Supporting our LGBT talent at Shell
At Shell we support and enable remarkable people from every background, and strive to be a pioneer of LGBT inclusion in the workplace.
At Shell we care about the diversity of our people because we believe that a fully inclusive workplace allows our employees to flourish and so allows our business to flourish.
When our employees excel, we excel. It’s for this reason that we are proud to support our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff, promoting equality for employees regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
"It felt good that Shell cared about LGBT issues and employees. I wanted to work for a company that valued diversity."Filipe Henriques Martins
We recognise that social attitudes to LGBT issues vary around the world and that the external environment is changing.
Our approach is all about reinforcing respect for our employees and raising awareness rather than changing individual beliefs. Our Code of Conduct expects us to provide equal opportunity for all staff wherever they work regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
LGBT Networks at Shell
Shell LGBT Networks have been set up as a supportive space for LGBT colleagues to find confidence in being themselves at work. They aim to raise awareness of the challenges that LGBT staff face and work with people at all levels of the organisation to ensure Shell is an inclusive workplace.
The first LGBT Network was established at Shell in the US in 1997 and was soon followed by networks around the world, including in the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, India and as recently as 2015 in South Africa (see box).
They connect colleagues – including non-LGBT people – across the business and raise awareness by breaking down barriers, for example by running awareness and support sessions, and participating in local events.
Showing our support
Our support for LGBT equality includes:
- Workplace Pride – Shell is a member of Workplace Pride, a non-profit umbrella organisation foundation based in Amsterdam that strives for greater acceptance of LGBT people in the workplace and society. In 2012 we became a co-signatory of the Workplace Pride Declaration of Amsterdam in support of an LGBT inclusive workplace.
- Human Rights Campaign – Shell is a corporate partner of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest civil rights organisation working to achieve equality for LGBT Americans.
- Ally programmes – Shell has established a number of ally programmes that serve to make senior leaders more aware of the challenges of being LGBT across Shell, as well as having leaders visibly and actively supporting the work of the various networks.
- Flying the flag for Pride –As a public sign of corporate support, Shell flies the Pride flag outside many offices during Pride weeks and International Coming Out Day.
- Awareness training – We provide awareness training on sexual orientation as part of our D&I Learning Portfolio. We incorporate LGBT inclusion in all D&I training globally wherever Shell operates, including countries where being LGBT may be subject to restrictive legislation.
Strength to be yourself
Professionals like Filipe are proud to work and inspire others at Shell, and we aspire to offer the kind of environment that attracts and motivates them to give their best.
"You should engage with people about topics in a friendly, respectful and constructive way. Being myself is at the core of being able to develop and is vital to a happy and fulfilling life and career."Filipe Henriques Martins
Shell recently became the first company in South Africa to establish an LGBT Network. While the country is very progressive in terms of LGBT rights in Africa, this was still a big moment.
Mark Emdin, Organisation Effectiveness Manager, Global Functions, said: “It should serve as a beacon for staff in countries where it’s not easy, or even legal, to be LGBT, that they can be their true selves at Shell.”
“When our people feel included and engaged, they leverage the richness of ideas, backgrounds and perspectives to create business value,” added Bonang Mohale, Chairman of Shell South Africa.