Rita - HR Director

Location: Sharjah

Year joined in: 2004

Position joined as: Project Administrator

Can you tell us about your job? 

I am the HR Director of our Offshore Capital Projects (OCP) service line.

OCP was established in late 2012 so I have been building up the HR and recruitment function with my team from scratch.

Building capabilities through the external market is one responsibility, but preparing OCP to be self-sufficient in the future is another. We’re doing this through hiring graduates, developing internal talent and succession planning.

One of the most important things for me is finding hidden talent, especially in the younger generations. Supporting their career goals is a significant part of my role.

What excites you about the work you are doing now?

OCP has decided to construct its own offshore construction vessel – the Petrofac JSD6000 – so understanding the manpower requirements and building capabilities in this niche market, and attracting the right talent to the company, is an exciting challenge for me just now.

In my various roles over the past 10 years, the common denominator has always been ‘people’. It’s very rewarding to hire the right people and see their career developing and succeeding. Moreover, it’s a privilege to be able to contribute to that development.

Tell us about your journey through Petrofac.

I joined Petrofac in 2004 as a project administrator before moving into the recruitment team to work as a Senior Recruitment Officer.

In 2007, I joined the newly established organisational development (OD) department, where I worked as a Senior OD Advisor and Graduate Programme Manager, eventually becoming OD Manager. OD has such a wide scope of responsibilities so in addition to the graduate programme, I was involved in process improvements, training and development, competencies and talent management.

I became HR Director of OCP in February 2013.

During my time at Petrofac, I have visited all of our sites, no matter how difficult it’s been to travel to some of the locations.  It’s through these visits that I feel I’ve been able to offer improvements in a more holistic manner and talk to staff based at (sometimes isolated) sites about the company’s identity, its values, and employee initiatives.

It’s also through recruitment and the daily interaction with employees – who share their experiences, their difficulties, their stories, their challenges – that I realised I have a major role to play in helping the company and its people.

What has been the highlight of your time at Petrofac?

Ten years have passed very quickly but with plenty of excitement and challenges. Some of the highlights include the success of the Sharjah graduate programme, the design and implementation of the performance management programme, watching the talent of the younger generations emerge, and the development and expansion of OCP.

How has Petrofac supported your ongoing development?

When I moved to a managerial role within OD, Petrofac put me on the Management Development Plan programme, which equipped me with the right managerial skills to lead a team. Now that I have moved into a strategic role in OCP, I will be taking part in the Leadership Excellence programme, which is run in partnership with London Business School.

But I must not forget the on-the-job training, the people, the personalities, the site visits, the projects, the meetings and the challenges you meet on a daily basis – this, for me, is the ongoing development. Petrofac has given me all these opportunities and the necessary experience to face any situation.

What has been your key learning at Petrofac?

When I joined Petrofac in 2004, there were 4,000 employees. Now there are around 13,500. The business continues to grow and our leaders’ ambitions and aspirations will never stop. I would say embracing the changes and being part of them is very important. Petrofac is a dynamic company and you need to think and act fast today, as tomorrow will be a different scenario.