Shell: a multi-pronged approach to recruiting diverse talent
"We believe that the more diverse the workforce, the wider the variety of our ideas and the better we understand our customer base," says a D&I pro
Ana Kopf, regional recruitment manager for the Americas, says that Shell's ability to compete in the global marketplace is affected by how well it can attract, develop and retain a diverse workforce that reflects the countries where it operates and the suppliers and customers it does business with.
"We understand that the more diverse the workforce, the wider the variety of ideas we bring to the table and the better we understand our increasingly varied customer base," Kopf says.
Shell is one of the largest independent oil and gas enterprises in the world. As an organization with a global emphasis and mindset, the company has a wide variety of diversity-oriented activities and programs to boost employees' careers. It relies on a number of employee network groups rather than a company-wide diversity council to advise corporate leadership on issues important to the diverse workforce, explains Francene Young, Shell VP for upstream Americas talent and development and U.S. diversity and inclusion. There are a few U.S. locations that have their own local diversity councils, and Shell gets feedback from them, too.
In Houston, for example, Shell's employee groups are Women Adding Value Everywhere (WAVE); Shell Black Networking Group; Shell Hispanic Employee Networking Group; SeaShell, an LGBT group; Shell Asia Pacific Employee Network Group; Network NeXt, to bridge the gap between generations in the workplace; and Shell Talented and Experienced Professionals network (STEP), for newly hired experienced professionals.
New Orleans also has employee networking groups: Louisiana Women Adding Value Everywhere (LA-WAVE), Shell Hispanic Employee Network Louisiana and Shell Black Networking Group LA.
Shell began its U.S. diversity work in the 1990s when the first diversity director was appointed, Young says. Since then, diversity has expanded globally across Shell.
In Shell's business a wide range of engineering and IT roles are always available to be filled, Kopf says. "We have a diverse international network that includes some of the finest minds in the business, and our employees are helping to power people's lives for generations to come." Among the many job titles are geoscientist, reservoir/petroleum engineer, well engineer, production engineer, process engineer and IT security analyst.
The specific technical skills and experience required vary from job to job, of course. But in addition to technical skills, Shell values a strong commercial, customer and business mindset, diverse thinking, relationship skills, decision-making ability, leadership potential and a track record of delivering results, Kopf says.
Shell likes to bring in a mix of experienced professionals, new grads and interns to align with business needs. "We post new professional jobs on an ongoing basis and accept internship and fulltime grad applications year-round," Kopf says.
The company takes many approaches to attracting a diverse pool of candidates. Shell works with several historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and schools with high enrollment of Hispanics and Latinos. It also leverages its relationships with key NGOs that serve diverse populations in the U.S.
Shell employees participate on career panels at schools, and Shell offers scholarships and intern fellowships for minority students.
On the job at Shell, employees with leadership potential are offered mentoring, Young says, and Shell conducts talent reviews and works on succession plans for senior-level positions. It works to place talented early-career employees in assignments designed to prepare them for the future, Young says.
Shell offers a variety of diversity training programs. "They can be lunch-and-learns or half-day workshops, and many are prepared programs ready for use."
Many operations in the business run around the clock, but most Shell locations try to accommodate flexible schedules where possible.
Employees can get heavily involved in their local communities if they choose, Young notes. They can support local schools, help as tutors, or work at agencies like Habitat for Humanity. There's also a workforce development initiative that focuses on students and teachers in inner-city middle and high schools. The goal is to be sure kids understand the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. "In Houston, where oil is clearly such big business, we organized a camp for science teachers to show them how they can fit the energy business into their classwork.
"We also tap our employees to help us when we go to career fairs and conferences," Young says. "We invite a diverse group of technical employees to join us to speak on behalf of Shell."
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