People Management Middle East: Issue 2

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Is your business ready for the new rules of reward? PLUS

Amal Al Kooheji Why HR holds the key to Bahrain’s high-tech future

Secret ingredient How coaching can transform organisational performance

People Management is published on behalf of the CIPD by Haymarket Network and Haymarket Business Media, both divisions of Haymarket Media Group Ltd. Registered office: Bridge House, 69 London Road, Twickenham TW1 3SP, UK

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Be part of a global community When you’re a member of the CIPD, you’re part of an international community of 140,000 members working in HR, learning and development, people management and consulting. The CIPD is the only professional body for HR and L&D in the world that awards Chartered status. It contributes to the development of HR internationally, sets and maintains HR standards, and works with governments, organisations and partners to help fulfil its broader mission of championing better work and working lives. CIPD professional membership is an achievement you can be proud of and will ensure you stand out in the workplace. It will give you status and relevance with employers and an edge over your peers. It’s a badge of your credibility: • It shows that you meet the CIPD’s rigorous standards for good practice and adhere to its Code of Professional Conduct. • It demonstrates your ability to make a difference to your organisation. • It inspires confidence in employers, clients and peers. • It proves a commitment to your continuing professional development. CIPD professional membership is respected by employers and industry, and can help improve career prospects and earning potential. It is available at three levels: Associate Member, Chartered Member and Chartered Fellow. When you gain professional membership, you can use designatory letters after your name to highlight your professional standing within the HR and L&D community.

Associate Member (Assoc CIPD) For professionals providing advice to managers across the business, and supporting the HR or L&D function. Associate membership is the CIPD’s first level of professional membership. It demonstrates that an individual has attained a recognised level of competence as an HR or L&D professional. Chartered Member (Chartered MCIPD) For experienced professionals, managing, developing and implementing HR policies that support organisational objectives. Chartered Member is the CIPD’s second level of professional membership. Achieving Chartered Member status demonstrates that the individual has the knowledge and experience to create a real impact in the workplace and make a difference to an organisation’s strategy and people. Chartered Fellow (Chartered FCIPD) Chartered Fellow is the highest level of professional membership and is aimed at experts who are leading the development of strategic HR and L&D plans that drive business performance. A Chartered Fellow is a role model for the profession and part of a select group of senior HR and L&D professionals and business leaders who drive innovative people practices to help deliver strategy. Wherever you are in your career, the CIPD and its members will support and inspire you to achieve your full potential. For more information about professional membership and how to join the CIPD, visit:


Taking the lead Welcome to the second edition of People Management Middle East and best wishes to all our members across the region for 2016 – it’s certainly going to be both an exciting and challenging year for HR professionals across the region. As we enter the New Year, we find ourselves in an environment that is now feeling the pinch of multiple macroeconomic pressures – largely manifested through extreme currency and commodity markets. And as we speak to HR professionals across the region and from a range of industries, we hear that many are now being tasked to refocus their priorities. Tough times are often when the best HR teams come into their own. By thinking, influencing and acting strategically, HR has the opportunity to lead businesses through these tides – and pioneering organisations will be looking to capitalise and gain competitive advantage from those that are solely focused on short-term cost reductions. These are times for HR to innovate, to focus on business-critical talent and to ensure that there is tangible value created from within the function. The good news is that most commentators predict that this period will

Matthew Mee Managing director, CIPD Middle East

be a blip rather than a bump (and we are all hoping they are right) – and so, as always, it’s important that HR leaders do the right thing by employees during this period. Organisations that treat their workforce well – with dignity, respect and fairness during difficult times – will create a legacy and reputation that will flow to the bottom line in years to come. I hope you all enjoy our second edition. We have some great articles and thoughtprovoking ideas to share in this edition, which should inspire you and your teams to start thinking differently and raising the bar for our profession. We have an opportunity to increase our effectiveness as a function, and this starts with our own capability, impact and, of course, professional development.

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Is your business ready for the new rules of reward? PLUS

Amal Al Kooheji Why HR holds the key to Bahrain’s high-tech future

Secret ingredient How coaching can transform organisational performance

Who we are p2 News and analysis p4 Why women are still held back in the workplace Case study p8 How Emrill put employee welfare first Debate: HR on the board p10 Is it time to give up on a ‘seat at the table’? The pay freeze is coming p12 The rules on reward have changed. Are you ready?

Q&A: Amal Al Kooheji p18 Tamkeen’s COO on a private sector revolution Coaching comes of age p22 GCC businesses discover it’s good to talk The biggest brains in HR p25 The business thinkers you need to read The Knowledge p30 Key workplace skills, with expert commentary The View From Here: Khaled Almobarak p34 People Management Middle East


Job sharing and part-time work would help companies attract more women

Women without work “cost Arab economies billions”


Cultural issues and a lack of flexible working stop women succeeding – as businesses await the “next surge” of progress in gender equality The issue of female participation in the GCC labour market has sparked plenty of debate over the past few years, with most commentators suggesting that slow but steady progress is being made. But as the economic picture across the Middle East turns decidedly gloomy, could getting women into work be the key to preventing financial meltdown? A new report from YouGov, and Education for Employment (EFE), entitled First Jobs for Young Women in MENA, argues that hiring more women and implementing female-friendly employment policies could significantly boost corporate profitability at a crucial juncture. It says unemployment rates for young women in many Gulf countries are touching 40 per cent, with Egypt (65 per cent), Yemen and Jordan (50 per cent) the worst cases, though even in the UAE national GDP could be lifted by 12 per cent if both sexes had equal access to the employment market. So what is causing such disparities to linger, even as political will builds towards gender equality in many nations, and


People Management Middle East

business acknowledges that talent shortages remain a critical issue? The report points to barriers including: employer expectations that women will stop working when they start a family; the need for flexible working hours; transportation and commuting difficulties; and inadequate salaries. “When young women have access to jobs, it creates a profound impact,” says Jasmine Nahhas di Florio, vice president of strategy and partnerships at EFE. “At a personal level, women’s employment can foster the dignity and financial independence that transform individuals and families. The potential economic benefit of increased female employment is equally striking, and the private sector in MENA has a lot to gain by boosting women’s employment.” The most sought-after benefit, according to the report, is flexible working – wanted by 52 per cent of women already in jobs and 39 per cent of those seeking employment. This is followed by the ability to work from home,

nursery or daycare facilities and the availability of parttime positions. “Companies looking to recruit and retain more young women should strategically invest in what really matters to them, and take proactive steps to publicise benefits information to recruits and employees,” adds Nahhas di Florio. Rania Anderson, international speaker, author and founder of the organisation The Way Women Work, says policies are important but not enough. “First, the mandate for diversity and inclusion must emanate from the executive level, but it cannot be a standalone edict with little behind it. Male supervisors, managers and leaders need to be shown specifically what they can do to enable the full engagement of women.” In the survey, 32 per cent of young women in jobs cited knowing someone at their company as most helpful in securing their first role. Carolin Zeitler, founder of Qatari organisation How Women Work, says women

“The pace is very slow, too slow for me, but I see women succeeding everywhere”


