Learning & Development

Investing in our employees maximizes our company’s performance, so we approach talent development and succession planning with the same rigor that we apply to our business strategy. We seek to attract, develop and retain employees through a combination of on-the-job learning, formal training and regular feedback and mentoring.

Career Development

We empower our employees to grow their careers through personal and professional development opportunities. Employees can identify opportunities through career conversations with their supervisors and by creating an Individual Development Plan (IDP), a development tool that captures employee’s long-term plans for their careers. In 2019, we developed an IDP Career Conversation Guide to help employees and supervisors have meaningful career conversations. As part of ongoing development, we encourage supervisors to gain insights on their strengths and areas for improvement through an assessment tool which gathers feedback from supervisors, direct reports and peers to help increase an employee’s overall effectiveness. We also encourage employees to attend industry conferences in their career fields to network with others, learn about upcoming trends and gain new insights applicable to their careers.

Talent Management Teams

Skill-based Talent Management Teams (TMTs) guide employee development and career progression by skills and location. The TMTs help identify our future business needs and assess the availability of critical skill sets within the company. TMTs include senior representatives from business unit (BUs) and corporate functions. These representatives are the interface between leaders, supervisors and employees.

Formal Training

In 2019, our employees completed more than 297,934 hours of virtual and in-person training on topics ranging from technical learning to professional development. Each year, learning priorities from the BUs and functions are identified to ensure our employees have the right skills and training to deliver on the company’s priorities. Through the Petrotech Academy, early-career employees in the engineering and geoscience disciplines have the opportunity to network with others in the company and to enhance their technical and professional skills through web-based and virtual training modules, case studies and formal presentations from leaders and subject-matter experts.

In 2019, the company hosted the Learning and Innovation for Today and Tomorrow (LIFT) event for more than 200 global petrotech employees with four to 10 years of experience. Training at ConocoPhillipsA complementary mix of training and networking, the event featured nine technical tracks and 36 courses, giving petrotechs the opportunity to learn, innovate and connect with colleagues. Participants were required to choose a track outside their expertise, pushing them out of their comfort zones and advancing their technical skills across disciplines. As we continue to teach new skills to our workforce to meet the changing needs of our industry, we have placed a higher emphasis on data analytics training. During 2019, we provided basic and advanced data analytics training to more than 6,000 employees around the globe with over 11,000 hours of training delivered.

We are also working to develop a pipeline of new talent. In 2019, ConocoPhillips announced a nearly $3 million contribution to several universities to support data science programs, providing funds to hire faculty, working with them to shape curriculums that align with ConocoPhillips’ workforce needs and helping them further data science education in general. Many of our BUs also hosted employee development months to promote continuous learning during 2019. In Houston and Bartlesville, 1,650 employees attended nearly 40 development sessions on a variety of topics including cultural awareness, investor relations and stress management. Over 1,500 employees attended 60 similar sessions in Alaska.

Leadership Development

We recognize that supervisors play a key role in talent development, so we offer a robust supervisor development curriculum to help leaders engage and develop their employees. Global courses focus on proactive communication, employee development and building trust. In 2019, supervisors completed over 5,540 hours of training. We also launched short, in-person skills practice trainings and a new Leading the Business course which is the capstone of the curriculum, highlighting basic financial principles and offering a decision-making framework for strategic thinking.

In an effort to foster collaboration and share best practices, we established the Leaders of Leaders program. This program brings together the company’s top senior leaders in small cohort groups to learn, discuss, network and adopt practices promoting diversity and inclusion, psychological safety, innovation, HSE and other important topics.

Performance Management

We identified leadership competencies that provide a common baseline of knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors to support employee performance, growth and success. All employees participate in regular performance management discussions and have access to a voluntary 360-feedback tool to provide feedback on their strengths and opportunities relative to these competencies. In 2019, we announced a new performance management program focused on increased objectivity, credibility and transparency. The program includes goal-setting guidance with a stronger connection to ongoing priorities, broad stakeholder feedback, frequent real-time recognition and the introduction of a new “how” rating to assess behaviors to ensure they are in line with our guiding principles. The process is being implemented in 2020.


Together, our employees deliver strong performance. Throughout our long history, employees with experience in every field have taken great care to pass on knowledge and maintain a tradition of excellence. Our U.S.-based Information Technology (IT) organization provides an avenue for its employees to develop mentor and mentee relationships to grow personally and professionally. Employees can also expand their network by participating in mentoring circles. These small groups of individuals meet regularly to learn and grow together and to discuss a wide variety of topics, such as leadership, diversity and inclusion and communication. The success of the program inspired the Houston Women’s Network to create mentoring circles in 2019 to foster trust, support and open dialogue among its members.