The Board recognises merit in the Code’s three mechanisms for engaging with the workforce. As with all the Code’s provisions, boards must consider the size and structure of their business, including its international scope, and select an approach that most practically delivers the underlying spirit and ambition of the Code, even if the chosen approach differs from what the Code outlines. The Code does note that alternative methods for workforce engagement are supported where an explanation is provided.
The Code states that its use of the term “workforce” is not meant to align with legal definitions of workforce, employee, worker or similar terms. But for a global organisation bound by the laws of more than 70 countries, blurring the clearly prescribed legal definitions that affect complex issues (such as local health, safety, security and environment (HSSE) requirements, work contract terms, legal accountability, employment rights) or merging two definitions of the same term could have a notable impact on the business, its operations and its stakeholder relationships (including with suppliers). As a result, Shell considers its workforce to be employees of companies in the Shell Group. The Board also engages with others outside this group (for example, on site visits), and some of this engagement is shared in section "Understanding and engaging with our stakeholders".
Although our reporting and formal engagement focuses predominantly on our employees, all individuals working on Shell sites (including Shell offices) are required to undertake certain Shell training (for example, on matters relating to HSSE and the Code of Conduct). Adhering to the Life-Saving Rules and the Code of Conduct compliance obligations is included within our contracts with suppliers. The Shell Global Helpline is available for all workers to report matters of concern.
For many years, Shell has recognised the importance of engaging with its workforce. Engagement is especially important in maintaining strong business delivery in volatile times of change. We strive to maintain a dialogue between management and our workforce – both directly and where appropriate, through employee representative bodies. Management regularly engages with the workforce through a range of formal and informal channels, including via webcasts and emails from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other senior executives, webcasts, town halls, team meetings, face-to-face gatherings, interviews with Senior Management, internal social platforms and online publications via our intranet.
The Board considers effective engagement a key element of its understanding of the Company’s ability to create value, because it recognises that our people are our greatest asset. Workforce views can help inform the Board on matters such as operational effectiveness, Shell culture, diversity, equity and inclusion, identifying risk and developing and delivering strategy.
The Board considers the current workforce engagement approach effective. The information provided in the following table gives examples of various methods of Board engagement.
Board’s direct engagements with the workforce
Informal engagement – Board
Nomination and Succession Committee members met with various senior leaders and high-potential individuals throughout the year.
People engagements during Board and/or meetings off site.
Meeting talent/leadership teams.
The Chair engaging with various individuals.
Through these more formal engagements, the Chair and other Non-executive Directors (either individually or with their Committees) have deepened their understanding of how the Company’s purpose, strategy and values are embedded in particular businesses, sites and countries. This gives insight into progress made, risks and opportunities. The benefits are mutual. The Board obtains direct insight into local business operations and projects, and local strengths and challenges. Our people have a chance to better understand the Board and to provide direct feedback on topics of importance to them, their business or function and their location.
Employee network and related sessions
The Nomination and Succession Committee was joined by representatives (which included the Chair) of the UK enABLE network to discuss enablement and disability inclusion. The discussion covered Shell’s progress and achievements against the building blocks through which we drive our DE&I agenda, including communication, policies and processes (e.g., workplace accessibility), and learning and development. It was noted that while we have a solid support infrastructure the discussion recognised the role of the team and the line manager of persons with disabilities in ensuring that the support resources are utilised in combination with the inclusive behaviours required to make the work environment barrier-free.
Employee representatives and related sessions
In June, the Chair met with representatives of the Shell European Workers Council (SEWC) at Shell Centre London, as part of SEWC’s annual plenary meeting.
The objective of the informal engagement was to discuss Shell’s Powering Progress strategy, the investor perspective on the Energy Transition, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and the Future of Work for the 15 countries in SEWC’s domain.
The two-way dialogue offered participants the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. Feedback received indicates the SEWC delegates enjoyed the informal engagement with the Chairman of Shell’s Board of Directors.
The Board and Executive Committee (EC) visited Shell Singapore in June for their annual off-site visit and Board meeting. The visit provided significant opportunities for workforce engagement over three days.
On the first day, the Board and EC hosted a dinner for a cross-section of approximately 140 employees, representing all businesses and functions and with approximately a third of employees in management roles, a third emerging talent and a third frontline employees. Feedback received after the event suggested that employees enjoyed the opportunity to engage informally with the Board and EC members.