Gender equality

News and analysis often don’t want to be “pushy” but “the best jobs in Doha are never officially advertised, they just go to friends of friends”. She says employers should stop believing that married women only work because they have nothing better to do, which leads them to offer minimal salary packages: “The work should be valued and compensated fairly. It would really help if concepts like job sharing and part-time work were officially introduced in Qatar.” Siemens Qatar, the local offshoot of the international engineering business, shows the potential for businesses to change the way they recruit and retain women. Livia Freudl, head of HR, says the business began to put a focus on gender diversity about 12 months ago and has since increased the number of women in its ranks from 9 to 11.5 per cent. Around 70 per cent of Siemens’ roles require an engineering background, which can make it difficult to find suitably qualified females: “It is still important that we hire the best person for the job, but we make a lot of effort to find potential female candidates for all our openings, even if they do not apply.” Freudl adds that women tend to think that they must fit all the requirements before even applying for a job, and that part-time work and fixed hours are rare when starting out. “Women sometimes shy away to avoid a conflict with their family commitments,” she says. “Employers might then also have the tendency to take the easy solution with a male candidate.” But Freudl has found that supporting female employees with caring responsibilities pays dividends: “We get a tremendous amount of loyalty, hard work and great performance back, which is often worth more than what it cost us to allow some flexibility during challenging times.” Zeitler says even male-dominated sectors such as construction are working to attract more female talent. And in Qatar at least, things are slowly changing. “I think there is too much force behind women’s empowerment already to stop it now,” she adds. “I’m sure another surge will come soon and, as public acceptance is much higher than it was only 10 years ago, that next surge will surely bring about significant changes again.” Anderson agrees that the situation for women is improving all the time. “The pace is very slow, way too slow for me, but I see women succeeding everywhere and men being a part of enabling that success.”

News in numbers

50% Proportion of Emiratis in the UAE workforce who say they work in an administrative role

34% Year-on-year rise in hiring intentions in the GCC healthcare industry

56% Level of 18- to 34-yearolds in the UAE who say they received work experience during their time at college or university

43% Proportion of workers across the Gulf region who feel they are overqualified for their role SOURCES: OXFORD STRATEGIC CONSULTING, MONSTER EMPLOYMENT INDEX, YOUGOV, BAYT.COM


Sara Khoja, partner at Clyde & Co in Dubai, gives an overview of legislation and case law HR professionals should be aware of

Saudi Arabia introduces employment regulations The Saudi authorities have issued a range of new penalties relating to breaches of employment law, designed to strengthen the country’s recent reforms in this area. A total of 61 fines cover transgressions such as failing to issue contracts, not maintaining personnel records, retaining employees’ passports and employing male staff in roles reserved for women, such as working in lingerie stores. The new regulations are backed by further amendments to the ‘Ajeer’ system, which covers the documentation of temporary foreign employees. Most significantly, issues that sometimes prevented expat employees from working at clients’ sites in Saudi Arabia have been cleared up under a new ‘B2B’ scheme, which grants them temporary work notices

and extends secondment notices to expats working on secondment, though only in the pharmaceutical and construction sectors. The Ajeer system is expected to be extended to cover other sectors and circumstances in the coming years.

Qatar’s new immigration law to clarify expat rules A new immigration law set to be implemented in Qatar by the end of 2016 may significantly change the balance of power between businesses and their expat employees, a current flashpoint affecting many companies. The law will add clarity to the system of entry and exit visas: notably, it makes it clear that retaining an employee’s passport is not allowed without their prior consent, and even then must be released on appeal. continued overleaf People Management Middle East


News and analysis

Employees will still require an exit permit to leave the country, but have gained a right of appeal if they believe they have been wrongly treated. Employers now have 90 days to issue a residence permit after a new staff member enters the country, and they no longer have to issue letters of obligation to transfer residency.

Employee rights get a boost in UAE The three new ministerial decrees that promised to shake up employee rights in the UAE have now taken effect, and HR departments and employment lawyers have begun to assess their likely impact. The decrees are broadly seen as increasing labour mobility and clamping down on the use of restrictive clauses and contracts. Their effects start at the onset of employment, where new staff must be issued with a standard contract that contains more detailed information on their rights, and the terms and conditions of their employment. The use of ‘labour bans’, which prevent employees switching companies, has also been outlawed among unskilled employees who have worked for a business for at least six months, as long as they have met all contractual and legal obligations. This is likely to encourage a major uplift in labour mobility, and is backed by changes affecting limited-term 6

People Management Middle East

Facts at your fingertips The latest CIPD research findings contracts, which can now be terminated by either party by invoking a notice period of up to three months. The maximum duration of such contracts has been reduced to two years, and the changes to their enforcement apply retrospectively. The threemonth limit for notice periods will also apply to unlimitedterm contracts. This will prove challenging for those employers that have retained large numbers of staff on unbreakable fixed-term contracts. It is likely to be hard for them to find ways around the new regulations, and the labour courts are taking an increasingly dim view of restrictive contracts in general.

Middle East to focus on health and safety Health and safety is receiving a new focus across the region, particularly in Saudi Arabia, where the tragic Hajj stampede and crane collapse in 2015 have brought the issue to the fore. The Ministry of Labour says it carried out 142,600 inspections in a year and recorded more than 35,000 notices. It has reminded employers of their responsibilities to staff, including the requirement for supervisors with medical training to oversee activities, and has introduced amendments to ensure that salary and compensation are paid to the victims of workplace accidents.

Ethics are taking a back seat Business leaders are prepared to compromise their personal and professional ethics in pursuit of short-term goals, according to a CIPD survey. A poll of 3,500 business leaders and 2,200 HR professionals spanning the UK, Middle East, Asia, North Africa and the US was released to coincide with the start of a new ‘Profession for the Future’ framework being constructed by the CIPD in consultation with its members. It showed that 29 per cent of leaders and 34 per cent of HR professionals believe they have to compromise their personal principles to meet current business needs. Fewer than half of all respondents feel their principles cannot be compromised under any circumstances, and 22 per cent of leaders claim such actions are necessary to succeed in their organisation. There was better news around intentions, at least, with nine out of 10 of those polled saying they would protect long-term organisational health and reputation given the opportunity. “Far too many business and HR leaders continue to be focused on the short term at the expense of the long-term interests of the organisation and its people,” said Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD.

CEOs in the UK, where the research was carried out, are paid an average of 183 times their typical employee’s annual salary. Though figures for the Middle East are harder to come by, ratios are much closer but still accelerating rapidly, say remuneration experts. A second CIPD study – The power and pitfalls of executive reward: a behavioural perspective – pointed to reasons for the disconnect, including lack of pay transparency, overly complex measures of performance and a one-size-fits-all approach to senior salaries. CIPD reward adviser Charles Cotton said: “The CIPD recommends organisations increase their focus on ensuring CEOs bring a balanced leadership style, appropriate to the culture and context of the business.” ✶

Businesses must tackle bias Understanding the unconscious biases in the hiring process is key to generating the best working outcomes for an organisation, says research from the CIPD’s behavioural insights team. Human decisions and human error are a common aspect of the recruitment process, according to A head for hiring: the behavioural science of recruitment and selection. Introducing safeguards against unconscious bias – such as anonymising CVs and assessing candidates in pairs – can help employers focus on the important information contained in job applications instead of being sidetracked by human instinct. The report offers advice on crafting job specifications, and on CEO pay ‘demotivates staff’ eradicating unconscious bias; for The pay of chief executives example, the inclusion of people in is so out of kilter with the hiring decisions who have not had a average employee that it has a hand in assessing the candidates. demotivating effect on individuals, “Closer engagement with the says The view from below: what behavioural science literature can employees really think about their not only help organisations hire the CEO’s pay packet. people they really need, but can In the study, 71 per cent of staff also guide other areas of decisionsaid they think CEO pay in general making, taking us towards a more is too high, and 59 per cent feel behaviourally astute HR,” the demotivated by the reward of report concluded. executives in their organisation. ✶


