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Learning on the job with Shell

CHOOCHAI EIAMRUNGROJ, deputy country chairman of Shell Co Thailand, told The Nation that the company was constantly looking at ways to improve its recruitment and personnel development strategy. As a result, Shell enjoys a very low staff turnover.

Firstly, the company takes care to recruit the right people for the right jobs, with incentives aimed enhancing their skills and building on their motivation. Employees' achievements are also consistently rewarded at all levels.

Shell provides its personnel with abundant opportunities to be a part of the company, Choochai said. When Thai employees join Shell Thailand, they also join Shell - the global company - he added.

With its global reach, it is not surprising that Shell is involved in a wide range of activities, such as the Shell Open University programme, with its own dedicated website offering three types of learning platform: e-learning (entirely online); face-to-face learning (classroom setting); and blended learning (pre-work online, homework while on-the-job and face-to-face sessions)

In addition, a one-year "on-board" programme for new staff enables the company to retain recruitment numbers, while keeping staff actively involved and productive. The main purpose of the programme is to ensure a smooth transition to Shell's ideology by introducing staff to various tools that Shell uses globally. Besides providing on-the-job training, "buddies" are assigned during the first year of employment to help new recruits familiarise themselves with the company's working environment and culture.

Shell uses PAR (Potential at Recruitment) to determine how far a candidate has the potential to grow, in terms of job level. CEP (Current Estimate Potential) assessment is then conducted every two years to determine the potential of employees at a certain level.

In addition, employees of Shell all over the globe have the chance to apply for jobs at various levels through the Open Resourcing System. Unsuccessful applicants receive feedback so that they know where their weak points lie, providing them with the opportunity to improve their performance the next time round.

At a recent CU Job & Education Fair held by the Chulalongkorn University Student Affairs Office last month, Shell's booth attracted more than a thousand potential candidates during its two-day participation on November 28-29.

Proud Patanavanich, the company's Thailand HR Associate, said that Shell received a good response from students interested in applying for jobs during the four-day fair.

"Besides HR staff, 'superstar' employees join our Job Fair as well, in order to share their on-the-job experiences. We had people from various departments like finance, sales, business development, R&D/lab and marketing, as well as people joining from our Commercial Graduate Programme. It gave potential candidates the opportunity to receive real-life experience and feedback about the jobs they were seeking and to learn how their qualifications could be put to good use," said Proud.

Choochai added that in the current global climate with tougher competition, graduates needed to be flexible and ready to adapt their learning to suit their job prospects. To be able to compete, Choochai said students needed to ask themselves, "Am I marketable".

Today, young people should not only look to the vertical alignment of their career paths, but also take an interest in the horizontal path that could lead to new goals and a wide range of opportunities and challenges, he said.

In addition, Choochai said job-seekers should not rely on the same CV when applying for different jobs. Applicants should also aim to do more than the bare minimum, for example, detailing their aspirations and explaining how they can play a role in developing the organisation or company.

Choochai noted that while the capabilities of Thai graduates were comparable to those of graduates from other countries, they preferred not to speak out and bring problems to the notice of their bosses. It was vital that employees at all levels focused on acquiring knowledge for their own personal development, he said.

Supanut Keeratipaiboon, a fourth-year student at Chulalongkorn University's Engineering Faculty, majoring in industrial engineering, |said that he had approached many |companies at the job fair, including Shell.

He said his first priority was to find a company that offered opportunities for learning and gaining experience within the first few years. In the longer term, developing a clear career path was another important factor, with salary and incentives only comprising part of the decision.

He noted that while the standard of English-language competence was poor among Thai graduates when compared to some Asean-member countries, they were still able to effectively communicate with foreigners. However, Thai students should be more ready to demonstrate their capabilities, he said.

"I hope to develop my full potential over the next five to 10 years. My dream is to become an entrepreneur," Supanut said.


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