How to Seek the Best Diverse, International Talent

INTECSEA’s Fernando Fernandez is about to apply a lifetime of managing broad, diverse HR initiatives to international expansion

The only constant in Fernando Fernandez’s four decades of international experience in human resources has been change. But that change isn’t something that Fernandez has had to endure; it has been a critical factor in his ability to thrive. And Fernandez’s capacity to adapt, manage, create, and employ all of the other skills cultivated in a career defined by dynamic challenges will play a catalytic role in his next challenge, too.

Fernandez directs the global human resources function for the world operations of INTECSEA, an offshore engineering consultancy company that delivers independent engineering and insight for the energy industry’s most challenging field developments. INTECSEA has designed subsea production systems, pipelines, and floating systems in a diverse set of harsh locations. Fernandez’s role at INTECSEA includes managing all of the company’s regional human resource leaders as they establish policies and programs across all of the company’s operating regions, organize functional activities for international ventures, research and select international vendors to provide services for employees abroad, and conduct international due diligence for new business projects.

If that sounds complicated, consider this: Fernandez’s experience managing those processes will serve as prelude to his leadership role in INTECSEA’s rebranding and transition into Advisian, the advisory arm of WorleyParsons. Advisian provides high-end strategic and business-level management consulting—integrated with deep technical consulting—to clients in the resource and energy industries. No matter the degree of challenge posed to Fernandez by the transition, he’s excited about the opportunities the combination of strategic, management, and actual experience in technical consulting will create, and he’s prepared to take initiative to capitalize on those opportunities.

“As I focus on the future ahead for INTECSEA and Advisian,” says Fernandez, “I see a change that will require a creative approach to markets, to business opportunities and to our resources.” As part of Advisian and the wider WorleyParsons group, INTECSEA will be better positioned than ever before to bring significant benefits to their clients on a global scale. “The challenge requires me to drive the initiatives that will deliver and maintain a highly effective and talented pipeline that can achieve the best solutions to help our clients achieve their business results.”

For Fernandez, maintaining a talented pipeline means hiring team members with multicultural and diverse competencies fit for a multinational organization. His approach to meeting ambitious expectations—both his own and those of the company’s clients—speaks to his appreciation for the abilities of each member of the team of professionals under his direction. Fernandez works directly and most closely with three colleagues in the company’s Houston office to manage the Americas region and assist in global initiatives, but he makes an intentional effort to empower his regional heads to manage their own teams openly, overseeing and advising when necessary. Fernandez does all he can to be present and available to all of his regional heads in an approachable way.

Fernandez strives to get to know his team—what are their stories, their personal triumphs, their challenges? He insists that having a level of friendship and familiarity with colleagues empowers him and his team members to work more effectively and promotes the importance of having a strong culture at work. “When, as a leader, you share enthusiasm and joy with your team” Fernandez says, “it helps you attack challenges more effectively.

As INTECSEA brings its capabilities to Advisian, Fernandez will bring his own deep experience across capacities and cultures to the company’s talent-management program. The recent downturn in the oil and gas industry has resulted in a surplus of talent seeking opportunities. Fernandez has witnessed a global trend of extraordinary talent seeking entry into a new venture, and he is thrilled to position INTECSEA to benefit from this influx.

“Managing our global organizational talent needs will require new approaches in emerging markets,” he says. He believes it will benefit the company to seek talent locally in any new international market INTECSEA might be operating. Instead of exporting talent, he expects that hiring locally will have a positive impact on business opportunities and projects around the world. “Our resources have to work with clients to turn complex challenges into practical and successful results. They must bring real insight to support critical business decision making that reveals unseen business options and set new standards.”

Fernandez’s own experience has prepared him to lead in this environment. “I have experienced many changes and requirements during my international work experience. A more adaptive international assignment process is a ‘must-have’ for our global organization,” he says. “New global markets demand that we develop a readily available talent pipeline that is culturally rich and that can be deployed globally, easily, and quickly.”

On a practical level, maintaining a work climate in human resources that is both dynamic and is regionally focused requires a lot of Fernandez. He starts his work day between 6:00 and 6:30 each morning to connect with his European locations and often remains on-task until late in the evening to be available for his colleagues in the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania.

Beyond the long hours, real challenges to managing both Fernandez’s current initiatives and those associated with the transition to Advisian require comprehensive understanding of company goals across often-contradicting cultures, making the motivation behind perceived behaviors and trends transparent to all of every culture, and handling the realities of time-zone differences in real time to operate effectively.

Fernandez sees all of these challenges as opportunities: opportunities to get to know different countries, cultures, and people; opportunities to incorporate that understanding into the work environment to make business ventures more successful; and—with the transition to Advisian—an opportunity to translate every element of his success in a dynamic HR career to yet another global initiative.