LEGAL UPDATE continued

Marmalade Fish is a management and learning consultancy with a presence in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Pacific. We partner with leading businesses to deliver on their organisational ambition. Our vision is to make work better by creating high performance cultures underpinned by values, enabling employees to be at their best, more of the time. How can we help you? PEOPLE CONSULTANT Experts in Learning, Talent, Resourcing, Nationalisation and Organisational Development

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“People make big sacrifices to come here. We owe them a duty of care” Emrill, Dubai

How Emrill is bucking the trend by focusing on welfare – and reaping the benefits in its recruitment and retention



he recent amendments to UAE labour law, which will make it possible for the first time for employees to switch jobs at their own behest and will provide them with protection from unwarranted dismissal, are, it’s fair to say, a hot topic among HR directors in the region. At conferences and meetings, and behind closed doors inside organisations, leaders are


People Management Middle East

nervously considering the potential costs, the effect on recruitment and the implications for workforce planning. The changes are also weighing on the mind of Minelle Gholami (above), people director of Emrill, one of the largest facilities management businesses in the GCC. For her, however, the prevailing emotion is far less downbeat. “I’m happy about it,” says Gholami, as she meets People Management on a cool Sunday afternoon, a stone’s throw

from Emrill’s headquarters in downtown Dubai. “It will allow for a lot more movement of labour in the market. It will increase the competition for talent, so from an HR perspective we all have to make sure we’re doing what we can to hold on to people through good practices and satisfying, fulfilling employment rather than restricting their movement.” It’s an unusual sentiment to hear from a sector that has been beset by more than

Case study its fair share of controversy over employment rights and working conditions. Facilities management (FM) is associated with a high turnover of labour and doggedly low pay. But Emrill, founded in 2002, has been consistently determined to buck the trend. With more than 6,600 employees spanning 38 nationalities, it looks after key infrastructure, corporate buildings and private residences across the UAE, deploying a small army of plumbers, security staff, caretakers and cleaners. Like others in the sector, Emrill recruits from overseas, principally India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Unlike some rivals, it has a dedication to employee welfare that goes way beyond corporate soundbites, with a team of 20 people dedicated to the topic, a larger cohort than the broader HR team. “I’m very proud to say we provide exceptional welfare,” says Gholami, who joined the business in 2011. “We place a great deal of importance on people. We understand they make big sacrifices to come and work here away from their families, so we try and provide them with a supportive, nurturing environment. There is a real duty of care on our part.” She talks about the rigorous induction processes, spanning corporate values, soft skills and trade-specific competencies. But the business is equally dedicated to quality accommodation and recreation facilities, including sports clubs and social activities, and organised tours to acclimatise workers with their new surroundings and their colleagues. This is a recognition, says Gholami, that the company’s responsibilities span more than working hours, with homesickness a pervasive problem: “[Our staff] come from less developed parts of the world and moving to a big city like Dubai is a shock to the system. There’s also the challenge of the weather, which a lot of people aren’t used to. It means everyone here is thinking about health and wellbeing.”

“Big data is key: metrics are a language the entire organisation speaks”

It also means recruitment is as much about character as technical capability. Emrill looks for people who are “hardworking, collaborative and have the drive to continuously improve”. It holds open days in target territories, backed by rigorous testing and assessment. But it also identifies from day one where people have the potential to develop beyond their allotted role. Emrill has better-than-average retention rates and has also has continuously set targets for internal promotion. In 2016, it hopes that 20 per cent of its employee population will move into a better role. “People may have been selected to meet a certain criteria, but if they exceed that criteria and there is potential in the business to move them, we will do that,” says Gholami. Fast-trackers are assigned a mentor or buddy, and liaise with the HR centre of excellence to receive tailored training and development opportunities. “We’ve had some interesting high fliers in the business – people who have joined in low-skilled jobs but might have had experience of working in offices, for example. Or people who’ve come in as a concierge but have landed an admin job within six months… Every employee has three [annual] performance reviews and with high potentials we want to stretch and challenge them at those junctures.” Such structures are mirrored by the enhanced value proposition in HR itself. Gholami says Emrill’s HR approach has “changed a lot” in recent years, a process that started with ensuring policy was equitably and consistently applied across the business. “We’ve gone from making sure the administration part of HR is set, to developing more business partnerships and evolving quite a strategic role,” she says. Part of that is a seat on the executive board: “I have the ability to influence business

Emrill Dubai Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary



decisions and plans, and my team plays a closer role supporting both managers and employees than ever before.” Big data, though an overused buzz phrase, seems to be playing a tangible part in this progression. Gholami’s team has dashboards covering all areas of selection, performance and retention, as well as engagement. This clearly helps in decision-making – she gives the example of identifying that uneven shift patterns correlate directly with low engagement levels – but it also gives the entire HR team exposure to senior management and the confidence to present to the business. In FM, says Gholami, where KPIs and SLAs rule the roost, metrics are a language the entire organisation speaks, and being conversant has helped broaden understanding of what strong HR can do for the bottom line. Not that the process has been easy. “It takes a lot of culture change,” says Gholami. “Traditionally, both in the region and in this business, HR was a department that booked travel and managed payroll. It has taken a lot of working alongside managers and supporting them in engaging their staff, managing performance, understanding the challenges on sites and talking about how HR analytics could help them improve things. That sort of mindset change takes time.” Understanding your business and where it wants to move to in the near future is the first step, says Gholami. She is heartened both by Emrill’s progress and the increasing importance and strategic competence of HR professionals across the GCC. Having previously worked in the UK, and having lectured in HR at the American University in the Emirates, she is well placed to assess the development of the function locally. All of which brings us back to welfare, and the role new legislation may play in that agenda. “The changes to labour laws have allowed for employees to have more rights, and the labour courts are also paying more attention to rights,” says Gholami. “It’s really made everyone wake up and smell the coffee. If we want to attract and retain the right talent, we need the right practices. “There is a spotlight in the region on issues that have been raised in Qatar around workers’ rights. There is a generalisation from outside the region that labour rights aren’t really cared for, but I think businesses are making very big steps to provide people with welfare.” If the rest of the FM sector is as determined as Emrill, you can understand where such optimism comes from. People Management Middle East


The debate

Should HR give up on a board seat? A place at the top table has long been HR’s holy grail. But is genuine influence more important than status? Four experts mull it over INTERVIEWS KIRSTY TUXFORD

Matthew Lewis Partner, Middle East and Africa, Boyden global executive search

There’s something missing – a secret sauce or magic dust – that is stopping HR getting to the top table I believe that HR should be trying to get on the board. But the metrics used in the past to measure the success of the HR function may no longer be relevant or understood by the business. A new era of data analytics should help HR’s cause and provide hard evidence. This, coupled

with its role in creating an engaged, inspired and creative workforce, should continue to be a top priority. But there’s something missing – a secret sauce or magic dust – that is stopping HR getting to the top table. For any function to be credible to the board it must at least add value, be commercial and lead from the front. It has to be authentic and

do what is says on the tin. If that is talent acquisition and development, then do that, and do it really well. If HR is to secure a place on the board, financial return and commercial output are not the right metrics. It is wrong to assume that the function of managing the greatest asset of a company – its people – can be measured by the same criteria that is focused on what the investors and shareholders want. HR must show that it believes in its people, and that it genuinely wants to attract, retain and develop them.

