Founded in 2011, Soiltech is a Norwegian cleantech service provider specialising in the treatment, recycling and responsible handling of contaminated water and solid industrial waste streams. With a clear purpose to provide clean technologies for a greener future, Soiltech designs, builds, owns and operates its treatment technologies, providing services in close cooperation with the customer on their sites.
Soiltech has 100+ employees working with several clients world-wide, with headquarters in Norway and a strong presence in the UK and the Middle East.
Unusually for most AAB People clients, Soiltech already has an HR manager in place (based at HQ in Norway). But with no presence in the UK, they sought HR expertise in 2022 for UK-specific recruitment and employment. They turned to the AAB People team to set up a new UK entity and identify, locate and recruit UK-based North Sea offshore field personnel, including operators and supervisors. Ever since the collaboration began and now 9 recruits later, AAB People continues to act on a retained basis as the UK recruitment and pre-onboarding arm for UK-based employees. An ongoing responsibility is to create appropriate salary and benefit packages for Norwegian recruits aiming to work in UK and other overseas territories, but who remain employed by a Norway-based company.
This HR collaboration is a unique set-up in that the onboarding process, the ongoing management of employment issues, the performance management and professional development is led by the Norwegian HQ once AAB People has created the UK-compliant systems needed for UK-based employees. Once new recruits are hired, they go on to report to their Norwegian line manager.
Before recruiting could begin, AAB People created a UK arm for Soiltech, registered in Aberdeen. A complete HR infrastructure for Soiltech UK was introduced, putting in place employment contracts, an employee handbook compliant with UK legislation, a payroll process (managed by our dedicated AAB Payroll arm) and several other HR tools to benchmark salaries, make salary recommendations and create bespoke, competitive benefits packages.
In the first few months, AAB People sought and recruited seven engineers for Soiltech UK. This involved creating job descriptions, identifying strong candidates, screening, shortlisting (and sometimes helping to interview) them and creating onboarding documentation once they were hired. In 2023 more engineers were and still are being recruited, and AAB People has helped to create a performance management structure that works for UK employees.
AAB payroll in particular are closely involved with the practical management of UK personnel’s day-to-day financial needs, including the support and upload of all travelling expenses and changes and additions to contract relating to benefits.
With deep knowledge, experience and expertise in the entire HR lifecycle, AAB People acts as an always-there sounding board for Soiltech. Whether it’s about attracting and hiring new team members, developing their careers, managing their performance or managing their salary and benefits, it’s key to the relationship to have fresh perspectives and a reliable steer on the best course of action.
Soiltech’s VP of People and Organisation, Bente Skogen, echoes this last point:
“We have only a small HR team in Norway, and AAB are like an extension of our team. We see them as our colleagues and it’s an, friendly co-operation. I find Frances very knowledgeable – she’s a professional HR person and a great discussion partner. I value her time and the way she’s into the details. If I have a question or an issue that needs help, she always responds quickly.”
“Both Frances and Michael have worked in Norway before, so they understand the nuances and country differences around workplace and employment, which means they can communicate appropriately with Norwegians planning to work in the UK. This is important, because remuneration and employment trends are quite different here, and you can’t compare UK and Norway without understanding why. AAB have helped us create competitive solutions that appeal to Norwegians working abroad.“
“It’s very important to us to have their immediate expertise on UK law, compliance issues and regulatory frameworks. We need to know that we have the correct pension schemes and insurance policies, for example. It saves me a lot of time to have that knowledge on hand and it means expertise on laws and regulations are compliant”
“The AAB team is always there and they follow up well. I feel as if we are their only client even though they have several others. We recently gave just one week’s notice of a recruitment trip to UK and they arranged everything quickly and easily. We use their meeting rooms for interviews and are always warmly welcomed not just by HR but by payroll, finance and other departments too.”
“it’s also important to mention that this co-operation helps us live by our Vision, which is about delivering quality, acting with integrity and taking responsibility. We need their UK expertise to live this fully.”