Reinventing the Chevron Town Hall: Trading the Corporate Hat for Stakeholder Hard Hat

Elaine Beliakoff / Chevron / El Segundo, U.S.


The Chevron El Segundo refinery is the largest oil producing refinery on the West Coast of the U.S., processing on average 265,000 barrels of transportation fuels per day. The refinery covers approximately 1,000 acres, with 1,200 employees working to supply 20 percent of the gasoline consumed in Southern California and 40 percent of the jet fuel used at Los Angeles International Airport.

Leadership believes employee engagement is critical to building competitive advantage. With few factors differentiating competing refineries and their products, the organization’s focus on the human element makes the El Segundo refinery uniquely world class. Informed, forward-thinking employees are invaluable to creating an edge against the competition by delivering business results.

For the past five years, the refinery nurtured a robust suite of communication channels, including supervisor discussion guides, webcast performance updates featuring leaders and employees, an intranet, an annual communication fair, and monthly newsletters. Nevertheless, annual town hall meetings required a full day commitment by a majority of the 1,200 employees at an off-site location over four different work shifts. Although informative and entertaining, these meetings offered limited opportunity for dialogue or employee interaction.

It was clear the refinery needed to redesign the town hall format because:

  • Survey data showed that a mere 12 percent of employees understood business plan priorities and only 37 percent could identify how they contribute to business success as measured on the organization’s balanced scorecard.
  • The economic downturn necessitated a decrease in the cost of the event—holding it on-site and within a three-hour period.
  • Employee feedback indicated that interactive elements were necessary for engagem

In 2010 and 2011, the event was moved on-site and shortened to three hours.