Elie Georgiou-Botaris Middle East practice lead for talent management and organisation alignment, Towers Watson

HR must think strategically and speak the language of the business to get a seat on the board HR should not give up trying to claim a seat at the board table, but it has a lot more to do in terms of transforming its way of thinking and proving the value of its contributions to the business. In the Middle East, HR is not always seen as a profession that adds value to the business as it lacks 10

People Management Middle East

the necessary business skills and mindset to think strategically in the minds of some leaders. It is not data-driven in its way of thinking and planning, and so loses credibility in convincing the business to adopt its proposals. To change this perception, HR must become customer-focused, mirroring the marketing function in terms of identifying and understanding emerging market trends and how these may affect the organisation. It needs to shift its

mindset and way of working. It must think strategically, and understand and speak the language of the business to get a seat on the board. Some self-criticism and monitoring of staff, services and programmes, as well as seeking feedback from the business, would help HR build the capabilities that are necessary to strategically partner with the organisation and take part in shaping and driving people strategies. The employee lifecycle should also be managed more proactively, with effective programmes to support each stage.

Professor William Scott-Jackson Oxford Strategic Consulting

HR professionals need to prove they understand business to be taken seriously Business leaders in the GCC believe that people are the most important factor in achieving strategic success and that the effective management of those people will add significantly to the bottom line. Human resource management is therefore a critical

board-level issue and there should be an effective HR VP or director on the board. So why isn’t that always the case? Our research shows that Gulf leaders believe people and talent are key to their future strategic success. But they also tend to think that the management of people and talent is too important to be left to HR professionals. Only 25 per cent rate their own HR functions as excellent. HR professionalism in the GCC is still relatively low, with only 10 per

cent being members of any HR professional body. The thinking is that the strategic management of people and talent is the job of senior line managers. HR leaders in the region who have been invited to join the board generally have business experience and are HR-savvy. Forty per cent of our sample had not had any HRrelated training or education – one of the most influential was originally in IT, and another was in marketing. A long career in HR is currently not the only route to a strategic HR role, but that will change over time.

Amy Baxendale Senior employer solutions manager, CIPD Middle East

The idea of a board seat in itself is far less important than the influence you exert inside an organisation I would never advocate HR giving up the idea of being on the board. But as the profession has matured, we have come to realise that the idea of a board seat in itself is far less important than the influence we are able to exert inside an organisation. The most effective and inspirational HR professionals are those who have won credibility through their actions, and are able to connect what they do to clear

business outcomes. This is about having the courage to challenge – about saying something of real importance rather than just expecting to be listened to. This has never been more important in Middle East organisations. At a time when belts are being tightened across the region, it’s HR’s job to optimise the return on people investment and make the case for a long-term view. There is also the question of what actually constitutes the board. Many HR directors may have a seat on the executive board but

not be part of the executive team making key decisions. I’ve seen HR professionals on the board who don’t challenge or sound credible, but I’ve also seen many outside a formal board role who understand strategy and broader business contexts, and can connect a people strategy to the business by deploying their specific HR experience. They didn’t reach that point by being overly concerned about a seat at the table – they did it through having curiosity and delivering results.

People Management Middle East


Gulf economies are facing the prospect of a pay freeze for the first time in a generation. What will it mean for engagement, recruitment‌ and the role of HR? WORDS MARK ATKINSON


People Management Middle East



here are plenty of surveys and studies that promise to tell you what’s really happening when it comes to recruitment and remuneration. But you’ll only hear the unvarnished truth if you hit the shop floor. And on the streets of Dubai, among both multinationals and local businesses, there is for the first time in living memory a barely disguised nervousness over pay. At a senior level, bonuses and salary increases are quietly reigned in. Recruitment is slowing and contractors are finding jobs harder to come by. It isn’t a crisis – most Gulf economies are too well-calibrated to suffer the sudden shocks that have sporadically blighted other parts of the world – and it hasn’t made a significant dent in the

mainstream media yet. But it’s summed up by one entrepreneur in the travel sector, who says: “No one is hiring… on the contrary, some people are taking a 30 per cent pay cut. The real investors are nervously waiting to see what happens.” The statistics tell their own story. Robert Mosley, founder and CEO of Lemon Pip – an HR consultancy specialising in the Middle East and Asia – has 25 years’ experience in global reward strategy. He

says that, as a broad measure, pay is likely to increase at around 3 per cent for employees in the GCC during 2016 – a dramatic reversal from the 4-5 per cent most reward experts were forecasting in the first part of 2015. Companies that budgeted at the higher rate, which includes many large multinationals, risk overspending compared to their competitors. In many sectors, and at various levels, pay freezes are likely – for the first time People Management Middle East


Construction is still booming in the GCC, but pay has taken a hit

in a generation in countries raised on a diet of ever-increasing rewards. Mosley points to construction, healthcare and the public sector as areas where pay has taken a downward turn in recent years (banking, insurance and real estate, by contrast, are still on an upward trajectory). But a wider tightening of belts could also drag oil and gas, petrochemicals, technology and telecommunications, among others, into the red. A forecast issued by Korn Ferry Hay Group, meanwhile,

“No one is hiring… some people are taking a 30 per cent pay cut” 14

People Management Middle East

suggests that while salaries are expected to rise on a global basis in 2016, the outlook for the Middle East is relatively modest. GCC countries, in its estimation, can expect a real wage increase of just 2.3 per cent, with the UAE at 0.9 per cent when inflation is taken into account. Mercer Consulting’s most recent quarterly Salary Movement Snapshot survey suggested that Saudi Arabia would see pay rises dip below 6 per cent for the first time since 2009, and predicted “salary freezes and job cuts” spreading from the oil industry into financial services and beyond. The effects of such headline figures go further than the impact on individual pay packets, says Vijay Gandhi, regional director of productised services at Korn Ferry Hay Group. Pay scales and structures haven’t

been updated to take account of increasingly fractious market conditions. Over the last few years of rapid growth, organisations have needed to balance maximum pay bands with the pressure to increase salaries for top talent. Those days are over. “The current economic conditions seem to be here to stay for at least the medium term, pushing companies to slow down on any immediate salary increases,” says Gandhi. The backdrop to such shifts is, of course, the plummeting oil price, which not only squeezes profitability at oil majors but more broadly affects consumer confidence and inward investment to GCC countries. In turn, that makes it harder for businesses to plan for the future – and makes them too nervous to splash the cash, particularly as the jobs market becomes less frenetic. But it is too easy to pin declining reward on oil alone. “While oil prices have an impact on confidence, this does not directly correlate to pay movement, which tends to reflect industry-specific issues,” says Martin McGuigan, compensation and reward

