Shell has embarked on a global HR transformation which has improved employee and line manager satisfaction while delivering significant cost savings around the world, according to the company’s regional HR operations manager (Asia, Oceania, Middle East & North Africa), Yannick Colot.
He explained that the business launched the internal transformation of HR – the biggest in the past 20 years of Shell – with a view to increasing business impact at a lower cost while providing an excellent user experience, in order to help Shell in meeting broader external business objectives.
The HR operations organisation is a key enabler in this HR transformation process, according to Colot, who said HR is primarily based in Shell’s Business Operations (SBO) organisation, which employs about 1300 HR operations professionals (42 per cent of Shell’s HR FTEs) in Krakow, Manila and Kuala Lumpur.
Collectively the SBO organisation supports approximately 84,000 employees and 15,000 line managers globally in 11 languages, and Colot leads the HR team from Kuala Lumpur providing support to Australian businesses as well as all other countries in Asia, Oceania, Middle East and North Africa.
“While we had very good experiences with HR operations servicing employees, we have taken the decisive step to put all direct line manager support in our operational centres too,” said Colot, who was speaking ahead of HR Innovation & Tech Fest, which will be held at ICC Sydney from 18 – 19 November 2019.
The HR advice team in HR operations has become the main face of HR, supporting all major HR processes virtually in Shell by providing information and transaction support for HR processes a well as advisory support for high-touch processes (36 global processes and 400+ local processes overall).
The purpose of HR operations within Shell, Colot explained, is to “empower performance by creating exceptional HR experiences.”
Key Elements of the HR Transformation Strategy
A thorough analysis at the start of the process involved a large community of HR and other professionals from across the business.
“HR and business leaders, as ambassadors for the change and with support of the change agent networks, engaged effectively to address these concerns and built confidence in HR capability”
Combined with learnings from peer companies, Colot said this resulted in a robust design which avoided pitfalls other companies experienced, addressed concerns people raised internally, and retained things that were working well in the business.
“During the capability building phase we singled out the most critical changes and processes for which we wanted to create a ‘wow’ factor from the start, such as supporting line managers with performance management for their people,” he said.
To help manage implementation after go-live, a dedicated team was put in place to detect and solve issues within a 24-hour timeframe.
However, thanks to a people-centric approach, thorough preparation and collaboration after go-live, this additional support was wound up a month earlier than planned due to swifter stabilisation and faster embedding of new ways of working.
Colot said the four elements that were key to success included:
- Integrated organisational design: carefully defining clear accountabilities and interdependencies across the HR function
- User-centric design: bringing the voice of the customer into design thinking, understanding business/employee priorities and concerns and engaging them early in defining organisation design principles, detailed design and usability of HR portal/channels
- Cultural and behavioural change: focusing on individual and organisational resilience through change
- Open and transparent change approach: a HR community directly involved in dialogue about organisation design, capability development, etc.
To help Shell’s HR professionals thrive through the change, a customised human performance and care solution, based on cutting-edge positive psychology and neuroscience, was developed in collaboration with Shell Health.
“Acknowledging and promoting an intentional care mindset in the workplace, the solution focused on new teams, new ways and new joiners to help build capacity for change and help people to thrive,” said Colot, who added that enabling culture and behaviours in HR operations focused on:
- Empowering HR operations employees to take more accountability, make decisions at the lowest acceptable level, and take personal ownership for development
- Getting better every day via continuous improvement and growth mindsets, supported by metrics, training, simplification and automation
- Stronger focus on compliance and controls, specifically more discipline around data privacy and embedding the outcomes from control learning incidents.
“We engaged early and continuously with our HR community to allow them to understand the new HR operating model, how we work together and any personal impact”
“Caring and supportive leaders at all levels with the right skills to motivate, energise and coach our staff to reach their full potential, perform at their best and thrive in times of change encouraged higher levels psychological safety during change,” said Colot.
“This helped promote a culture of care where people felt engaged and where speaking up was celebrated.”
Technology Driving Transformation
Technology played a critical role in the transformation, and Colot explained that the enabling technology during this phase of the initiative was Salesforce (including automatic case distribution and chat functionality for line managers) for all HR operations staff, including some professionals outside the HR operational environment.
To improve the employee/line manager experience, Colot said the HR portal technology was also improved, with a focus on the ‘contact us’ options, navigation and content.
“We used a human-centric design approach, involving about 30 users in needs discovery and experience testing activities,” said Colot.
Shell’s process architects are all lean certified and he said they fully leveraged this capability during the HR transition, while the shift from proximate and dedicated HR support to virtual and shared HR support required a significant mindset change for Shell’s line managers – who were concerned that HR would become less effective.
“HR and business leaders, as ambassadors for the change and with support of the change agent networks, engaged effectively to address these concerns and built confidence in HR capability,” he explained.
“We engaged early and continuously with our HR community to allow them to understand the new HR operating model, how we work together and any personal impact.”
He said there was a significant focus on capability building, especially for the HR operations team, integrating mission-critical skills/behaviours, knowledge of the new HR organisational model (including ways of working) and knowledge/skill in the changing systems and processes.
“We have built a more resilient HR community, encouraged to take ownership of their own development, collaborate across HR and to support each other where needed”
All HR staff also had access to a personal capability building toolkit, helping to prepare for go-live and the first 100 days in their role.
Outcomes and Results
In the course of the HR transformation, Colot said it was important to keep employee/line manager satisfaction metrics stable throughout the change.
“We have clearly met this goal, with employee satisfaction remaining steady around 93 per cent and 88 per cent line managers’ satisfaction, exceeding the expected 80 per cent after go-live,” said Colot, who added that the volume of issues raised remains very low.
After go-live, line manager experience interviews were introduced to get more qualitative data, and he said these interviews showed that line managers liked the new model, especially in terms of accessibility, speed and completeness.
“It is recognised that support has been simplified to reflect line managers’ needs,” he explained.
“Equally important, by investing in a care culture, we have built a more resilient HR community, encouraged people to take ownership of their own development, collaborate across HR and to support each other where needed.”
Colot said that the more efficient practices, such as having shared resources located in Krakow, Kuala Lumpur and Manila, resulted in Shell being able to achieve significant cost savings.
“By combining analytical and advisory work in HR operations, and extending beyond traditional support, we can continue to improve line manager support,” he said.
Colot will be presenting on “Empowering Performance by Creating Exceptional HR Experiences” at the HR Innovation & Tech Fest, which will be held at ICC Sydney from 18 – 19 November 2019.
About the Author
Craig Donaldson is the Chief Content Officer of Inside HR. He has been a professional journalist, business editor and content producer/manager for more than 15 years and has written for a broad range of publications and websites locally and internationally. With a keen interest in the world of work and fulfilling careers, he helps readers drive effective organisational results through acquiring, developing and retaining the right people.
This article originally appeared on Inside HR, media partner of HR Innovation & Tech Fest.