Adopting experience and traditions: how TAIF GC works with young staff

A third of employees of TAIF Group’s companies are young specialists under 35

According to data in the report for 2018, the total number of workers of all companies included in TAIF GC is over 38,000. And the majority of them are concentrated in four key companies: Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, Kazanorgsintez PJSC, TAIF-NK JSC and TGC-16 JSC. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report about the staff policy of the TAIF GC enterprises, focus on the youth’s professional training and how a productive dialogue between the older and younger generations of employees is held.

Youth energy to help experience and mastery

Popularisation of vocational jobs is one of the tasks that are actively performed at the federal and regional levels:

“What we certainly, absolutely certainly should pay special attention to is the work with staff on training of world-class vocational specialists,” President of Russia Vladimir Putin stressed at a meeting of the State Council on improving the investment appeal of the Russian regions in December 2017.

“The training of sought-after vocational specialities must be done in close cooperation with potential employers and equipment suppliers,” President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov claimed when giving a speech in front of the participants of the plenary session of the republican meeting of educational and science workers in August 2018.

This work has been done in the republic for long and according to plan. TAIF Group’s companies are an illustrative example. They have developed the staff policy in interaction with related educational institutions throughout their history. And employing university and college graduates, they create a favourable environment for joint work of young specialists and employees who have more than ten years of service behind. Professional mentors willingly share their experience with the youth helping them to apply the knowledge they acquire.

TAIF-NK JSC: focus on youth

About 4,000 people work in the oil refinery today. And one in two of them is aged from 18 to 35 years.

“TAIF-NK JSC is a young company, this is why we haven’t so far had dynasties of workers and we focus on the youth”, head of the HR Department at TAIF-NK JSC Galina Shimanskaya explained in a talk with Realnoe Vremya’s journalist.

Oil refining is one of the crucial links in the actively developed economic chain in Tatarstan: from oil production to petrochemistry. And for TAIF Group’s companies, TAIF-NK is a reliable supplier of downstream products the country needs and the products that are in great demand in the world market. It is prestigious to work in the sector, moreover, in a modern, constantly developing enterprise that is attentive to its employees and pays a decent salary.

“Yes, it isn’t easy to find a job in the enterprise: every candidate goes through a multi-level selection system consisting of several interviews and careful examination of all documents. If employees from neighbouring regions were invited to the enterprise, this idea was refused several years ago because they understood the petrochemists' city had many of its own professionally trained graduates of higher and vocational educational establishments: higher and vocational educational institutions provide decent training for our future workers. Promising specialists are selected for work at TAIF-NK before graduation. Every spring, graduates acquaint with representatives of industrial enterprises — at the meeting, HR department's employees not only evaluate a student's average points but also his participation in competitions and professional excellence contests, including WorldSkills,” Shimanskaya explained.

A new employee’s adaptation to the staff and job is an important stage. To enable the young specialist to faster and, most importantly, fully understand the specifics of work in the enterprise, TAIF-NK created a special programme. So new employees have a professional training course considering the specifics of plants they will work in now. In addition, each of them has a mentor helping to familiarise and get practical skills needed in work that a young specialist can show not only in the workplace but also defending the honour of his plant in professional excellence competitions. Such an activity is not only supported by the company but also encouraged in different ways.

“Young TAIF-NK JSC workers regularly participate in competitions in different nominations: five workers competed in NK Skills in three competencies, it is a process unit operator, expert in devices, pump operator. Three directors of subdivisions were experts in this competition. One of the competitors became first in Process Unit Operator. 15 chemistry lab technicians of the company participated in the regional qualifier of WorldSkills Russia as experts. 13 workers of the company took part in the demonstration examination by WorldSkills Russia standards in Chemistry Lab Technician as experts,” head of the Group of Technical Training at TAIF-NK JSC Valentina Bautina said.

By the way, an opportunity for professional training is a prerogative of not only the recruits in the plant but also all employees of the company.

“Constant upgrade of the qualification of the company’s workers is the ultimate goal of TAIF-NK JSC. To increase competitiveness, the training is uninterrupted, besides professional training in educational institutions of the city and the republic to improve knowledge, the formation of high professionalism in the plants’ shops, there were established schedules according to which there is daily staff training in safe methods and approaches to do the job. Chief engineers are responsible for the training in the plant with exercises in actions on safe work methods and practices, it is done together with the main specialists of plants. Such an approach for staff training allows reducing the probability of accidents and incidents, emergencies in the plant, violation of process safety requirements to the minimum,” head of the Group of Technical Training at TAIF-NK JSC Valentina Bautina said.