PAY a macroeconomic level, if the figures are correct in suggesting the GCC’s slowing wage growth is out Average salaries for HR professionals in GCC of kilter with the rest of countries are expected to rise by around 2 per cent in the developed world, that 2016, according to executive search specialist Robert has a broader impact on its Half. But the figures mask significant discrepancies: attractiveness both to expats the agency expects HR directors to receive an average and blue collar immigrants. 4 per cent uplift, while heads of L&D will receive 5 per Cost of living is the key cent, a reflection of what Robert Half says is a scarcity metric here – and while it of learning specialists – compensation and benefits rarely matters personally to specialists are similarly in demand. Learning and those round the boardroom development managers will receive the biggest hike table, it is one of the key of any HR role, of 7.6 per cent. The best news is that drivers of recruitment and 40 per cent of HR leaders expect to increase salaries talent mobility. It is often for key performers in 2016, as they worry about losing characterised, Mosley says, talented HR staff. How does your role stack up? as the ‘Big Mac Index’, which measures how many meals from the world’s most recognised fast food chain can be purchased by the average local employee. The GCC sits broadly in US$171,00 – $265,250 HR director the middle of the market by this measure – behind high rollers such as Switzerland, $82,500 – $147,250 Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as most manager/HR business partner HR of Europe and the US, but ahead of Asia, South Africa and South America. That is $115,500 – $172,500 changing rapidly, adds Mosley: “The most Head of recruitment significant trend is that, with the cost $119,700 – $178,500 of living so much higher now, you don’t of learning and development Head come to the GCC to save and send [your money] home.” $81,750 – $132,500 There are those who wonder, too, what Operations/payroll manager impact a more conservative approach to remuneration – and potential constraints on recruitment – will have on nationalisation. Mosley points out that the UAE has sector employees to the private sector, an 82 per cent expat population, which and may harm entry level and graduate specialist at Aon Hewitt Middle East. “For puts Emirati nationals at a considerable recruitment of nationals. example, while banking and oil and gas may premium, being paid an average 45 per cent Already, says Mosley, high inflation and be nervously looking ahead and capping fixed more for the same role according to some the increasing cost of living in the GCC has costs and salaries in particular, industries estimates. This contrasts with a 60 per had an intriguing effect on pay differentials such as healthcare and cent expat population in inside organisations when it comes to education are under real Qatar and just 40 per cent seniority: “For the last 20 years, we’ve always pressure to pay more to in Oman, where there is seen that if the market is increasing by, say, 5 attract and retain talent.” relative pay parity between per cent, senior managers’ compensation has Whatever the reason, Omani nationals and their risen by slightly more and junior employees’ the implications of pay expat counterparts. by slightly less. But 2015 was the first time Projected real salary freezes are widespread, Gandhi says he the trend reversed and the biggest increase increases, adjusted and easy to overlook. A has observed general was among lower-level workers.” Mosley for inflation region weaned on regular, convergence in pay between says this trend hasn’t affected board-level generous salary increases nationals and expats in executives. And he predicts that, by 2017, UAE 0.9% has got used to a certain most of the GCC over the status quo of larger rises for mid-level level of talent mobility and the past decade, though managers will be restored. Kuwait 1.6% a unique psychological he points to Saudi Arabia The two decades of pay inflation for contract. McGuigan points and Kuwait as outliers. But senior staff may be related to a broader move Saudi Arabia 2.6% out that talented individuals while a reining in of senior away from fixed pay scales to merit-related Bahrain 2.7% who believe they can pay is likely to help flatten increases. Mosley’s research (see page 16) command higher salaries reward structures between suggests that, in 1995, three quarters of Qatar 2.9% elsewhere are the most the two groups, a broader pay rises were awarded because of fixed Oman 3.1% likely to become disengaged downturn is unlikely to increments, but by 2015 this had dwindled or leave altogether when do much to encourage a to just 10 per cent, with more than three SOURCE: KORN FERRY HAY GROUP the money stops. And at greater transfer of public quarters of awards given on merit alone.

How much are you worth?


Average expected salary for 2016

The outlook for 2016

People Management Middle East


This mirrors the increasing prevalence so it was effectively a way of minimising of performance-related pay in Europe this cost. Employers are increasingly and parts of Asia. But what’s consistently looking to pay for the job rather than the surprising to external commentators is that family circumstances of the employee. the nascent Gulf economies have steadfastly That means allowances will be under declined to embrace increased cost pressure bonuses and benefits as they are consolidated packages. Indeed, there are into the ‘rate for the job’ signs that even relocation equation.” Hardship allowances that bridged the allowances, once a common compensation gap between aspect of Middle East expats and nationals are postings, are now virtually Method of salary review beginning to dwindle as unheard of, he adds. – 1995 vs 2015 large businesses come under Mosley says the 1995 2015 both financial and political trend towards a total Fixed 75% 10% pressure to reduce their compensation package is increments reliance on imported talent. closely aligned to broader “More and more economic prosperity. When Some fixed/ 20% 13% some merit companies are moving away times are booming, a range from discrete allowances and of individual allowances Merit only 5% 77% paying a total compensation are more likely; when the figure,” says McGuigan. “In economy takes a downturn, SOURCE: LEMON PIP CONSULTING the past, allowances were employers will reach for a appropriate when there was more consolidated model. a true expat culture and The broader economic people came and went. But this is no longer outlook means attitudes towards bonuses and the case. And the allowances were left out as benefits are likely to harden. “The GCC is a part of the end-of-service gratuity calculation, ‘cash now’ environment, and employees value

Reasons for a pay rise



People Management Middle East

base salary rises much more than bonuses,” says Nuno Gomes, principle information solutions leader at Mercer Middle East. “In most professional roles, bonuses don’t go above one month’s basic salary.” Whether it’s true or not, many business leaders fear implementing a more flexible range of benefits would raise overall base salary costs: people without children, for example, might opt out of those benefits relating to childcare and take cash instead. Enhanced medical and life insurance are two exceptions and are becoming more prevalent, particularly in the UAE. And a small number of companies have begun experimenting with allowing staff to adjust the amount of annual leave they take, sacrificing or increasing their salaries accordingly. For most, however, rigidity still rules. “The tax regimes in GCC countries do not create the incentive to implement flexible benefits programmes as they did in Europe a couple of decades ago,” says Gomes. “The tax-free environment almost enables the most flexible plan ever – everything paid in cash. Fewer than 10 per cent of organisations in Mercer’s most recent surveys had a flexible benefits package in place.”



The GCC sits in the middle of the ‘Big Mac Index’, which measures the cost of living in burgers

Housing allowances, adds Gomes, have become a major bone of contention. Between 2013 and 2015, rental costs in Dubai increased by an average 52 per cent. But for the first time, employers began to take a more cautious approach and decoupled allowances from the broader rental market, restricting rises to around 10 per cent. The impact on the cost of living isn’t hard to guess, and Gomes says health insurance may be the next flashpoint: “Medical inflation in the GCC is at 12-15 per cent, and it isn’t rare to hear cases of premium rises of more than 20 per cent. In the longer term, this situation is unsustainable.” Given such complexities, and the likely increase in pay pressures over the coming year, the scope for compensation and benefits specialists to balance the needs of employees, budgets and long-term talent planning ought to be obvious. Gomes

“Now, you don’t come to the GCC to save and send your money home”

says there is reason to believe companies now understand this: “The prevalence, scope of work and capability of remuneration specialists in the region has been rising dramatically over the last decade, as have many HR specialties. Remuneration specialists are now expected to add value to the function through detailed benchmarking analysis, correlation of compensation data with employee demographics, performance reviews, career track record, aspirations and social interests.” At the same time, McGuigan feels expertise in setting senior salaries is still lacking – which may be a factor in the way senior pay has been allowed to outpace both inflation and broader pay trends. “The

lack of remuneration committee expertise at an executive level is shockingly evident,” he says. “Given they set reward strategy in a top-down way, they need to understand the complexities of the area. For many companies, pay makes up 50-plus per cent of operating expenses. Yet [boards] still don’t apply the appropriate level of due diligence and review that an in-house expert or qualified non-executive director could supply.” That matters, says Mosley, because pay doesn’t have to be a source of pain. It can become a ‘hygiene factor’ if handled properly, and the conversation can switch from whether employees are paid enough to be sufficiently motivated, to how to increase both engagement and productivity. “If a company’s voluntary resignation rate is above 15 per cent then something is wrong and it’s almost certainly pay,” he says. “But if you get pay right then the factors that motivate employees in the GCC are things such as ‘who is my boss’, ‘what sort of work am I doing’, ‘is my work challenging enough’ and ‘have I got career opportunities two years ahead?’” In Mosley’s book, paying too much is almost as detrimental to productivity as paying too little. All of which means how HR handles the compensation question in 2016 has never been more crucial. People Management Middle East



