The Royal Dutch Shell—a global oil company and one of the biggest three in their industry is reputed for being well led and well managed.
One of the factors that enable Shell to excel is how they manage their staff. Shell has a highly organised human resource management practice. This is supported by a successful model for managing the career of their staff.
To start with, Shell recognises that for a big global company like them, if they leave everyone’s career to chance, few people can reach the top ladders of leadership in the company at a good age. In fact, by the time those who excel reach the top, they would be old, tired and perhaps exhausted.
To deal with this risk, Shell identifies its top talent early into their career. Then, the company helps these stars to accelerate their progression so that by mid 30s to early 40s, these top performers are well groomed and have reached top levels of the leadership ladders to impact the company when they have the energy, the passion, the time and competence.
These top stars are given priority on training, job offers and coaching and mentoring. This is done so that they can be best prepared and in good time to be ready to lead the company.
Beyond managing special talent, Shell has a well-crafted framework for managing the end-to-end lifecycle of their human resources, from recruitment thorough performance management and covering all the way to promotion and career progression for everyone.
This framework uses three key principles through which everyone is measured in terms of suitability for a job, in terms of their performance level and qualifying for promotion or career progression.
The first of the three principles is capacity. Shell pays big attention to measuring the capacity of an employee to perform a specific function or role. This looks at your qualifications, your competencies and your abilities.
One may have a great attitude, may be so nice with everyone and work so hard, but they may still lack the capacity to perform certain tasks. In planning career, Shell may help you build your capacity for the next role by sending you to training, by attaching you to a relevant team or project or through mentorship and coaching.
The second principle is achievement. Shell wants to measure how much you achieve. This is about the results of your capacity, effort and hard work. An able or capacitated person who does not apply effort cannot achieve much. Similarly, a hardworking person who is not capacitated may not achieve much. Shell will methodically measure your achievements through your sharing of the cases and examples of what you did. This is looked at in three or so stages. What was the situation before? What did you exactly do. If it was team work, Shell will want to know what you personally did and contributed to the team effort. And thirdly, Shell wants to know what was the result or outcome of your effort. This measures the impact of your effort in transforming the situation you found into the situation you left after your action.
The third principle is relationships. You can have amazing capacity and achieve a lot but at the expense of your relationships with others.
Take an example of a sharp and smart boss who works so hard and achieves a lot. But his staff may suffer from his being a bully, he shouts at everyone all the time. He makes his juniors work hard out of fear rather than passion, respect and inspiration. That boss achieves a lot but has very poor relationships.
Shell will not promote such a person. At every level, one has to manage his or her relationships with those below him or her, with the peers at the same level and with the bosses above.
You may not be working for Shell but the above framework which Shell uses for career development will definitely be useful in helping you to manage your team or to manage your personal career progression.
Good luck as you rise and shine using the Shell framework.