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Shell’s Initiative to Optimize Restructuring

Shell IT is the service organization for information technology within Shell Oil Company. With the IT demands of this major energy company changing strategically and structurally, Shell IT human resources was faced with ongoing layoffs within various business units. The layoffs would result in the loss of long term employees over a several year period. Recognizing that the costs associated with layoffs would be significant in terms of lost talent, severance benefits, potential for reduced morale and productivity, and for negative impact on talent acquisition and retention, Shell IT sought ways to minimize these organizational costs.

Solution

"The redeployment effort has been so successful that Shell IT has redeployed employees within Shell Oil who otherwise would have left the organization. We value this talent retention far in excess of the substantial severance savings. On the other hand, the initiative is equally valuable in talent acquisition as candidates see the high value Shell places on its employees."~Tom Durkin, Shell IT, US Human Resources Leader Shell IT initiated a redeployment effort to positively redirect talent affected by the organizational changes. Employees whose positions were lost through the reorganization were offered a program to help them place within other Shell entities. Not only did this program communicate the value Shell placed on each employee, but it improved the process for assisting employees in the use of the Shell internal online placement resource.

The program consisted of a 2-day seminar with additional follow up counseling to assist employees in dealing with the reality of their job loss, developing their resumes and preparing for interviews. Unlike traditional outplacement which focuses on external placement, the redeployment program focused employees’ networking on internal opportunities. The follow up counseling helped employees complete high quality resumes that reflected their accomplishments and skills that would benefit other Shell entities.

Employees have eagerly scheduled their seminars in onsite locations for convenience, in order to maximize their potential for internal placement. They saw it as an opportunity to gain professional guidance for their internal searches and as a way to enhance their visibility in the organization with top notch resumes. They also recognized the value of improving their interview skills to obtain offers over other potential internal candidates. For some, help in determining their transferable skills was key to developing a strategy for seeking opportunities.

At the same time, management viewed the program as an excellent way to enhance morale during the 90 day period after announcing the layoffs and to mitigate stress and potential loss in productivity. The program also made management’s job of directing the transitions easier and more effective.

Results: Shell IT found that the program is succeeding in every objective. After participation of several hundred employees, management has observed extremely positive participation, successful placements throughout Shell entities, improved morale among transitioning employees as well as those remaining, and substantially reduced severance costs. Tom Durkin, US Human Resources Leader shared, “The redeployment effort has been so successful that Shell IT has redeployed employees within Shell Oil who otherwise would have left the organization. We value this talent retention far in excess of the substantial severance savings. On the other hand, the initiative is equally valuable in talent acquisition as candidates see the high value Shell places on its employees.”


By Sheryl Dawson
[do action=”sherylstitle”/] Dawson Consulting Group

See also the article Outplacement Redefined: The New Imperative of Talent Transition.