On the second day, the Board and EC visited the Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Singapore on Bukom Island. During the visit to the facility, they met with 23 site leaders and presenters before a small group tour of key assets led by 37 employees at the site, giving an opportunity for workforce engagement in the field. Thereafter, the Board and EC met in person with four leaders from across the Upstream business globally, rotating through four booth sessions in small groups.
Lastly, on the third day, over lunch, the Board and EC met 13 Country Chairs and Corporate Relations professionals from across the Asia-Pacific region.
Shell United Kingdom
Board members including the Chair, CEO and CFO attended the Powering Progress UK Summit in June 2022 – a hybrid engagement for all UK staff – with the CEO and CFO participating in a panel discussion and question and answer session respectively. Together with the Board, employees also got the opportunity to hear directly from external partners.
Formal reports and information updates to the Board
Shell People Survey (anonymous survey facilitated externally)
The Board was provided with an update on the outcomes and employee engagement levels and the quality and resilience of leadership across Shell’s workforce. As well as a broad range of subjects, the Board was informed of principal metrics, with particular focus on rewards, working conditions/workload and reputation.
The Board considers the Shell People Survey to be one of its principal tools for measuring employee engagement, motivation, affiliation and commitment to Shell. It provides insights into employee views and has a consistently high response rate. In 2022 the response rate was 87%, (up 3.4% from 2021) which is the highest ever. The Board also considers this engagement to understand, for example, how Shell is using the survey outcomes in: i) data analytics, for example, to identify potential correlative relationships between employee engagement and safety or ethics and compliance incidents; and ii) strengthening Company culture and values.
Senior Succession and Resourcing Review
The annual Senior Succession and Resourcing Review focused on the strength of senior leadership and plans for its development and succession, while highlighting the breadth, depth and diversity of its pipeline, the developing profile of the leadership cadre, and recruitment and attrition levels.
The Nomination and Succession Committee noted the effectiveness of succession planning, the impact of its associated execution, and the professional, data-driven, integrated approach to leadership and leadership development. It welcomed the continued focus on performance management, proactive management of Shell’s talent pipeline, and the focus on advancing Shell’s diversity agenda with increased attention on gender, race, LGBT+ and disabilities.
Assessment of key trends and material incidents
Presented by Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer. This is based on the established channels for staff and others to file complaints or report on suspected breaches in relation to the Shell General Business Principles (SGBP), the Code of Conduct or any breaches of laws or regulations, including accounting control and auditing concerns.
The update covers Shell employees and our wider stakeholder base. The Board (also via the Audit Committee and the Safety, Environment and Sustainability Committee) obtains insight into incidents and reporting levels and remediation. These provide indicators of conduct risks and, together with the related Board reports noted below, suggest the strength of embedding and awareness of the Code of Conduct and SGBP obligations and employees’ comfort levels in raising incidents.
The Board (also via the Audit Committee and the Safety, Environment and Sustainability Committee) reviews strategic, operational and conduct/culture risks during the year to assess current business activities against risk appetite.
The Board has continued its discussion on the Powering Progress strategy, including powering lives. The Board also focused on diversity, equity and inclusion commitments.
Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer Report
Data and insights include information from the Global Helpline, the Shell Ethics and Compliance organisation and the Shell People Survey. The Safety, Environment and Sustainability Committee continues to strongly support the work of the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, including the efforts to ensure a safe working environment where staff feel confident to raise any concerns in good faith.
The Audit Committee is kept updated when matters highlighted through the Global Helpline are investigated. The Audit Committee is also informed about the associated remediation. For more information see the Audit Committee Report.
Assurance activities, including items raised by businesses and functions (through the Group Assurance Letters process) and assurance (from Internal Audit, HSSE, Ethics and Compliance, Reserves Assurance and Reporting), provide additional evidence to the Board of the commitment to high standards of risk management and internal control. The assurance activities ensure that work can be done safely, within regulatory frameworks.
The information provided within these reports further supports the Board’s annual review of the effectiveness of the Group’s system of risk management and internal control and feeds into the Group scorecard, against which staff bonuses are calculated.
The Shell Control Framework
Significant HSSE, Ethics and Compliance, and more broadly, business control incidents are brought to the attention of Senior Management and the Board through regular reporting.
During these discussions the Board seeks to learn more from incidents and ensure that the business continues to drive safety performance.