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Chapter 1: The Challenge of Human Resources Managemen tCase Study

 Chapter 1: The Challenge of Human Resources Managemen

tCase Study 2

Shell?s Top Recruiter Takes His Cues from MarketingWhen Navjot Singh joined Royal Dutch Shell in 2003, the company was facing an extraordinarychallenge: The rate at which Shell?s engineers were retiring meant the global firm needed to double thenumber of new recruits it hired from 2,697 in 2005 to 5,440 by 2006 and to nearly 8,000 in 2008. Yet atthe time, Shell was not considered an employer of choice. The Global oil and gas company needed toproject a new image- fast! Says Singh,? In the same way marketers know they need to advertise to be amarket leader, HR had to know how to create an employer brand. Marketing is the only way to ensurecustomers buy products. It was also the only way to ensure Shell got the best people coming to us first.

?Wait! Why is Shell?s HR guy talking about marketing? As both an HR and marketing expert, Singh sees apowerful synergy between the two. ?I?m 50% a marketer- the rest is HR, communications, andrecruitment,? says Singh. ?But I?m a HR person, really.? Singh?s official job title, however, is GlobalMarketing Manager, Recruitment and Global HR Communications Manager, Shell (UK), a title andposition like no other. Having come to Shell from DaimlerChrysler, where he served as the marketingdirector, Singh initially started out as VP of customer relationship management, but quickly joined theHR team when he recognized Shell?s emerging need for new talent and the immense potential for him touse classic marketing techniques to help the company achieve its objectives. His vision, skill sets, andexperience were a perfect match for the company?s situation.

So in Singh?s mind, addressing the company?s need for new talent meant building a brand as anemployer, which in turn meant creating a cohesive message. But Shell?s global recruiting approach wasanything but cohesive. ?At the time we had 1,200 recruitment systems, 35 recruitment companies, and400 executive search companies working for us,? he recalls, ?I attended a careers event at CambridgeUniversity where there were three Shell stands beside each other- one from the UK, one from Malaysia,and another from Nigeria. This was a fragmented approach and tough for candidates to understand.?Shell needed to create unified outreach program if it was going to meet its need for numbers whilefulfilling its desire for a global talent pool. The company recruits from among 90 different nationalitieseach year because it recognizes the benefits of cultural diversity.

Singh and his team set about applying various marketing techniques to the recruitment process, whichhave since resulted in an 80 percent cut in recruitment costs, a 20 percent reduction in the time to hirenew staff, and a very real claim to being the top employer in its market segment. In fact, Shell has won80 awards for its unique HR strategy. ?I think it?s important to make sure that employer brandingactivities are efficient and effective and that you have the right tools and processes, but also that it?scompetitively positioned from a cost perspective,? notes Singh. ?I also think you need to look at it interms of satisfaction, with the employer value proposition which you create. You need to ensure thatthere is a high satisfaction level amongst your staff, that they are motivated and have pride in workingfor your company.

?Having come so close to putting itself in danger of not attracting enough skilled candidates, Shell intendsto continue running its recruitment program just like any other branding effort, thus ensuring it has theright human resources to deliver on its promises and achieve worldwide success. Singh believes Shell istypical of many firms, noting, ?In the future, companies will have to apply for skilled people to work forthem rather than candidates applying to work at an organization. HR must still realize the strategic valueit can bring.



Human Resource Management


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September 1, 2016












Human Resource Management


1. Two basic HRM Functions...


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