“We won’t achieve anything without good HR practice” Amal Al Kooheji, COO of the body responsible for Bahrain’s economic future, on why building skills is essential for getting more locals into the private sector INTERVIEW ROBERT JEFFERY PHOTOGRAPHY BADER ALWAZEER



People Management Middle East

he principles of Emiratisation and Saudisation – the officially sponsored schemes to encourage greater private sector penetration of local workers – are well-known and much discussed across the GCC. But while Bahrain may not have a programme that trips off the tongue in quite the same way, the idea of diversifying the economy and finding work for youthful local nationals is every bit as crucial there. One of the smallest of the Gulf economies, Bahrain has long punched above its weight thanks to its sophisticated oil and gas infrastructure. But it was also one of the first countries in the region to begin seriously considering sector diversification, signing a free trade agreement with the US and

focusing on increasing the skills of the local workforce. Central to these efforts over the past decade has been Tamkeen, the government body responsible for directing funding towards businesses, supporting entrepreneurs, overseeing training both for jobseekers and local professionals, and taking an overview of how the national workforce’s capabilities match the country’s ambitions. With the recent axing of the 4 per cent training levy, Tamkeen has taken on an even more visible role as the principle training provider to private companies. And as Amal Al Kooheji, the organisation’s COO, explained at its headquarters in the Sanabis region of Manama, it is determined to focus both on technology and sector-specific interventions in 2016. Tamkeen has created

The abolition of the training levy is a huge change, says Amal Al Kooheji

People Management Middle East


sector advisory boards comprised of senior professionals to oversee wage subsidies, training requirements and skills. People Management found out more about the organisation’s plans, and why the economic backdrop is focusing minds on how the next generation of Bahrainis will make its living. How would you describe Tamkeen’s overall mission? Tamkeen was born out of labour reforms, the basic premise of which was ‘let’s not force Bahrainis on the private sector by using the quota system. Let’s remove quotas and allow Bahrainis to become competitive enough to thrive in the private sector.’ That entailed a lot of hard work because at that point the INTERVIEW XXXXX PHOTOGRAPHY ISAAC LAWRENCE expatriate workforce was competing with 20

People Management Middle East

the local workforce and each had its own distinct features as a labour force. You had an unfair competitive advantage in each case. Wages of expats were determined externally, so Bahrainis were at a disadvantage because they’d never be able to live by expat wages, which were set at a very low level. Tamkeen had to consider the question ‘how do we enthuse the private sector to employ Bahrainis?’ The heart of the matter is HR, naturally, because no matter how many training programmes I fund, or how many apprenticeship or internship schemes I introduce, I will not succeed unless I have employers of choice. You must have a private sector with good HR practices, good working conditions and good corporate cultures, which is able to absorb all those Bahrainis.

How well are the principles of good HR understood within Bahraini businesses? I don’t think we’re anywhere near best practice. A good share of the market does understand HR, but predominantly we see that within larger firms because they are better funded and better structured, so they have the ability, capacity and resources to have systems in place. Only a handful of companies look at staff engagement and corporate culture more closely. We have professional certification schemes for all sectors, including HR, and many people have taken CIPD qualifications. But now we’re looking at what happens beyond qualifications. What do we have to do to get the owners of these firms to believe in people

Bahrain is in the process of huge economic change

management and people practices? We’re looking at executive coaching – non-training solutions to help people reap more benefits from the knowledge HR already has. What was the thinking behind the abolition of Bahrain’s training levy? The training levy began in the 1980s and was taken from companies with 50 employees and above, which would pay 4 per cent of their expat payroll. In general, only 40 per cent of the funding was used. It wasn’t being pushed much. The government felt there was an overlap, and that Tamkeen already had a budget to spend on grants and financing schemes, as well as training employees. The private sector already pays Tamkeen’s fees, so there was a chance to alleviate the overall pressure on the private sector [by taking on additional responsibilities]. And already there are some very good examples of larger, family businesses that decided when the levy went they would put up their training budgets.

“Success will come when we don’t have any quotas, and businesses prefer Bahrainis”

Do you see much enthusiasm yet for more strategic training, such as executive coaching and leadership development, among private firms? Certainly, and you see it not only among employees but employers too. As the younger generation begins to take over family businesses, you see a lot of enthusiasm. They are excited about coaching. There are a lot of younger SME owners too, and a lot of start-ups have been created in the last 10 years because Tamkeen provides a lot of financing and loans. All of these support systems from the government have encouraged a lot of young people to become entrepreneurs or become self-employed. The younger generation sees a lot of alternative routes and development solutions.

How would you characterise the Bahraini workforce, and its challenges? The biggest barrier in the private sector, when it comes to the younger, lower-wage segment, is language. It’s not a barrier for those on higher wages. They have very good English skills in comparison to the rest of the Gulf. But those lower-wage workers, because they often haven’t gone on to higher education, tend to be lacking in basic skills. But it’s also a barrier for the existing workforce in the lower-wage segments, because to progress you need language – you need to go on training programmes or go online, and everything is in English. To crack the ceiling, they have to deal with their basic skills too, and we are working on that and trying to push wages upwards. Why do skills matter so much for the economy? We’ve reached a point where our economy doesn’t depend solely on oil. We have a financial sector that contributes a lot, and a trade sector. The IT industry is gaining momentum and we’re focusing accelerator programmes on it. We’re doing a lot with SMEs; for example, teaching them to use cloud computing. But we have to do more. When do you believe you will have succeeded in your mission to diversify the economy? When we don’t have quotas, and private sector employers come and say ‘we prefer Bahrainis’. It will take a lot of effort to achieve – we need help from policymakers, unitary authorities, the Ministry of Education and the Higher Education Council. We all have to work together to make that happen. People Management Middle East




One-on-one guidance has become a popular way to nurture talent in the west, but can it work for companies in the GCC? WORDS HEBA HASHEM


People Management Middle East

Tough talk worked in the Rocky films, but corporate coaching is more complicated

in many enlightened sectors coaching has become a positive and widely accepted tool. Faced with a shortage of talent and worrying turnover among key employees, firms wanted to signal their commitment to high-potential executives by offering increased development opportunities. And they recognised that a traditional reliance on developing quantitative capabilities instead of people-oriented skills had often led to technically excellent managers who lacked empathy and communicated poorly. Coaching, with its one-on-one nature and focus on the interpersonal, has come to be seen as the answer to both issues. Coaching is decidedly different from pure performance-based counselling – the business equivalent of a sports coach bellowing at you to buck your ideas up – or mentoring, which tends to involve a more experienced individual assisting with career navigation. Coaching is a creative and collaborative, solution-focused approach to business challenges that nurtures high performance and centres around identifying and building on key skills and talents. In essence, it aims to bring out the best in an individual to help raise overall organisational performance. Organisations in the GCC may be playing catch-up on other parts of the world, but there is a growing enthusiasm to be found in the region. Nic Woodthorpe-Wright, managing director of Dubai-based WWA Corporate Coaching, says: “Multinationals often have experience in Europe and the US at senior levels with coaching, and they’ve brought that understanding into the region. So they’ve already hit the ground running.” Masoud Golshani-Shirazi, former vice president of HR at Aujan Coca-Cola, a partnership between the Coca-Cola Company and Dubai’s Aujan Industries, says: “We have brought in coaches, but not as executive perks. We use them at critical stages: when somebody who has just been promoted or transferred needs the support to make sure they are successful. “To me, coaching is like taking a vitamin. It’s not medicine, and it’s not about solving a problem. It’s about making sure the individual is as successful as they can possibly be. We set clear coaching objectives at Aujan to make sure there are tangible results.”



