Fuelling Work-Life Harmony in the Workplace

Shell Eastern Petroleum Ltd thrives on the energy of its people. This is why it has put in place work-life programmes to recruit and retain its talents.

07 Oct 2019 Interviews Work-life harmony Future of work Human capital partnership

Mr Leslie Hayward, Vice President of HR Operations (South East & North East Asia) at Shell Eastern Petroleum Ltd, also shares how the Human Capital Partnership (HCP) Programme complements Shell’s philosophy of talent development.

Q: Shell advocates a strong culture of work-life harmony. Tell us more about the work-life benefits and programmes you offer.

Recognising that our staff’s personal needs change as their life stages evolve, we provide flexible working arrangements (FWAs) to our people. We also have employee support networks such as Network of Women for our employees to come together to share experiences and learn from one another on balancing their personal commitments while achieving career aspirations.

Q: Tell me more about the FWAs at Shell.

We offer part-time work, telecommuting, and job-sharing. On a case-by-case basis, we also support employees’ requests to go on career breaks or sabbaticals for reasons such as furthering their studies or caring for their families. For example, two of our employees, Yeo Li Tiang and Wang Chang Ching, are Regional Finance Managers under a customised job-sharing programme, where they share a role in supporting commercial negotiations in Shell’s liquefied natural gas business.

Q: What’s the job-sharing arrangement like for Li Tiang and Chang Ching?

Li Tiang and Chang Ching each work three days a week. Each of them spends two days in the office when the other is off, and both of them work on a common day to align priorities. To ensure joint ownership for their shared role, we assess them on their work performance as a whole. From an employer’s perspective, we get to tap two sets of expertise and creativity and retain these valued employees.

Q: How do you ensure the arrangement works well for both Shell and your employees?

Before a job-sharing arrangement commences, employees and their managers are encouraged to have an open conversation. The discussion will revolve around the way work is carried out, the work schedule adopted, and other factors that contribute to the success of the working arrangement. Both parties review the arrangement regularly to ensure it continues to work well for them.

Q: What are your views on the HCP Programme?

HCP’s priorities are very similar to our overarching philosophy of talent development. At Shell, we focus on growing and developing our local talents, who make up 70 per cent of our workforce. We sometimes also tap on individuals with specialised skill sets via foreign hires – this is done with the intention for knowledge transfer to happen locally. Hence, we are excited to support and participate in the HCP Programme where we can share and learn from other exemplary employers within the community and continue to contribute to the development of Singaporeans.

Q: Any tips for employers looking to implement a fair, progressive and inclusive workplace?

Firstly, it is important to help leaders in the company see the benefits of a fair and inclusive environment as they are the key drivers of change. Secondly, employers should empower HR in preparing and upskilling line managers to support successful initiatives. Lastly, don't be afraid to reach out for help. There are many resources from TAFEP to help employers, so make good use of them!

This article first appeared in the January – March 2017 issue of Upbeat.