Mistras is a leading international provider of asset monitoring services, specialising in evaluating the structural integrity of critical energy, industrial, and public infrastructure.
Having long since perfected service delivery in areas such as term contract and shutdown inspection for the oil & gas industry, in mid-2017, they identified a need to improve and streamline their internal HR practices.
Managing 100 employees across four sites was a challenge
“We have more than 100 employees across four different sites” explains HR Manager Bianca Parker-Beckett, “and until March 2017, we had no formal HR department. Each location was being managed by different people, using different policies and different employment contracts.”
Bianca is a progressive HR professional, whose general attitude to HR is that it should be straight talking and easy to understand. However, she also recognises that certain formal processes do need to be centralised, standardised, and streamlined – such as holiday management, absence and TOIL.
“Before the company introduced a formal HR function, important HR administration like holiday requests and TOIL, would just float around each office on pieces of paper” she explains. “We needed a more joined up approach and this was first on the list to change.”
Bianca centralised information with a digital HR system
After starting her role as HR manager in June 2017, the first thing she decided to implement, was some form of consistency and centralisation across all locations.
She explains, “because at any given time, each office could have technicians out on site, all over the world. We might have one person on an oil rig, another under a bridge in London, and somebody else climbing an offshore wind turbine out in the ocean. As you might guess, being on an oil rig makes it very difficult for you to access your personal information, or find your holiday request card, especially when it’s all kept on paper files in a UK-based filing cabinet.”
Bianca began implementing a digital, cloud-based HR system, that would centralise all of the company’s workforce data.
“I chose People HR because I’d already implemented it with a previous company. And the reason I chose People HR again, is because I know that the moment I roll it out to the workforce, they don’t need to take time offline learning how to use it.”
Mistras employees love having access to their data
Bianca says that employees are more efficient since the implementation, because they can see their holidays online, and access their employee records from their phones. She says this is especially useful if they’re not going to be in the office for a while.
“The company directory is particularly helpful when we have employees scattered across the country” she adds. “Colleagues don’t always have everybody’s contact details saved directly in their phones – but the People HR app has a directory that’s as easy to use as a phonebook, meaning colleagues can contact each other for work purposes any time they need to, even if they don’t know each other personally.”
Easier audits for The health and safety manager
One person at Mistras who has been particularly pleased with Bianca’s implementation of People HR, is the company’s Health & Safety Manager.
“He can now access all training documentation during an audit” she explains. “He’s not chasing after certificates, he can just download them. A lot of the work we do, you have to have a certification for it. It’s tough to get all that together when it’s all on paper – but now we can just download documents like offshore certificates for oil rigs, directly from our HR system, and make these available to our customers.”
Avoiding HR bottlenecks by distributing administration
With four unique locations, all with their own slightly different styles of working, one thing that Bianca did not want to do during implementation, was create an HR bottleneck.
“Once I’d centralised our employee records and company policies, I had to think about how I could still give each office their own level of autonomy” says Bianca. “So what I did, was I set up local managers and administrators for each office, with their own levels of system access. This means people can still access their office planner, download local training records, and run their own reports and queries. This is how I have kept a distributed approach to people management and HR administration, while keeping it all consistent under a central HR umbrella.”
Bianca is looking forward to embarking on further HR initiatives for Mistras and is in the process of rolling out the performance management and Recruitment / ATS areas of the system. To learn more about Mistras and the services they provide, you can visit their website here.