“People are more attuned; you see a change in the way they talk to others”

rising star in your organisation is struggling. You’ve promoted them for their talent, hard work and future potential. But their aggressive style of working and vocal criticism of current practices is causing ructions with colleagues. It’s a delicate situation: you want your new talent to thrive and help build the business, but they urgently need to develop their team-working and communication skills and adjust their behaviour. This is a job for a coach. They can offer objectivity and ask searching questions without the individual feeling defensive. And as coaching helps the coachee arrive at the solutions themselves, it can have a longlasting impact. Yet coaching is still a relatively new concept in the GCC region, and is often confused with other development practices such as counselling and mentoring. It may also come with a stigma attached: the idea that someone who needs a coach is struggling in some way and needs remedial action. And yet, spurred by its ready adoption among Silicon Valley start-ups,

The analogy reflects a massive shift in how GCC businesses are viewing coaching. “Traditionally, people and organisations in the region have said: ‘You have a coach, therefore you have a problem that needs to be sorted out,’” says Woodthorpe-Wright. “It was sending a message to the organisation that you weren’t very good. The truth is, the opposite is the case.” For certain companies – particularly family-run firms in traditional industries – this remains a reflexive instinct when faced with ideas such as coaching. But Woodthorpe-Wright says: “The world today is complex and businesses need to quickly adapt. You need to have a high level of openness and trust, and coaching was set up to serve that.” Mubadala, the Abu Dhabi state-owned investment fund that employs more than 39,000 people, is one public sector organisation that has rapidly embraced the idea. “Since 2014, we’ve provided our senior executives with access to a network of global professional coaches for their personal and professional development,” says Ahsan Qureshi, senior vice president of human capital. He says initial feedback has been very positive and that, so far, more than 50 senior executives across the group have benefitted. “In terms of behaviour, you see people more attuned; you see a change in their personalities, and in the way they talk to others and conduct meetings,” he says. “We are planning to continue the programme to achieve long-term demonstrable results.” Mubadala isn’t alone. DP World, the global port operator, also engages coaches regularly. As Robin Windley, senior vice president of human capital, says: “We have a network of coaches that we tap into whenever we feel it is necessary, whether to enable managers to work out certain issues they have in the business environment, or to help individuals grow and understand themselves better.” Windley himself uses a coach, who he started seeing shortly after his appointment four years ago: “I figured it would be helpful to be able to share some of my thoughts about what I wanted to do with my role and function, but also to be able to talk to somebody about the challenges I was facing. I found it very beneficial on a couple of levels.” One question that often arises after a few coaching sessions is how long to continue for. Windley has retained his coach over the four-year period, although the meetings have become much less frequent. “It’s important that you get an opportunity to work through the issues that you discussed. You need to give yourself time to get things done,” he says. People Management Middle East



Such intimate, one-to-one discussions may appear to be too intrusive for some conservative Arab cultures. But according to Woodthorpe-Wright, local clients have shown extraordinary openness, focusing on the value they are getting from coaching rather than on who is delivering it. “I found Arab cultures to be curious and intrigued by the coaching process. GCC nationals make up about 50 per cent of the people we work with, and the number is growing,” he says. “The Middle East is not completely different from the rest of the world, but there are some subtleties in the culture. A coach with that awareness can provide more effective coaching. As a coach, you’re there to serve the people you’re working with, which means sometimes you have to challenge them. So it’s about understanding culturally what’s a relevant push and what’s an unrealistic or disrespectful push.” Like any professional relationship, for coaching to be effective there needs to be a high level of trust, which comes by maintaining confidentiality. But before that, the chemistry has to be there. “As an individual, you have to make a connection with the coach. You have to believe that you can trust this individual and feel there is a rapport,” says Windley. Confidentiality is crucial for the process to work because, according to WoodthorpeWright, intensely personal matters might be discussed. That means an organisation won’t know what’s going on inside the coaching relationship, a fact that often surprises HR professionals who bring coaches into businesses. The way to handle this is to create an agreement between the coach, coachee and company about which areas of discussion can be shared and which cannot. Most organisations attempting coaching for the first time initially hire external expertise and look to build an internal network – comprising both HR professionals and professionally trained employees – when they have assessed its effectiveness. Privacy concerns are often a key reason why external coaches are hired for leaders. In a survey by Henley Business School, three out of four respondents who planned to use coaches in 2014 said they would prefer external coaches for

“You have to make a connection with the coach – you have to trust them”

18 People 24 PeopleManagement ManagementAsia Middle East

Mubadala – sponsor of the 2015 World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi – offers its senior execs access to a global coaching network

senior management. Internal coaches were most likely going to be used for middle management and managers in transition. “We have discussed the idea of developing internal coaches, but our view is that using external coaches ensures confidentiality – allowing the coachee to open up. Otherwise it just wouldn’t work,” says Qureshi. However, Woodthorpe-Wright argues: “It is absolutely worth developing an internal coaching capability. For the concept to work within a company, you have to get as many people as possible engaged in the process.” And finding an external coach is not without risk. It is worth carefully assessing both qualifications and experience – the International Coach Federation, which has 27,000 members, is a good place to start, and can help match organisations with coaches who have relevant business experience. Evidence has been steadily building over the last decade that supports the effectiveness of coaching in organisations. The most convincing is provided by controlled studies that contrast a coaching intervention with a controlled group that received no intervention. These studies can be combined into meta-analytic studies that offer great statistical power. “We currently have three meta-analytical studies in coaching that all found significant effects in terms of coaching’s ability to enhance relevant organisational outcomes like performance, wellbeing and leadership,” says Dr Doug MacKie, business psychologist at Brisbanebased CSA Consulting. One key variable that seems to differentiate those who benefit from

a coaching approach is change or developmental readiness – the person being coached must want it in the first place. Developmental readiness is both the motivation and ability to grow and change as a leader, and is a precursor of effective leadership development. One of the factors that underlies this is the mindset of the person being coached towards modifying their leadership ability. Those with a fixed mindset around leadership believe that leaders are born not made, and that it’s very difficult to modify your natural ability. “Individuals with these mindsets can really struggle in a coaching process. By contrast, coachees with a growth mindset take an incremental approach to their development, believing that leaders are made, not born, and that the acquisition of expertise is a function of application and effort. Individuals with this growth mindset really thrive in a coaching process,” says MacKie. While opinion may still be divided over the true effectiveness of corporate coaching and who benefits from it the most, it is not a remedial intervention. It’s an individualised form of leadership development that is particularly effective with high-performing senior managers and leaders who have specific rather than generic leadership development needs. Understand that, say the experts, and you’ll be well on your way to making it work for you – and overcoming the fear that still makes some executives break out in a cold sweat at the thought of confronting their own shortcomings. ✶ Find out how to make coaching come alive in your company with the CIPD Coaching Toolkit:

