Abiola Giwa-Amu is the Human Resources & Legal/Compliance Manager at Telmek Global Resources, an indigenous Oil and Gas Services Company in Nigeria renowned for innovative supply chain solutions. In this Interview, Abiola talks about the company’s work culture and talent development strategies.
Tell us about yourself briefly, and describe an average workday for you
My name is Abiola Giwa-Amu, from Edo state. I’m a lawyer and also a human resources practitioner. I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2012, and now have over ten years of experience as a corporate lawyer. I started my human resources practice in 2018, so I have about five years of experience in that.
I manage employees and relationships in the office. I also do a lot of monetary and compliance checks in the organization to ensure that the company is in compliance with the statutory regulations. I also manage the recruitment process if the company needs new employees and ensure that those recruits are the right fit, in terms of the work culture and operational value that the company requires from them.
What are some of the key challenges in managing HR and legal compliance within the oil and gas industry?
For the legal compliance aspect, I would say the major challenge is cost. Being compliant is expensive, it doesn’t come cheap. In the industry, there are lots of statutory bodies that you have to comply with before you can bid for a contract, or before you can get jobs done, and like I mentioned earlier, none of these come cheap. It will help a lot if the statutory bodies could streamline their requirements to accommodate a lot more oil and gas companies. Also, making these processes to be a lot more flexible will enable a lot more companies to be statutory compliant.
In your experience, what are some factors that contribute to a successful HR strategy within the company?
In terms of the in-house staff and how we manage the relationship between the employer and the employee, we do a lot of meetings and ensure all round communication in the organization from top to bottom. Everyone is always carried along, and we’re very big on fostering a good work culture in the organization.
Our work environment is friendly, and this encourages people to be innovative with their ideas without fear of being reprimanded. In terms of employee satisfaction and compliance, we try as much as possible to carry out in-house training, and the essence of this training is to educate staff on the importance of being compliant with statutory regulations and of course, the negative outcomes that could arise in the event where the company is not compliant.
What are some of the things that you do to ensure that the Recruitment processes are fair, especially when it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
We have staff from different tribes and different ethnic groups in the company. People from the west, east, south etc. We also have a good balance between Christians and Muslims, and do not practise any form of segregation.
In terms of recruitment, we solely focus on what skills are needed by the organization, and it becomes irrelevant what tribe or gender the person is. What we are focused on is the skill set, and if the skill set matches the company’s work culture and operational needs, then the person is hired.
How do you stay up to date with the latest developments in employment laws, regulations, and best practices in the oil and gas industry, and how do you incorporate this knowledge into your role to mitigate legal risks and ensure employee well-being?
I belong to different professional bodies, and always do my research to remain up to date, which helps us to mitigate any risk. Access to timely information is key. Regarding people management, we try to operate with global standards. Emotional intelligence is something that we do not joke with and riding off the popular saying that “employees do not leave a company, but usually leave bad leadership”, we make it a habit to ensure that managers have high levels of emotional intelligence. To be a manager at Telmek, it means that you have a lot of experience in both management and leadership skills.
We also ensure to reinforce the company’s policies realistically whilst explaining the reasons behind them because when people are carried along, there is a higher probability of them adhering to it.
Could you give a little insight into your own personal work style and give us some productivity tips?
Firstly, I always have a to-do list where I outline my activities for the day. I also ensure to prioritize these tasks and take note of the ones that are non-negotiable for the day. Secondly, I ensure to communicate clearly on collaborative tasks. As an HR and legal/compliance personnel who needs to ensure compliance in the organization, it is important that I am very clear on what exactly needs to be done or needs to happen. To sum it up, prioritizing tasks and good communication helps me ensure I have a productive day.