Shell: A firm believer in pushing Asian talent
Royal Dutch Shell, to give it its full name, has more than 80,000 employees spread across the globe. A large chunk of that workforce is based here in Asia, an exciting and rapidly-growing collection of markets for Shell. Singapore is the regional headquarters for the oil company and Leslie Hayward is its head of HR. Here’s Part 1 of our feature interview.
Hayward oversees a region for Shell that employs around 13,000 people, and that’s excluding the huge markets of India and China. It’s a role he’s held for eight years, although he’s been working in HR at Shell for 30 years. He has two portfolios – Singapore and the region. The ‘’region’’ isn’t the typical APAC but covers Pakistan to Japan excluding India and China. Across this region, he manages about 90 people within various HR teams. In Singapore, he oversees 3,000 employees spread across in its west Singapore headquarters, and its plants in Bukom, Jurong Island and Tuas and terminal in Pandan.
The HR veteran has been with Shell his entire career, joining as a graduate in Malaysia. ‘’I thought let’s try it out for a few years. But one thing led to another and after six years, I moved to The Hague. This was a turning point for me and highlights the attractiveness of Shell – you are given the exposure and if you show up well it does help to define your career and destination. I benefitted from that and am a true believer in getting people the right exposure early in their career’’.
The company recently ranked number three in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work 2020 survey, behind Google and Facebook. “The Glassdoor award was quite special. If you look at the top three or five on the list they are all IT or tech companies and then you have this “old dinosaur” of Shell Singapore at 129 years old alongside Google, Facebook and Amazon’’.
After the award, the first thing Shell Singapore did was to share the recognition with its employees. ‘’It resonates with our people, making it purposeful for them, and showing how they can make a difference. We are very big on building a great place to work, even if that sounds like a cliché,’’ he added.
Asian and female talent
Royal Dutch Shell is headquartered in the Netherlands and incorporated in the UK. Despite being thousands of miles away, Hayward is keen to make sure Asia and the talent based here is on its radar. ‘’I’m a firm believer in pushing for Asian talent. Be it in business and in HR. The fact that we are so far from headquarters means we have to work harder on visibility. Otherwise they don’t know who you are’’.
Shell is very big on diversity and inclusion (D&I) and has a 50/50 male/female ratio for new employees. So every year’s intake has to be build the funnel towards gender diversity. ‘’Over time the make-up of the workforce will be more balanced. You can’t leave it to chance, you have to make an effort. Our recruiters have very specific targets. Options for part-time and flexible working have to be explicitly mentioned for certain roles’’.