Case study: international share plan at Shell

When Royal Dutch Shell launched a global employee share purchase plan, it attracted more than 12,200 staff saving in 36 currencies across 51 countries.

Pam Roffe, manager, share plans, says a key message at Shell has been to eliminate unnecessary work, and to standardise, simplify and automate. This included the share plan.

“The previous share plan design was hideously complicated,” she says. “This made it really difficult for the administrators to operate and for plan co-ordinators in Shell locations to understand.

“We had dug ourselves into a hole by trying to be all things to all people. Managing tax-approved share plans when [mobile workers] were coming in and out of the country was horrendously complicated.”

The company centralised most of the payroll operations around the share plan, taking work away from the local operating units. “That took out a lot of the activity and therefore standardised the approach globally,” says Roffe.

The company also removed all non-electronic communication processes. “In the past, we used to send a pack to a local scheme co-ordinator and ask them to distribute it, but now we know we are hitting the 45-50,000 people we want to invite.”