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HR Challenges and Solutions in the Renewable Energy Industry

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Jane Marsh's picture
Editor, Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

  • Member since 2020
  • 99 items added with 76,078 views
  • Oct 24, 2022
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The sustainability sector is expanding fast. The development of alternative power sources in new geographic locations is creating a lot of job openings. Human resources departments have an important task when it comes to supporting this growth, particularly in recruiting and developing a solid workforce.

Finding the most qualified people to fill roles in this rapidly changing industry is critical to keeping that momentum going. Here are the main HR challenges and solutions in the renewable energy industry.

The Rise of the Renewable Energy Industry

There are more people and devices on the planet than ever before. The green energy industry is racing to keep up as the demand for electricity grows. Experts estimate that our dry natural gas reserves will only last another 98 years, and that’s in the unlikely scenario that we keep using them at the current rate rather than increasing. We might run out of oil as early as 2050.

Thankfully, people recognize this problem and are scrambling to implement more renewable power sources, like wind, solar, hydroelectric and biofuels. With the sustainable energy industry expanding, some companies face a talent shortage in the form of an aging workforce, strong competition and the struggle to retain their current workers. It’s up to HR to meet these challenges head-on.

Hiring New Talent

Because the growth of the renewable energy sector has been so explosive in recent years, businesses face a lot of competition when looking for new talent. Here are some strategies to help companies stand out and attract the right job-seekers.

  1. Advertising a Close-Knit Workplace Culture

It can be hard to compete against bigger brands in other industries, especially when trying to hire IT workers who might not consider looking for jobs in the sustainability sector.

However, many people want to work for small companies where they can form close connections. When posting a position for a new business or one with a smaller workforce, HR should emphasize the community aspect of the workplace.

  1. Explicitly Stating the Benefits

Jobs in the renewable energy industry require a wide range of skills, so HR has to look for multitalented workers. Human resources should advertise that the company provides on-the-job training to help people become qualified for the position.

Many people want to work for a company with a focus on sustainability, so HR should highlight a company’s green energy efforts in job postings.

Renewable energy plants are often located in undesirable areas — for example, solar farms are sometimes placed in remote parts of the desert to maximize the amount of sunlight they receive. If people can work remotely even part of the time, that gives the company a competitive edge.

Other benefits companies should mention in their job posting include insurance, competitive wages, time off and flexible hours.

Retaining Workers

The talent shortage in the green energy sector can leave companies understaffed. This can make existing employees’ jobs harder, and they might consider looking for work elsewhere. Here are some ways HR can help businesses retain workers.

  1. Conducting Exit Interviews

HR should conduct exit interviews when people inevitably quit or retire. They should ask people about their experience with the company, whether positive or negative, and use the feedback as a framework to implement new policies.

  1. Utilizing the Aging Workforce

One workforce sector that energy companies have trouble retaining is older workers on the verge of retirement. Because the energy industry has an aging workforce, HR needs to look for ways to recruit new talent quickly.

Older workers are valuable resources for a business — they’ve accrued a lot of experience and knowledge, including how the company works and its customer base. Therefore, HR should encourage them to personally train recruits and pass their experience on to them. Former oil and gas workers can impart their knowledge of the fossil fuels industry to new green energy employees.

  1. Offering Training

HR can upskill current employees, helping them reach their goals through ongoing training. Employers should offer their workers new responsibilities and leadership positions to demonstrate that they trust and value them. This can also give them something to strive for.

  1. Providing Fair Compensation

Providing fair wages, giving regular feedback and letting employees know they’re appreciated are all ways to help retain staff. The HR department should ensure workers maintain a good work-life balance and offer insurance and other benefits to encourage people to stay.

HR Challenges and Solutions

Renewable energy industry HR departments are facing an aging workforce, dealing with understaffing and trying to recruit new talent. Implementing some of these strategies can hopefully help them adjust to the rapid changes in the sustainability sector.

Discussions
Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 24, 2022

Competition for the top talent in clean energy is going to get even more heated, which is great news for the workers as they gain leverage. This will be a key driving story in the years to come. 

Jane Marsh's picture
Thank Jane for the Post!
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