Every year the enterprise carefully studies if the plants need the employees to get new knowledge. For instance, when new equipment arrives, people who can adjust and service it are needed, new skills appear, new technologies are mastered… Applications for training, retraining, learning new specialities and upgrade of employees and the management’s qualification are created on the basis of these needs. In this respect, TAIF-NK JSC also closely cooperates with specialised universities and vocational institutions. Moreover, not only as a client but also as an active participant of learning processes:

“Nizhnekamsk Chemical and Technological Institute and Petrochemistry and Oil Refinery College named after Nikolay Lemayev have been invitingTAIF-NK JSC specialists to upgrade our workers’ qualifications in such specialities as processing unit operator, commodity operator, discharge and pouring, production unit repairer for many years. After the training in these specialities ends, our specialists — shop directors whose workers sit an exam or their deputies — join the commission that examines them,” Valentina Bautina emphasised.

It is too little to employ a young specialist, give him additional skills and knowledge, engage in the production and social life of the staff. And even a decent salary isn’t enough to keep the employee in the plant. By the way, according to the annual report, the average salary at TAIF Group of Companies is 51,300 rubles a month (which is by 46% above the average indicators across Tatarstan and by 18% higher than the average salary across the country in general). And if those who are active at work and in social life, aspire to get and apply new knowledge in practice are provided with a chance of career development and given concessionary terms to solve housing problems, people will grab such opportunities and work honestly. TAIF-NK JSC understands it perfectly.

“According to TAIF-NK PJSC Director General Rushan Shamgunov's decision, the enterprise has always actively worked in these areas and will go on allocating big money on social politics, train the workers and create comfortable working conditions. The oil refinery understands that the enterprise's staff is a guarantee of successful accomplishments and the future of TAIF-NK is in young and professional personnel's hands,” Galina Shimanskaya noted.

And when people working in the enterprise see such an attitude, there is not only any desire to change the workplace but also long-term plans are linked with the plant became so dear. Children of those who participated in the formation of TAIF-NK in the early 2000s are growing up. And it means that the day when the company has new dynasties of workers isn’t far.

TGC-16 JSC: work with the youth — direct investments in the future

The biggest power plant of Tatarstan, Nizhnekamsk CHPP (IBH-1), and the biggest heat power plant in the capital of the republic — Kazan CHPP-3 — are almost the same age. The first one celebrated its 50th jubilee in 2017, the second did last year, in 2018. In 2010, both energy companies joined TGC-16, which was created by TAIF Group, and a new stage in their rich history began then: modernisation, a serious upgrade of equipment and technologies, greater capacities against the backdrop of a reduction in brake-specific fuel consumption volumes per energy unit. All this required considerable changes in specialists’ professional training as well. Having saved the main value of any factory — the staff — the company seriously took on improving every worker’s quality of knowledge. There were signed cooperation agreements in staff training and retraining with Kazan Power Engineering College and Kazan State Power Engineering University. Corresponding work was organised in the enterprises themselves.

“Such effective ways of operating staff training as quarterly and annual operative staff competitions for the title Best Shift and Best in Occupation as well as shows for the best process safety organisation and the best fire safety conditions are successfully used. The plants have classes equipped with computers, there are training programmes Process Safety, Energy Safety, Occupational Safety, Fire Safety with the help of OLIMPOKS training and control system,” head of the HR Department at TGC-16 JSC Olga Nikishkova explained.

It is important that the employees can have several types of training throughout the year. If the knowledge obtained seems to the CHPP workers insufficient, the management is ready to accept its subordinates’ proposals in this respect and organise additional programmes, courses, seminars.

Special attention is paid to the youth. TGC-16 specialists help college and specialised university students to choose a speciality and the future workplace during their studies. The CHPP workers are frequent guests in educational institutions. And students themselves have a chance to see first-hand how their homes and enterprises of the republic get heat and light. In early 2019, the enterprises of TGC-16 JSC joined the All-Russian Campaign Week without Turnstile.

