In order to be competitive in the energy industry, Shell needs to ensure that the company is attracting and retaining the very best talent from all walks of life and all backgrounds. That is why Shell UK decided to launch a ‘Return to Work’ programme in 2018 and again in 2019. The programme specifically sought to access untapped talent: professionals who have taken a career break of a year or more and are looking to return to work, however, may need extra support to do so.
Over a period of six months, ‘returners’ are grouped into cohorts and given the help of a line manager, a mentor and a buddy who provide coaching and support. The pilot programme in 2018 was very successful with a cohort of eight returners, both male and female, from a range of businesses including IT, Finance and Upstream.
Shell joined up with Inclusivity Partners to access the returning talent pool. Inclusivity processed over 1,700 applications in the first year, successfully shortlisting 3-5 candidates per opportunity. Candidates received CV guidance and interview preparation before interviewing with Shell.
“What made the programme so appealing to me was that it was offered with flexible working options such as a four-day week,” said Megan Burdek, a Geoscientist and one of the returners on the programme.
Megan had worked as a Geoscientist for thirteen years before taking a three-year career break. “I was concerned about what it would be like to return to the workplace,” she said, “so I was pleasantly surprised with how much I remembered and how quickly I got back into the swing of things!
As part of the programme, Megan, was supported by her Shell colleagues as well as by an external coach from Inclusivity Partners, who specialises in helping returners to make a successful career transition. “This programme has been a very positive experience for me,” she remarked. “It has boosted my confidence, provided me with important recent work experience and has allowed me to refresh my technical skills.”
The benefits to the business are also clear, with business leaders sharing how the returners have brought fresh perspectives and enthusiasm to their teams.