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North Star consulting: team facilitation, leadership events, crisis communication, communication strategy and performance coaching
North Star consulting: team facilitation, leadership events, crisis communication, communication strategy and performance coaching

Case Study

Shell Exploration & Production Europe

The Challenge

In 2003, Shell integrated its operations in The UK, Netherlands and Norway into one European operation, along with smaller businesses in Germany, Italy and Ireland.

These operations had historically been highly autonomous and found the new integrated EPE structure conflicted with their strong national senses of identity and purpose. The senior European Leadership Team identified a need to build a stronger dialogue with its people across Europe to help them rebuild trust and pride and mark a new start for the business in Europe.

In 2005, Shell EPE invited North Star to help them devise and implement a way forward.

The Solution

Central to the solution was a series of one-day events targeted at all 12,000 employees in Europe. Branded as “Connecting EPE” the objectives of the events were:

  • To enable senior executives to listen to local concerns and recognise the challenges that integration had brought locally.
  • To invite employees to ‘draw a line’ under the past and commit to working to resolve some of the local issues and improve Shell EPE as a place to work.
  • To bring all levels together behind a vision for the new business that delivered global efficiencies whilst valuing local diversity.

The design of the events used innovative formats and a fresh, original approach to bring about real dialogue and intimacy in spite of the large numbers involved. In particular, skilled facilitation and a simple, direct style of presentation helped to create an atmosphere that was tangibly different from previous events and enabled an honest, credible sense of shared purpose to emerge from the events.

The Results

Delegates across all operational areas reported high levels of satisfaction with the events, with a high proportion reporting that they felt they had been listened to and that a good dialogue had taken place. Anecdotal research in each core market reported improved morale and satisfaction in the months following the events, with these improvements lasting well beyond the ‘afterglow period’ following any successful event.

Importantly, local managers left with a clear mandate to make change happen locally in ways that improved local conditions whilst supporting the principles of EPE.

Many of the tools and techniques we introduced have been adopted throughout Europe as best practices and continue to add value to Shell’s success in Europe.

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