Doing the right thing is fundamental to how we do business. This is because we are judged not just by our business achievements but also by the way we conduct ourselves. In practice, doing the right thing means we treat our people, partners and other stakeholders with respect and transparency; keep employees and contractors safe from harm; support and sustain the communities in which we operate; actively seek to create shared value; and work to minimise our environmental footprint.
Culture lies at the heart of responsible operations. Although we work across a number of geographies, shared values unite our team. We expect everyone who works with us to demonstrate these values in both words and actions whatever their role with us. This in turn protects our business operations and enhances our reputation, preserving our licence to operate and helping protect and grow NAV (Net Asset Value).
Embedding an ethical culture
As a condition of working with us, all Directors, employees, and contractors must work in accordance with our Code of Conduct and our related policies and procedures, including ethical conduct standards and our Global Anti-Corruption policy. However, we do not want these to just be words on a page. We work hard to embed the fundamental tenants of working responsibly by training our workforce in both why we insist on operating responsibly and ethically and how that should be done in a practical, day-to-day way.
This year, we have run a number of training programmes across our operations, led by a combination of our central corporate team and on-the-ground management to place our policies and procedures into the context of our employees’ working life with us.
To better see how our people are meeting the expected standards of behaviour, we also introduced a new reporting framework to improve data collection, including leading indicators on ethical compliance such as anti-bribery, ‘maverick spends’, and creditor and counterparty risk. We discuss this in more detail in the report of the Board’s Audit Committee.
Complying with our expectations
Compliance registers are maintained across all assets and business functions covering government hostings, per diems paid to government officials and hospitality given to or received from third parties. Activities above certain financial thresholds require pre-approval before they can be performed.
Tailored due diligence is performed across a range of business activities covering the supply chain, CR and business development and M&A activities to enable Ophir to make informed decisions about who to contract with, who to do social investment work with, and who to partner with.
In our supply chain and third-party contracting, Ophir has an Intermediaries Standard and an Ethical Compliance Due Diligence Standard. Additionally, Ophir maintains an Intermediaries register to keep a record of and manage Intermediaries appointed by the Company. Our Social Investment Due Diligence Standard requires due diligence to be performed before Ophir allocates money to community development projects.
For global new ventures and M&A, there is a standalone due diligence process in place which applies before a decision is taken to farm-in to a new licence and/or contract with a new partner and to make a corporate acquisition.
We expect all staff to disclose any and all conflicts of interest, any personal connections which staff may have to people in government and to notify the General Counsel & Company Secretary of any exposure to corruption. Where any instance of a request to make a corrupt payment arises, staff are expected to immediately report.
This year, a Compliance Monitoring Plan was put in place to provide the Board with more clarity in relation to key corruption prevention activities. Its goal is to enable Ophir to understand where real corruption risk lies and to limit the Company’s exposure to it. The Governance Report provides more detail on the plan.
As Nick Cooper outlines in his CEO review, this year has been a challenging time for our workforce: we reduced our head office and expatriate personnel by around 50%, representing 15% of our global workforce. In a vastly changed oil price environment from five years ago, this was a necessary step to help embed sustainability in our business. Change such as this is always difficult, however we made sure these workforce reductions were handled respectfully and appropriately.
Our focus now is to ensure our team are well motivated to achieve their individual targets (supported with an annual performance review) and are united in the common goal of executing Ophir’s overarching strategy
Fundamentally, we wish to empower and support our people to make brave and transparent decisions to create shareholder value. Now that we have right-sized our business, retention is key. To meet this goal, we will continue to offer competitive remuneration and benefits packages, appropriate incentives, and embed a supportive, entrepreneurial culture where openness and inclusion can thrive. To help us achieve this goal, in 2017 we also conducted our biennial employee survey. Participation was 85%, up from 72% in 2015, and there was an improvement in overall sentiment compared with 2015.
This year, 30 high potential employees completed our bespoke leadership programme. Developed in collaboration with the London Business School, it helped them focus on innovation, collaboration and living our values. We look forward to seeing its positive impact in the years ahead and we intend to rollout a similar programme at other levels of the business in 2018.
We also introduced our Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Comprised of six core elements, it provides greater clarity around what our people can expect from Ophir as an employer.
Working across the globe, it is important that we create and maintain a common culture. One way we are doing that, and in addition to common training and induction programmes across the business, is the introduction of a collaborative intranet solution to make it easier to bring our employees together.
Diversity and inclusion
We embrace a culture of inclusivity and are committed to recognising that all our employees have different needs and aspirations. It is our firm belief that only by doing this will we achieve the best for our business and our people. Equally, we are also dedicated to encouraging inclusion and diversity at all levels of the business. A more diverse workforce, with the right mix of skills, experience, culture, ethnicity, nationality, gender and knowledge, can make our company stronger.
We are an equal opportunities employer and have a stated policy as part of our Code of Conduct to deal fairly and equitably with all of our employees in the workplace. We have a commitment to extend equal employment opportunities to all, irrespective of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment status, religion or belief, age, nationality, ethnicity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, or disability.
As at 31 December 2017 the Company has two female Directors representing 25% of the Board, 14% of the senior management team are female and throughout the Company, women represent 32% of our workforce. This is a reduction from last year, following the changes in our corporate headquarters – we hope to improve these percentages over the coming years.