of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, and the Natl. Assn. of Asian American Professionals, to name but a few.
And once employees come to Halliburton, the company works to retain them with programs, not just money, Mire explains, “Oftentimes, we tend to assume that people make decisions that are based on monetary gain. While that is an important factor, we have discovered in exit interviews that it is sometimes the last factor used as the reason for leaving. We have identified supervisor/employee relationship as a major factor in the employee retention rate. Consequently, we have started programs like the Front Line Managers school to help supervisors with interaction with employee as well as customers. We also try to move people as fast as their individual career progression rate will allow them. Whether they are operations or technology, employees have the opportunity to continue to improve their skill sets. From the technical side, Halliburton has four levels of progression for engineers.”
Movement within the company is not limited to vertical progression; there is also lateral movement into other arenas. Challenging the professionals greatly increases the satisfaction and subsequent retention of those professionals. “I have found that some of the happiest employees are those who are constantly challenged,” Mire said. “In my career, many of my jobs have been very stressful, but the challenge of a new opportunity forced me to use more of my talent than I would have under more complacent surroundings.
“In addition, from the compensation side, we have retention bonuses, stock options, the use of vehicles, and other perks. Work is a social system, just like a school, church, or home, and we have to create that social environment in Halliburton in order to retain our people. Even if people leave the company for other opportunities, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes they go to work for our customers and look to us for solutions.
“I believe that the E&P industry is probably one of the most fascinating, most rewarding, and has the widest scope of any industry in the world,” said Mire. “I would also tell the young professionals that the scope of the industry is global and that there is nothing but opportunity ahead. The challenge is within the individuals to make the right decisions that will lead them into a career path that will make them extremely successful.”
Weldon Mire is Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Halliburton Co., one of the world’s largest energy services and engineering and construction companies. In addition, he is also Senior Vice President of Human Resources Development and Real Estate for Halliburton’s Energy Services Group (ESG). Before joining the corporate staff, he worked as the ESG Country Vice President for Indonesia and Business Development Manager for Asia. A 27-year employee of Halliburton, Mire began his tenure with the company in field operations, moving quickly up the operation to Director of Strategic Business Development and Manager of the Tools, Testing, and Tubing-Conveyed Perforating product service line.
Mire earned a BA degree in foreign languages from the U. of Southwest Louisiana-Lafayette, where he played varsity baseball and was named first team all-conference. He also attended the U. of Costa Rica as an exchange student.
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