Man with chart sitting on rocks

Learning and development

Learning and development is a key, ongoing part of our human resources activity and is clearly an important part of supporting our delivery of strategy.

During the year, we focused on two core learning and development initiatives. We held a technical conference focused on creating value for the business from exploration, a reflection of our Group strategy to deliver value for stakeholders by building and maintaining a balanced portfolio of exploration, development and production assets within the oil and gas lifecycle. We also ran an e-learning training course on anti-bribery and corruption (ABC), which all our staff were required to complete and pass. This ABC training course is part of ensuring our strategy to deliver value in a safe, secure, and environmentally and socially responsible manner, and was designed to further raise awareness and understanding of bribery and corruption. The training course covered all the key issues relating to bribery and corruption, including the UK Bribery Act 2010. 

Technical conference: “From Volumes to Value”

In addition to our suite of annual geological fieldtrips, which included Utah, Ireland and one in the local Edinburgh area in 2016, the Company held its inaugural Technical Conference in September, which our geoscience, engineering, commercial and new ventures functions attended. The conference was designed to ensure alignment across the business, identify areas for improvement as part of our drive to continually improve in all we do. It explored sharing of knowledge and techniques across the geoscience, engineering, commercial, exploration and new ventures functions. The conference was hosted by Paul Mayland, Chief Operating Officer, and Richard Heaton, Director of Exploration. It was attended by over 60 members of staff, including our regional directors and staff based in our Stavanger and London offices. 

The conference was focused around three key questions: What are we doing well that we should continue doing?; In what areas could we improve?; and What conditions are required to achieve the above? The questions were applied to the key technical disciplines of exploration of new ventures, asset/licence management; exploration and appraisal investment decisions; value creation; and data and tools. The findings based on discussion and feedback at the conference were recently presented to the Management Team with actions to be rolled out in 2017. 

Equipping our people with the right tools

As well as having the right people in place and ensuring they have access to the right training to perform to the best of their abilities, we need to have the right tools in place. In late 2015, management requested a review of the suitability of our current day-to-day business procurement systems with a view to moving to a single group-wide business system. This was on the basis that multiple systems were in use across the Group that had the potential to create risks and process inefficiencies.

At the end of 2015, a project commenced to formally define, document and review Cairn’s Enterprise Resource Platform (ERP) requirements. In 2016, requirements were assessed against available platforms, future strategy, and the risks and process inefficiencies we had already identified. At the end of that review, a decision was reached to move to a single, new ERP more suited to Cairn’s current business. Work is under way to design and build the new system, with planned implementation during 2017. 

Linking performance to strategy

We recognise the importance of linking the performance of our people to the delivery of strategy to ensure our people are aligned and incentivised in delivering our strategic objectives. Changes to our performance management process during the year included measuring high-performance behaviours, which further strengthen our working responsibly culture.   

Revisions to Discretionary Cash Bonus scheme

In April, the Company rolled out enhancements to our performance management and related Discretionary Cash Bonus scheme. The Company wanted to adopt a standardised approach, ensuring consistency in how performance is assessed and rewarded through the application of a common, open and transparent system for all staff, irrespective of location. 

The proposed solution was a powerful combination of:

  • Group KPIs, which set out the strategic objectives for the company as a whole;
  • project performance objectives, recognising the importance of collaboration within a team, collective problem solving to meet an objective and project management skills to deliver these objectives in a timely manner; and
  • personal performance objectives, highlighting high-performing individuals who demonstrate the right behaviours consistently and work to the Group’s standards to achieve their objectives.


We believe the revisions will:

  • develop more cohesive teams that are clear on their annual objectives, through the implementation of a team performance element;
  • encourage, reward and emphasise the importance of project management, collaboration and teamwork; and
  • ensure that all staff have an element of their reward based on their own individual performance and merits, including their application of our high-performance behaviours and people management accountabilities.


Feedback so far from staff on the revisions has been positive. 

Download PDF

Create a PDF of this section to take away.

Download PDF