Shell Malaysia: Linking diversity and inclusion to business

Oct 10, 2014 1 Min Read
Shell Malaysia offices
Learn How Shell Malaysia Driver Diversity & Inclusion in Their Organisation

Shell Malaysia won the acclaimed International Organisation category of the Life at Work Award 2014 at the 12th Women Summit.

The company has been consistently receiving recognition as an employer of choice with its wide range of benefits for employees for the last few years.

Shell implemented flexible work arrangements which caters to the needs of its employees as it strongly believes in providing a healthy balance between work and personal life.

It has implemented a diversity and inclusion (D&I) policy that links diversity to business performance while focusing on diverse talents as a source of potential contribution to the business.

The objectives of the D&I policy are:

  • attraction and retention of top talent
  • increased productivity
  • stronger customer/market focus


“My career in Shell has been very much a part of my life. I started my journey as a Shell scholar and I have had an exciting career with the organisation for 18 years, with 7 different roles in various locations – local and abroad.

Years ago, I was one of the pioneer committee members of Shell Malaysia’s first women’s network and we put forward proposals on flexible working practices.

Shell’s flexible working policy has helped me a lot in managing work-life balance; especially the flexibility to work from home when I need to attend to my family, and when I return from a business trip.” – Rafidah Jumal, cluster finance manager, South-East Asia-Global Commercial

Work-life initiatives

In order to achieve its aim, a project team which works to oversee the programme development and implementation has been assembled by Shell.

The following are among some of the options provided by Shell for its employees, in terms of providing a work-life integration.

1 Career break
Employees are allowed to apply for a long-term career break with no pay, should they require a leave of absence between three months and three years because of family needs or personal development.

2 Flexible working hours
All employees have an expected number of hours of work each week as stated in the contract of employment. Flexible working hours is dependent on each work group and nature of job.

3 Half-pay leave
This benefit is available to employees who require leave of absence to fulfill personal or family obligations, under two situations, which are caring for immediate family members and as an extension of maternity leave beyond the 60-day standard leave provided.

4 Leave bank
Employees are given the option to store their additional leave days which they were unable to take due to business or work-related matters and carry them forward to the following year.

5 Co-share programme
This is where two employees share a same full-time role, and they can take turns, where one of them works twice a week and the other three times a week.

6 Part-time work
This allows employees to manage their work and personal work-life balance, while also giving them employment opportunities if they are not able to work on a full-time basis.

Recruitment has a very specific D&I target to hire women in the Technical and Commercial skillpool. Every leader is also required to set KPIs to ensure that their Business or Function D&I plans are achieved annually. We establish annual Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) plans, goals and targets for improvement; and we regularly review and report progress which appears in our annual report.

Simon Ong, Managing Director of Shell Global Solutions

What is the impact you have observed since the introduction of the flexible work arrangements in line with Shell’s D&I policy?

Through our Shell people survey, an internal key measurement, a large percentage of our employees are proud to work for Shell and would recommend Shell as a good employer.

The work-life balance indicator also shows improvement with a vast majority indicating positively that they are able to balance work and life. Managers and team leaders are fully supportive of the work policies and the D&I initiatives that we have put in place.

Shell ’s attrition rate is well below the industry’s average. We strive to create a work environment that makes Shell a great place to work.

The percentage of our women in managerial and leadership positions is steadily on the rise. We have targeted career development programmes and women’s networks to support, guide and inspire our women employees.

Could you cite an example of a colleague who has been impacted on a personal level?

Shell’s flexible work policies include working part-time and the option to apply for career breaks.

As an example, Perpetua Bandan, currently the team leader of Flow Assurance Systems for Shell Projects and Technology in Asia-Pacific, is a mother of three young children.

She was one of the few Malaysians who was selected to be part of the pioneer group that received deep water development exposure in Houston from 2001 to 2005.

Bandan was able to work on a part-time basis from a remote location when her children were younger. In 2010, she took a career break for two years.

Bandan rejoined us in 2012 and it was a seamless integration back into Shell. The company supported her throughout her journey and enabled her to return to work on a full-time basis.

Do you have any advice for Malaysian companies interested in introducing flexible work programmes?
The world is changing, and the work environment is changing with it. Companies need diverse groups of people to allow the business to grow, and in exchange companies must offer wider life experiences.

As a manager, listening to your employees is important. Find the time to engage with them and understand the challenges that they are facing.

Offer win-win solutions for both the company and the employees. Your human resources department should gain insights on some of the best practices and benchmark against other companies as one of the key measurements.

Develop policies that enhance your company’s philosophy and belief. Understand your community as a start through staff engagements.

When you have the policies in place, monitor the practices – only then you will know if these policies are the ones you need to attract and retain talent.

For success to happen, leaders must be supportive and committed to implementing and sustaining the work policies.

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