by Josefine van Zanten
Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion
Royal Dutch Shell, PLC
Since the mid-nineties, Shell’s work on Diversity and Inclusion has achieved a great deal. Many of the initiatives designed to develop the careers of women and under-represented groups across the organization have now become embedded in the company’s everyday systems and processes.
D&I has remained a priority through the recent major organizational change, and with responsibility for delivery widened out to more people within the HR organization, achieving the Diversity objectives becomes the primary responsibility of the talent community.
However, Shell also acknowledges that to effect lasting cultural change, there is also a need to focus on the ‘Inclusion’ element of D&I, and for the past two or three years, this has increasingly become an area of emphasis for the group.
Josefine van Zanten, vice president Diversity and Inclusion, commented: “As we move forward, we are placing increased emphasis on driving forward our inclusion agenda. To build on existing levels of satisfaction, more work needs to be done to ensure our corporate systems, processes, culture and behaviors are supportive and inclusive.”
So how is Shell working to build a truly inclusive culture? One key way is through the DII indicator, the metric derived from the company’s annual People Survey. As described above, the DII helps Shell monitor how various groups of employees (including those from under-represented groups) perceive their treatment and that of their colleagues.
At the same time, Shell is also continuing with its key education efforts on Inclusion, and offers its people a range of learning materials and online tools related to inclusion, accessed via a dedicated intranet website.
In working to embed inclusion, Shell has also set out a clear statement of what success looks like – an ideal future state where:
- All individuals, including those from under-represented groups, are motivated and fully engaged because their opinions are valued. Every individual feels welcome and part of the team, and helps others to feel the same way. As a result, everyone focuses his or her energy on winning for the organization.
- Managers recognize inclusion as a business imperative and can articulate a clear business case for inclusion in a global and diverse environment. They actively discuss with their teams how to nurture and sustain inclusion.
- Business partners find great value in working with us because we seek first to understand their needs and challenges. We are actively sought out as a partner of first choice in markets that we operate in, based on our ability to uniquely include all differences and formulate a win/win approach in our business endeavors.
Josefine van Zanten concluded: “Diversity and Inclusion is a business enabler, focusing on talents from all under-represented groups. Embedding D&I values and behaviors across the Shell Group is essential for the long-term health of our business. Shell’s leaders understand this, and thanks to their commitment and support, we continue to make progress.
“This is a long-term journey, and to reach our goals, we need to constantly review progress and work to embed D&I values across the whole organization. We will continue to drive our D&I targets to increase women and local nationals in senior positions, and continuously improve the inclusion of our work culture.”