Shell’s people are its top priority. Throughout the organisation several social groups and support networks have been established to bring Shell’s diverse workforce together.
With a range of objectives, including encouraging a healthier lifestyle and supporting personal and professional development, these communities help foster a company-wide culture of acceptance and mutual respect.
Here we look at four of these networks – the Women’s Network at Shell (WN@S), the enABLE Network for employees with disabilities, the Shell African Network and the LGBT Network – and the impact they’ve had on shaping Shell’s culture of diversity and inclusion.
Sarah Sohail, Co-founder of the WN@S, Pakistan
When Sarah Sohail, who works in Shell’s Retail business, helped co-found the WN@S in Pakistan in 2014, it was in response to a need that had never been addressed before.
“I was compelled to act after a survey showed three in four women at Shell felt they should have their own forum to share experiences, and almost as many wanted female role models at work,” she says.
Now with nearly 100 members, Pakistan’s is one of 20 WN@S thriving in countries around the world, each with consistent and clear objectives. “We want women to feel inspired at work,” says Sarah. “The network has given me and our members a meaning and strong sense of purpose.”
With regular discussions and events being attended by prominent corporate and public figures, it’s clear Pakistan’s WN@S is developing significant influence. “We want this group to ultimately play a huge role in shaping Shell Pakistan policies.”
Andy Kneen, Chair of the enABLE Network, the Netherlands
Andy Kneen joined the enABLE Network in 2005, when it was just a small group of employees meeting to discuss issues surrounding disability in the workplace. With his help, over the past decade it has grown to be much more.
“People with disabilities innovate every day to manage their condition and adapt to different environments,” says Andy. “Often we find new ways to do things and look at scenarios from a different perspective. These are the type of skills we need in an organisation like Shell.”
Today, there are six enABLE branches across the globe dedicated to supporting and highlighting the work of disabled employees in Shell.
“The network is now something we can use to raise awareness about different kinds of disability and impairments,” adds Andy. “It gives us the power to lobby the organisation and make the work environment more inclusive.”
Mavis Oti-Addo-Boateng, Chair and Co-founder of the Shell African Network, UK
The Shell African Network (SAN) in the UK aims to improve the progression of employees of African and Caribbean heritage. Mavis Oti-Addo-Boateng says she’s benefitted both professionally and personally since the establishment of the network 15 years ago.
“Through personal development talks and mentoring sessions SAN has greatly enhanced my leadership, management, communication and negotiation skills. We help all our members gain career tips from senior Shell leaders – I’m proud to now be in the position where I can give back to the community alongside fulfilling my own career goals.”
Including a branch in the Netherlands, SAN membership totals nearly 300 people. In pursuit of their career ambitions, members connect through regular meetings, mentoring sessions and after-work social events.
“SAN has given me the opportunity to uphold strong personal values: fairness, giving back and helping others to achieve their dreams,” Mavis adds.
James Gaubert, Chair of Shell LGBT Network UK
The Shell LGBT Network was established to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender colleagues have the confidence to be themselves and reach their full potential within a wholly supportive work environment.
James Gaubert started volunteering at the LGBT Network UK in 2011. “Put simply, I joined to help make a difference. I wanted to contribute my time and energy to ensure Shell stayed as diverse and inclusive as possible.”
In July 2015 Shell became the first company in South Africa to establish an LGBT employee network, marking a significant step in promoting workplace equality throughout the country.
Its remit isn’t limited to within the organisation: the network is also a founding member of InterEnergy, an initiative that provides networking and learning opportunities to LGBT professionals across the UK.
“The LGBT Network is a Shell ambassador and we’re keen to demonstrate externally that the organisation truly values the diversity of its workforce,” says James.
The range of networks at Shell captures our global commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive working culture in which every one of our people can achieve the career they deserve.