“The work with the youth can be considered a direct investment in the future, moreover, a very effective investment. TGC-16 is a high-tech company, and we always need young qualified and promising staff to keep up to date. So we welcome such campaigns where the youth can get acquainted with production and we can meet our future colleagues,” TGC-16 JSC Director General Eduard Galeyev stressed then when talking with journalists.

Like in other TAIF Group’s companies, the mentorship system is developed and actively supported at TGC-16.

“During practical training and pre-graduation training, every university or college student has an experienced mentor who passes him accumulated experience and knowledge. Representatives of the companies chair exam commissions in state exams, students defend their theses in branches of TGC-16, and according to the results they can be employed in the company,” Olga Nikishkova noted. Having being employed in TGC-16’s enterprises, they aren’t alone in the new workplace. Experienced employees take the new workers under their wing by helping them to get into the rhythm of work.

Sometimes a young specialist’s older brother, father or grandfather becomes his mentor. Tens of dynasties workers TGC-16 is deservingly proud of work in the company’s CHPP.

In addition, the company is proud of its youth that actively participate in different professional contests and competitions. The most recent example is a silver that a manual electric and gas welder from TGC-16 JSC’s branch — Kazan CHPP-3 — won at WorldSkills Russia 2018 in Welder competence.

The young employees’ such an activity is supported by the company as well as a number of other areas that enable the workers to grow professionally. Youth scientific conferences are held together and sometimes on the initiative of TGC whose goal is to develop and encourage the working youth’s research, their interest in research. At the same time, the company performs such tasks as detection of gifted youth in science and creation of conditions to develop talents and formation of the reserve staff. A chance of professional growth is one of the efficient ways to keep young specialists in the company together with a financial stimulation system and housing programmes for TGC-16 JSC workers.

The company also pays a lot of attention to staff unity. Not only joint work but also participation in art festivals such as Our Era festival for the working youth as well as events in the company help to feel you are one team. Energy Worker Initiation Ceremony is one of such bright events in the company.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC has employed almost 800 people only in 2019

“In the conditions of technical and technological modernisation of sectors and industrial plants, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC’s need for qualified staff is growing. At the modern stage, the key task of the company is to provide existing and constructed plants with staff, save the existing staff potential and its outstripping development in the future, creation of a stable professional staff that is able to perform the tasks that are given,” Deputy Director General of HR and Social Issues at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Rodion Bulashov briefly expressed the company’s position to Realnoe Vremya’s journalist.

Today over 15,000 people work in the plants of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, one of the leading players of the petrochemical sector in Russia and the world. And the company, which comes under TAIF Group, develops, expands its possibilities, the assortment of products. Occupation of new market niches and conservation of competitiveness in positions that were already conquered require constant improvement of equipment, technologies and skills of people engaged in manufacturing processes.

“For stable staff provision, the company created an employment system that includes career guidance in educational institutions of the city (Editor’s Note: the Lemayev Petrochemistry and Oil Refining College and Nizhnekamsk Chemical and Technological Institute), staff training in basic educational institutions, self-initiated employment, staff training in the educational centre, employment from the urban employment centre. When people are recruited for new plants, a part of the staff is created by the transition of experienced workers from other subdivisions of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC,” Rodion Bulashov explained.

Current workers of the company also have a chance to improve professionally. So on the threshold of the start of construction of the new ethylene complex, directors of the company did a training course in Project Management, employees of the company and senior students of the specialised university and college managed to take courses of the Olefin Academy organised by the project’s licensor — German Linde AG (Munich) to get knowledge about basic production technologies with the company’s equipment. Officials of the company also note that the modern market dictates that together with courses linked with production, safety and equipment maintenance, the company’s employees need completely new areas aimed at development of the employees’ personal skills, this is why trainings and Business English courses, constructive communication classes, the basics of public speaking, secrets of business presentations. Nizhnekamskneftekhim gives such an opportunity as well.

