Shell’s HR transformation journey

It's been quite a journey for Shell as it transforms its traditional HR function and people strategies in this increasingly digital world.
By: | January 29, 2020

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 2 of our feature interview.

Read Part 1 here: A firm believer in pushing Asian talent

Like many companies, Shell’s HR function is going through a transformation to a World Class HR Organisation. This involves moving onto a new digital platform, optimising the HR Organisation and Refreshing our People Strategy  in order to create more business impact, a great employee experience and less cost.

‘’We need to be cost effective without compromising on the quality of the support we provide our Line Managers and  employees. We have to compare ourselves globally with companies of a similar size and we need to get to Top Quartile costs across the Industry,” Hayward said.

But it was a very different story back in early 2000, when its HR overheads were high. “A large chunk of those savings has been outsourcing through our shared business centres and leveraging on a global HR IT platform. While it’s outsourcing, this is not through a third party. We won’t compromise on the value and experience we deliver’’.

Shell has created global mega business operations centres integrating some of its HR functions. The four hubs are based in Krakow (Poland), Chennai (India), KL (Malaysia) and Manila (Philippines) and each has slightly different specialities and serves different parts of the globe.

The organisation employs about 3,000 globally across HR, of which roughly a third are in our Operation Centers.

“From an HR point of view, it has been a journey with our operation centres as they move from doing a highly transactional role to now doing HR account manager roles’’, he added.

Energy companies are very much in the public spotlight as pressure over climate change grows.

‘’It’s a very interesting time for the industry about how we reinvent ourselves and stay relevant for the future. We need to embrace the change, be part of the solution, and we need to do this in collaboration with others’’.