TotalEnergies: Committed to Human Development, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Kelechi Esomeju, Executive General Manager, People and Talent Management, TotalEnergies

…Developing young people’s talent for skills and competency.

…Fossil fuels still useful and the oil industry  is relevant.

-Felix Douglas

Speaking in a panel session on Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion at the Sub Saharan Africa International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (SAIPEC), Kelechi Esomeju, Executive General Manager, People and Talent Management, TotalEnergies, explained that there’s a lot of emphasis on diversity and inclusion, but “we must also remember the equity part of it which means that we have to create a level playing field for everyone to try and succeed.”

How can Human Resources (HR) helps one to achieve greater height? There should be understanding that diversity, equity and inclusion are something that continues to evolve. As cultures evolve, it is important for people and HR to understand what is happening in the society and organization, there is need to review, adapt and agreed. What was seem right some years ago, may not be good now as the dynamics of the population changes, the rules and guidelines have to change.

She added further that policies put in place have to change. “What will be of concern to you, may not be of concern to me.” It’s important for us to have policies in place but also to have a culture of reviewing these policies, paying attention to what people need that are important. Diversity is not all about gender.

Local content in Nigeria can have different context. But what is important is the diversity and inclusion issue that should be addressed. Is it gender, age, ethnicity or nationality? “We  have to understand what it is to be able to fix it.”

TotaEngergies has a parent company that drives what the company does and has a lot of things it does locally while paying attention to local content by putting things in place and adapts what comes from the head office to suit its local content.

Today, the company has an ethics committee that makes sure those values are defined. “There is a voice that is watching and a body that takes complain and cases of infringement of rules and report cases of harassment and discrimination. There are people that look at these issues and take action, give credibility to the system.

The company has its values which include respect for people and mutual support by standing together. The work of HR is to make sure that when these structures are in place, they are working. What is important is to monitor and make sure people obey rules and exhibiting the right behaviours and where they are not the consequences are known. They face these consequences as deterrent to other people and it helps them to believe in the system as real values.

Esomeju disclosed that TotalEnergies has strong focus on empowerment. The industry is evolving and oil and gas will stay for a long time because “we need energy and bear in mind that the industry is providing something that is useful.” There  are questions about how this can be done in a better way, which is what has led to the transformation to renewable and most of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) are embarking on it. TotalEnergies is a multi-energy company even though Nigeria is mostly dependent on oil and gas, globally it is involved in a lot of renewable energy, electricity and so on.

The philosophy of TotalEnergies is to offer young people an international career. “Even when you come in with one job, the company is able to develop and explore a lot of other things.”

“The company employs people based on skills and competency they have not just for specific job, but as things evolve, our employees also evolve and grow in line with the trend.”

The business has to listen to what is happening in the society. What are people caring about? “Today, people are caring about the environment and that is why there is a transformation in the energy sector so that we can listen to inquiries on preservation and protection of the environment.”

How can young people be part of evolution and take advantage of the opportunities? TotalEnergies has an Institute of Petroleum and Energy Studies, which is called IPES or IPS which was established in 2003 and presently, it has over 600 graduates from that program, about 400 master’s degree program, and about 250 in diploma. The institute started training with petroleum engineering but over time because of this transformation, it has become an Energy Institute as well. There is a collaboration the company had with local universities to ensure partnerships and make it work.

There is a collaboration with Institute of Petroleum in France. The degree is awarded by all these universities, and also the evolution that is happening so that students will continue to have skills and competencies required for the industry as it evolves.

Esomeju explained that working in an energy company or oil and gas, does not mean that innovations are not welcome. Everybody cannot be engineer. For instance, there are IT and HR people working with TotalEnergies. It is just to be open minded, recognize and appreciate the competencies that people have that different profiles have something to offer, even if it is an oil and gas or energy company. “It encourages you to explore your talents and interest and be open minded in terms of oil and gas industry. “The energy industry still has a lot to offer and we are going to be there for 70 years, fossil fuels will still be used.” It is not a dying industry.”

Youth empowerment is not just about reading or writing exam to the lecturer.  The understanding that people question, think and  be let alone to bring their own perspective.

TotalEnergies has another programe called MIETT which is a collaboration with MIT in the US, and the company sponsors university lecturers from all the states of the Federation in the country to attend MIT for a year to learn new teaching methods so that they can teach well and young people can learn better.

The Executive General Manager, People and Talent Management of TotalEnergies, was of the view that young people can learn better and be equipped and take advantage of the opportunities that exist.

There are also scholarships, both at local and international level in all universities.

With regards to diversity, inclusion and equity, these are opportunities that are open to everyone, regardless of gender or ethnicity. “We make sure there’s a structured and balanced approach to inculcate people into these programs practically done working with established structures in our society.”

TotalEnergies offers internships to people who are in school including graduates. This will help them to acquire practical knowledge.

Today, IPS has 98%. credibility rate of developing talents for the industry and making sure that “we have the skills that are updated to continue this work that we have begone.”

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