This year the company has employed almost 800 new employees, half of whom are the youth under 30. Many of them are recent university graduates and college students. They had practical training at Nizhnekamskneftekhim under leading specialists of the company, prepared their graduation projects. Such a close connection between professional training centres and directly the plants allows future petrochemists, equipment repair and maintenance specialists, programmers, operators, machinists, locksmiths and repairers, moulders, lathe operators and other higher and vocational education degrees to choose their workplace. There are Doors Open Days or, like this year, Week without Turnstile so that the choice will be conscious. The management of the company meets with the company’s future companies. So Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Director General Azat Bikmurzin just recently talked with the youth of Nizhnekamsk in the format of Dress-Down Meeting for several hours answering questions about the future of the country and successes of one of the biggest petrochemical plants in Europe.

What is especially important is that after graduation, getting the diploma and coming to NKNK, young people understand that the enterprise is glad to see them, it needs them and it will help to join the work process quickly and effectively.

“As a part of the youth’s adaptation to the factory, the enterprise developed and adopted a regulation on mentorship. It is applied to young employees under 30 years who graduated from vocational educational institutions, higher educational institution graduates who have been employed at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC for the first time. We took our mentorship to a new level in 2015. One person combines functions or both an instructor and a mentor during students’ practical training in the plant and a mentor when providing professional help to employees who came for the second time and a training instructor in the plant when employees upgrade their qualification and study,” Bulashov noted.

The company welcomes initiatives and the energy of the youth. So there is plenty of opportunities to apply and develop young innovators and inventors’ potential. Competitions between innovators and international scientific conferences not only allow young workers and engineers to discover their skills but also help to look for highly effective technical solutions, which can be put into operation in the future. Young petrochemists’ ideas help to improve the quality of products and workforce productivity, save feedstock and energy resources and favour the innovators’ career development. As well as young workers’ participation in professional excellence competitions. The company enables to compete in 12 key skills. The winners get a chance to represent the company at the republican, federal and even international levels. So at WorldSkills Russia 2018, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC workers managed to get to the squad of the team Tatarstan and show very good results in Chemical Laboratory Analysis, Plastic Die Engineering and Plumbing and Heating. The team Tatarstan then was first in the overall standings, while operator of the Shop No. 1417 at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Rail Abdullin won an individual gold and became the best in Plastic Die Engineering.

Generally speaking, NKNK has supervised the development of such professional competencies as Chemical Laboratory Analysis, Welding Technologies since 2015. On President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov’s instruction, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC is responsible for Plastic Die Engineering. In 2018, the enterprise purchased and gave the Lemayev Petrochemistry and Oil Refining College equipment for over 26,5 million rubles. The equipment is designed to prepare competitors of this skill and hold qualifiers.

21-year-old employee of Nizhnekamskneftekhim Shamil Khakimov had training there. The young man works as operator in the divinyl and raw hydrocarbons plant at NKNK. Last year, he also successfully performed at WorldSkills Russia and is now on the long list of the country’s team at WorldSkills 2019 in Plastic Die Engineering. It was included in the competition programme of the tournament recently, just four years ago.

“This competence is in very high demand in life. For instance, phone cases are made of plastic. To make such a phone case, one has to, first of all, make its 3D model, write a programme for the machine tool, polish the mould and mould the case,” Shamil gave one out of many examples of applied use of his profession. Now he is in the second team and is ready to join the battle at any moment.

By the way, soon after WorldSkills ends in Kazan, workers of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC will go to Sochi where some specialists will become competitors and others will be experts of the championship in the petrochemical sector.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC is convinced that the youth must have an opportunity to actively participate in the company’s social life as well. This is why a special department — on work with young specialists — was created on the administration and trade union committee’s initiative as early as 2003. The department deals with or organises the participation of young people of Nizhnekamskneftekhim in more than 150 events on the urban, republican and Russian scale in different areas during the year — it is forums, seminars, festivals, competitions, KVN humour show, amateur art activities, brain games, physical, health-improving and mass sports events including military and patriotic activities.

Like in other TAIF Group’s companies, Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC pays a lot of attention to the payment the employees’ decent salary, the encouragement of initiatives and accomplishments, formation of the comfortable environment for work and life. Such an important issue for the youth as housing is also systematically addressed.

Kazanorgsintez PJSC: effect of young workers’ innovations is tens of millions of rubles

TAIF Group of Companies plans to seriously increase capacities of Kazanorgsintez PJSC. Within an adopted development programme of the company through 2025, a number of investment programmes is supposed, the expansion of possibilities of Kazanorgsintez will become the result. The production of new types of polyethylene is augmenting, polycarbonate manufacturing, the construction of its own energy generation (electricity and steam) are rising.

