BAME Development Programmes
BAME Development Programmes – to support an increase in the number of BAME future leaders, our UK leadership sponsored opportunities for 21 of our BAME employees to participate in two Development Programmes:
- The Talent Accelerator – developed by the Black British Business Awards (BBBA), this programme provides participants with the opportunity to reflect, deliberate and develop, surrounded by BAME peers and BAME senior executive role models. Topics explored include dealing with the challenges and pressures of leading others as a minority, how to build confidence and self-esteem to flourish as a BAME leader, and practical skills and behaviours to enhance leadership impact and career progression.
- The Emerging Leaders Programme – developed by INvolve, this programme is designed to build confidence, capability, and leadership skills to help diverse talent transition into more senior roles. The programme offers practical tips and solutions to specific challenges faced by diverse talent in the workplace, with modules on imposter syndrome and navigating challenging conversations.
In our first year of offering these programmes, 48% of participating BAME employees were women and 43% of employees who took part comprised of our Black employees. We intend to continue offering these opportunities to employees, equipping our diverse talent with the capabilities and leadership skills to further progress in their careers.
Being part of the BBBA Talent Accelerator programme was a fantastic opportunity for me. It was great to have the space to really explore what authentic leadership looks like for me and how I can leverage my unique skills and abilities to create a step change in my career. I welcomed the frank and productive conversations that took place with my line manager and senior leadership around the experience of being a minority in today’s workplace. Topics like these can be challenging, but everyone involved met this challenge with an open mind and a desire to learn. Completing this programme left me a toolkit of strategies, skills and behaviours I need to enhance my leadership impact and career progression.
In October 2020, 12 UK Country Coordination Team (CCT) reciprocal mentoring relationships were created with Black employees. Each consisted of at least six meetings, enabling our leaders to better understand the experiences of Black colleagues and reflect on what they can do to build more inclusion.
From my perspective, two particular highlights stood out from the reciprocal mentoring. One was how great it was to get to know and support a talented woman female early on in her career – in Mobility, we are always seeking out the very best talent! Secondly, the openness of the relationship enabled me to learn more about some of the challenges facing those in a minority group. The discussions and insights shared have certainly given me more know how to intervene when I see or hear something that is not inclusive and to be a better ally and role model. I’m delighted to say we have agreed to stay in touch beyond the initial six meetings!
Fireside Chats – a series of six discussions hosted by leaders from BAME employees on topics including ‘having a stronger seat at the table’ and ‘building impact and visibility’. These aim to raise visibility of leadership role models from BAME backgrounds, and support others in overcoming similar challenges when navigating their own careers.
In addition to these initiatives, young emerging talent are invited to join quarterly UK Country Coordination Team (CCT) meetings to provide visibility to the CCT, exposure to the wider Shell in the UK agenda, and for the CCT to hear different perspectives and insights on topics including wellbeing, inclusion and return to site. Our Employee Networks also continue to play a vital role in providing visibility of employee and leadership role models. For example, in collaboration with our Ibero-American and BAME Aberdeen Network, the Asian Network launched ‘Intimate Informal Insights’, an initiative aimed at sharing personal stories, and learning from and inspiring one another. Topics focused on overcoming hurdles, building resilience, and leading yourself.
Joining the CCT meetings, it was really interesting to see the evolution of the leadership response to the business and personal issues presented by COVID-19. There was a lot time spent sharing the sentiments across the businesses – the challenges of homeworking, varying perspectives on returning to the office, job uncertainty, mental health, how the recent cash preservation measures had been received. I was really pleased to see that they actively listen to what staff are saying, and it was also reassuring that many of the sentiments shared reflected my own thoughts and concerns.