How Shell is nurturing tomorrow’s leaders by developing diverse talent


A framework that speaks not just to leaders and emerging talent, but also to critical roles, supported by open and frequent conversations, is at the heart of Shell’s leadership development programs, says Ernest Lee, Head of Human Resources, Shell Companies in Singapore and Indonesia. we.

In today’s marketplace, talent has a choice. People leave not only for higher wages or better working conditions, but also for a purpose. A global energy player, Shell believes in being transparent with its employees in terms of development, leadership expectations, performance and potential.

In this conversation with Ernest Lee, HR Manager, Shell Companies in Singapore and IndonesiaFacilitated by experts from TAFEP (Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices), we discover how Shell fuels the drive for growth and development in its employees through a range of opportunities in leadership roles, planning succession, etc.

The foundation lies in the way Shell considers talent under three main compartments:

  • Leaders with team leadership responsibilities,
  • Talents or critical roles with deep knowledge and skills, and
  • Emerging talents.

The first group is made up of individuals who already possess the right abilities to take on leadership roles.

The second group are “ready later” candidates, which can take about three to five years to develop. These individuals may fill positions that require core capabilities or subject matter expertise. “We will have open conversations with them about their areas of development, whether technical or functional, and we will focus on developing their experiences and skills,” Lee said.

The third would be emerging talent – ​​people Shell would like to develop early in their career. They usually come in new and show the potential to take on bigger roles in the future. Although there are slight differences in terms of the experiences available to them and the changes offered from a career perspective, the idea is that they are better informed and equipped to take on bigger roles at a faster pace. fast.

Lighting up the talent pool

Succession planning at Shell is about thinking ahead about how to develop talent to meet the future needs of the business. Lee adds, “Likewise, it’s about how we support our businesses now so that we move forward into the future, and talent is a key enabler to get us there.”

To support talent development, the 36-month “Talent Acceleration Program for Asia” (TAPA) is in place. Specifically organized to develop Asian leaders, it was designed using extensive research as well as a belief in the value that Asian leaders bring to the global organization. Lee shares, “As a global business, we need multiple perspectives, and the Asian lens is increasingly relevant given the World Economic Forum’s prediction that by 2040, Asia is expected to generate more 50% of world GDP and could represent almost 40% of world consumption.

As one of the key hubs of the Shell Group, Shell Singapore is seen as a key partner in developing a strong talent pool of Asian leaders to lead effectively in a global context and build on Asian strengths. such as the cultural attributes, value systems and different perspectives of a diversity of races and religions.

The four development themes of the TAPA program build courage, encourage curiosity, enhance strategic storytelling and have global impact.

TAPA is structured to provide continuous assessment and feedback, with 360-degree assessments conducted at the start and end of the program. Exit assessment scores are compared to the initial assessment to assess the impact of the program on the talent and the businesses they lead. These indicators also serve as additional data points when examining the individual’s readiness to move into the next role.

Specific tools and learning interventions used in TAPA include the Leading to Engage and Deliver (LEAD) program which covers basic leadership skills; fundamentals of storytelling and powerful individual interviews, coaching to build your personal leadership narrative; a global senior executive designated as a mentor; and peer group coaching.

Energizing the Future of Leadership

Some of the unique things Shell undertakes include its Asian Talent Council (ATC), which is akin to a company-wide in-house talent council for Asia, which brings to life the results of the succession, as well as the identification and growth of leaders.

Lee explains the concept: “Shell Singapore operates in a global ecosystem, and more so in the region. Using access to opportunities in the region as an extension of Singapore, ATC aims to provide meaningful and strategic career opportunities. to our talents.”

Putting all their power behind it, Shell’s top global leaders in Asia who not only sponsor the initiative, but through the ATC platform, are focused on facilitating and inspiring business-to-business development movements and functional to enable Shell’s future talent and leaders to be exposed to a wide range of career development moves that broaden them and prepare them for leadership roles.

Milestones of an electrifying journey

Shell believes true diversity is about bringing different perspectives to the table, which is why the energy giant has dedicated real resources to nurturing as many talent segments as possible, such as through TAPA.

At Shell Singapore, which is recognized as an Exemplary Employer under the Human Capital Partnership Program, 30% of the workforce is female and women make up 39% of management positions. In addition to a living and breathing inclusive community, female talent benefits from development opportunities such as the Women’s Career Development Program and Senior Women’s Connect.

Shell Companies in Singapore President Aw Kah Peng, Senior Vice President, Chemicals and Products, Shirley Yap, and Managing Director, Aviation Asia, Doris Tan, are just a few examples of capable women who have managed to advance their career at Shell.

Fadhilah Abdul Wahab, is another shining example. She is one of only two Singaporean female marine engineers – out of a group of 15 globally – who is currently on her exciting development journey with Shell.

Reasons to celebrate also come from the fact that Shell’s communities and partners recognize its culture of honesty, integrity and respect. Lee opens up: “While Shell is not immune to the dynamism of market forces and changing societies, we continue to offer good planned career paths for our talent. We continue to offer a good mix of development options to retain and attract quality talent into our mix. »

Key points to remember

In a nutshell, talent management doesn’t have to be complex. It’s about getting started, starting small and starting simple. Lee stresses the importance of showing your talent that their development as an individual is important to the company. In fact, identifying and categorizing talent allows leaders and talent to share a common language. It is an appreciation of the distinct benefit and contribution that individuals bring to the role, to their teams and to the community.

While this sets the tone for talent development, it is a genuine and transparent engagement and commitment to action from its leaders that touches talent.

“Having authentic conversations with talent allows us to share with them that talent potential can change. We innovate on short- and long-term career options, and also set clear expectations for individuals’ deliver,” says Lee.

“If you’re not transparent with your talent or willing to develop it, someone else will.”

The Human Capital Partnership (HCP) Program is a tripartite initiative that brings together a community of exemplary employers in Singapore who have progressive employment practices in their organizations and are committed to developing their human capital. Visit to learn more about the HCP program.

Picture / Provided

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