“The rapid development of technologies makes Kazanorgsintez care about the constant improvement of the staff’s professionalism. For this purpose, the company constantly enables the workers to get new skills and upgrade their educational degree by sending them to refresher courses and obtaining the next academic degree,” Deputy Director General of HR and General Issues at Kazanorgsintez PJSC Aydar Akhmetshin said about the company’s staff policy.

Special refresher courses, programmes to get a second degree for the workers were created and applied together with Kazan National Research Technological University Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education. Promising specialists who have potential for career development also get employer-sponsored education in areas that Kazanorgsintez PJSC needs. Having obtained the necessary knowledge, they join the company’s reserve staff as executives.

As Aydar Akhmetshin noted, the augmentation of the company’s capacities is possible mainly because of equipment modernisation and implementation of the latest, more highly efficient technologies. This is why Kazanorgsintez doesn’t have to significantly expand the staff. But new blood, knowledge, competences are needed.

Their enterprise takes students from the same Kazan National Research Technological University as well as the Lushnikov Kazan Petrochemical College. Kazanorgsintez established mutually integrated processes with specialised educational institutions. So the company participates in the reinforcement of the university and college’s infrastructure, organises internships for masters and teachers of the educational institutions with the modern equipment implemented by the company and when launching new technologies. The specialists-to-be get practical skills for their profession under experienced mentors during the learning process. Specialists of the company help to choose topical themes for graduation projects and review graduation theses. And when a young specialist comes to Kazanorgsintez to work, he is supervised first.

“The main task is to help a less experienced or less aware worker to master certain skills he needs in his professional work. Highly qualified workers who have perfect manufacturing skills in a field and the basics of pedagogics, psychology, professional teaching and education methods are the mentors and instructors. The mentors themselves periodically update and improve their knowledge by taking a special training course,” Aydar Akhmetshin explained.

Kazanorgsintez PJSC creates all conditions to keep the specialists in the factory. A collective agreement was signed, its main task is to provide the company’s workers with social and labour guarantees, the biggest range of opportunities for effective performance, creativity, intellectual potential.

As Aydar Akhmetshin noted, Kazanorgsintez PJSC provides an opportunity to young specialists to show their leadership and other personal qualities by participating in joint work with youth council of the Federation of Trade Unions of Tatarstan and the Tatarstan Republican Committee of the Russian Chemists’ Trade Union. The youth actively participates in sports competitions and mass cultural events. In addition, Kazanorgsintez PJSC has always cared about attracting young specialists to create new things, participate in innovation and invention, which gives a chance to show off from a professional perspective. The effect of the implementation of innovative proposals and inventions is expressed in tens of millions of rubles.

Young workers of the company participate in republican, Russian contests and events organised by the Federation of Trade Unions of Tatarstan, including in Best in Occupation professional excellence contest. Kazanorgsintez is also related to WorldSkills 2019 championship, which kicked off in Kazan. The company purchased a universal DMU 50 milling machine and instruments needed to prepare the competitors with its own money. The training process was organised in the Lemayev Petrochemistry and Oil Refining College in Nizhnekamsk where the equipment was handed over free.

Like other TAIF Group’s companies, Kazanorgsintez PJSC aspires to create the most comfortable conditions not only for its employees’ work but also for their life. So single workers who need accommodation are provided with dwelling in the company’s hall of residence. Interested people can take out a mortgage with the help of the company. Those who go back to work on demobilisation after to compulsory military service in the army and those who get married for the first time receive financial aid. The employees’ children can go on a comfortable holiday and have fun in Sunny camp. All this also serves as important stimuli to keep the employee in the company. And this really works. More than ten family dynasties working in the factory are evidence of this and the fact that vocational jobs are respected again.

This May, President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov stress when giving a speech at the plenary session of the 7th All-Russian Working Youth Forum, which was at Kazan Helicopters: “As for the conservation of the promising young staff in the region, we should create comfortable living conditions and provide opportunities for career development”. All this, and even much more, has already been done by TAIF Group’s companies for a long time. And this is why it is prestigious to work in the Group’s enterprises.

By Arseny Favstritsky