This 17-strong start-up team of renewable energy specialists has recently opened satellite offices in Aberdeen and Orkney in addition to the main Edinburgh base in order to meet growing interest in decarbonisation of North Sea assets. Their flagship project is the development and installation in Orkney of a prototype wave energy machine to provide green energy with zero carbon power to the North Sea.
In scaling up the team and in approaching new investors to accelerate the commercialisation of its wave energy technology, Mocean Energy wished in 2020 to develop robust HR systems, policies and procedures to support ambitious growth plans. They turned to AAB People for advice and support with employee relations, recruitment and onboarding.
The original goal was to ensure that all compliance needs were being met. But support for employee relations and recruitment followed quickly as it became clear that this would be a proactive, human partnership where AAB People would help to drive the HR strategy and suggest continuous improvements and a fresh perspective.
“AAB People are embedded in our company and have given us confidence in our ability to grow. We now have strong systems and the right culture in place to do that. We didn’t know what we were missing until we met them!”
The partnership began with a whole-team values exercise to determine the foundations of a strong, unified company culture. Trust, Expertise, Awesomeness and Morals were chosen by Mocean Energy as the basis for all day-to-day teamwork and problem-solving and for longer-term decisions about company direction.
AAB People’s own early experience as a start-up was an important influence. Helping a fledgling company develop confidence in its structure and internal systems and feel less vulnerable is key to successful growth. The depth of understanding from a similar-sized team with a similar growth history was a significant factor for Mocean Energy in choosing to work long-term with AAB People.
As well as getting to know the whole team and introducing a range of HR policies and an HR system, AAB People led and advised on the recruitment of five new hires during 2021. Job design for and consultation with engineers, technical project managers and support staff was followed by interview help and the creation of thorough onboarding and induction processes, thus relieving the management of time-consuming admin.
Employee relations, including helping the management team to support employees with any work-related concerns, is a key element of the partnership. AAB People remains on hand as another avenue for employees to discuss and address any emerging issues. The team also act as a valued sounding board for emerging conversations about people strategy and development.
MB and founder Cameron McNatt is clear about the value of having a well-aligned HR advisory team.
“AAB People are embedded in our company and have given us confidence in our ability to grow. We now have strong systems and the right culture in place to do that. We didn’t know what we were missing until we met them! Left to our own devices, we probably wouldn’t have written down those values. Now, we refer to the values in all our decision-making and hiring conversations, and to reflect on and preserve our culture as we grow.”
“As a result of having AAB People on board, our employees and our managers feel better supported and we feel like a fully developed company with good systems and foundations, rather than a vulnerable start-up. We feel like we have access to the whole team if we need it and our main contact Scott feels very much like part of our team, never like an outside consultant.”