The simple guide to the world’s smartest business gurus Business gurus

“The paradox of change is that the only way to alter the way we think is by doing the very things our habitual thinking keeps us from doing”

“People don’t change that much. Don’t waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in”

“There’s no going back. Pay your son to take out the trash and you’ve pretty much guaranteed the kid will never do it again for free”

“HR must give value or give notice”

“It is still money that dominates the negotiated relationship between an employee and employer. Let’s widen the conversation to include an equally important asset: good work” “Today’s executives must learn how to think explicitly about the management orthodoxies that bound their thinking – the habits, dogmas and conceits they’ve never challenged”

“Emotional aptitude is a ‘meta ability’, determining how well we can use whatever other skills we have, including raw intellect”

There’s no shortage of management thinkers around, but which ones should HR be listening to? WORDS JANE SIMMS

People Management Middle East



Business gurus

Ever since Frank Gilbreth, regarded as the first management consultant, began studying how to make work more efficient more than a century ago, businesspeople have been obsessed with learning from each other and understanding the trends that will challenge their companies in the years ahead. From Peter Drucker to Sheryl Sandberg, business authors have topped the bestseller lists and sold out conference halls for decades, but which gurus are most relevant for HR practitioners? We raided the business bookshelf in earnest. Who are the Middle East’s most important business thinkers? Find out at

Lynda Gratton

Daniel Pink

Gary Hamel

Who is she? Professor of management practice at London Business School (LBS), where she specialises in HR strategy. She joined LBS in 1989, founded the ‘Hot Spots’ movement to bring academic research to managers’ attention, and leads the Future of Work Research Consortium.

Who is he? A former chief speechwriter for ex-US vice president Al Gore, Pink used the experience of leaving his job in 1997 as the basis for his first book, Free Agent Nation: the future of working for yourself (2001). He has been described as a ‘capturer of the business zeitgeist’.

What does she say? Gratton’s central premise is that, while companies have the power to simultaneously change the world for the better and make bigger profits, they can only do so by fully engaging their people. Her first book, Living Strategy: putting people at the heart of corporate purpose (2000), exemplified this theme, and Hot Spots (2007) developed it. Her 2011 title, The Shift: the future of work is already here, earned her 12th position in the Thinkers50 list of the world’s most influential living management thinkers. Her most recent book, The Key: how corporations succeed by solving the world’s toughest problems (2014), looks at the impact of the changing world on corporate practices, processes and leadership.

What does he say? In A Whole New Mind: why rightbrainers will rule the future (2005) Pink argued that we had already moved beyond the ‘knowledge age’ to the ‘conceptual age’, where emotion, intuition and creativity are what differentiate people and organisations. But it was Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us (2009) that saw him explode into the global consciousness. He demonstrated that intrinsic, internal motivation (the desire to do a good job) is far more powerful than the traditional external motivators of fear, money and rewards. And in To Sell is Human: the surprising truth about moving others (2013), Pink examines the art and science of selling in a world where, he says, everyone is ‘in sales’.

Who is he? One of the world’s most influential thinkers on strategy, leadership and innovation, Hamel has been on the faculty of London Business School for more than 30 years. His most recent initiative is The Management Innovation eXchange, which aims to reinvent management by using open innovation.

Why does it matter? The best companies understand the link between engaged employees and business success, she says, and, in an increasingly competitive, complex and challenging world, Gratton’s work is a constant reminder not to stretch employees to the limit. 26

People Management Middle East

Why does it matter? Most companies know there is no correlation between individual pay and company performance, yet continue to award performance-related pay. Those who embrace Pink’s message could improve individual and organisational performance – and save a lot of money in the process.

What does he say? Companies need to innovate continually and harness the power of their people if they are to remain competitive in a world where adaptability and creativity drive business success. Competing for the Future (1994, with CK Prahalad) offered a blueprint for competing today while also preparing for tomorrow, and Leading the Revolution (2000) proposed a radical new innovation agenda and a strategy to harness the imagination of every employee. In his most recent bestseller, What Matters Now (2012), he urged readers to rethink the fundamental assumptions they have about management, arguing that values, innovation, adaptability, passion and ideology are the ‘make or break’ issues that will determine an organisation’s success. Why does it matter? The world has changed beyond recognition since management theory was first conceived, but too many companies still manage according to the same old rules. Hamel wants to shake us out of our cosy way of thinking.

Marcus Buckingham

Daniel Goleman

Herminia Ibarra

Dave Ulrich

Who is he? A British-American best-selling author, motivational speaker and consultant, best known for promoting what he calls ‘strengths’. His first job was at Gallup, where he worked on a survey that measured the factors contributing to employee engagement.

Who is he? A psychologist and former science reporter who popularised the notion of ‘emotional intelligence’ (EQ). Until the publication of Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ in 1996, IQ was seen as the pre-eminent standard of intelligence. The notion of EQ is now widely embraced.

Who is she? Professor of leadership and learning, and organisational behaviour at INSEAD. She directs the Leadership Transition, an executive programme designed for managers moving into broader leadership roles, speaks internationally on leadership, talent management and women’s careers, and was ranked eighth in the 2015 Thinkers50 list.

Who is he? Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ulrich is arguably the world’s leading guru of HR management. He pioneered the acceptance of HR as a business function, rather than a support function, and made a lasting impact by bringing the idea of the HR business partner into workplaces.

What does he say? People improve their productivity and personal satisfaction by focusing on their strengths rather than trying to reduce their weaknesses. Rules stifle the originality and uniqueness – the ‘strengths’ – that enable all of us to exploit our full potential. His second book, Now, Discover Your Strengths: how to develop your talents and those of the people you manage (2001), co-authored with Donald O Clifton and tied to a Gallup personal assessment tool called StrengthsFinder, focused on how to find and cultivate your strengths. In The One Thing You Need to Know... about great managing, great leading, and sustained individual success (2005) he argued that managers should capitalise on what is unique about every member of their team, as this will have a positive effect on their performance. Why does it matter? Putting people in roles they enjoy and excel at is empowering, says Buckingham, and thinking about strengths changes the way we recruit, promote and develop talent.

What does he say? Our emotions play a much greater role in thought, decision-making and individual success than was commonly acknowledged. Goleman defines EQ, a trait not measured by conventional intelligence tests, as a set of skills, such as control of impulses, self-motivation, empathy and social competence. Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998) extends these concepts into the workplace, using research to demonstrate that EQ is a barometer of excellence in almost any job. In Primal Leadership: learning to lead with emotional intelligence (2002), Goleman and his coauthors apply the principles of EQ to leadership. Why does it matter? Not only are people with high EQ (which can be taught) more successful than others at work, but, because EQ encompasses what are ‘essential skills for living’, they also lead happier and more fulfilled lives, says Goleman, whose ideas have inspired the mindfulness movement.

What does she say? Ibarra advocates learning through action. People stay stuck in jobs they don’t like because they don’t know what they want to do instead, but reflection and self-assessment lead to “analysis paralysis”, she argues. Her views are encapsulated in her 2015 title Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, which explains how to step into a bigger leadership role, including the idea that ‘acting up’ to expected behaviours can be more effective than the idea of being authentic. Ibarra believes people become stuck in unproductive habits (such as micro-managing) because they lack experiences that lead them to want to do new things. Why does it matter? The volatile business environment calls for people who are multi-skilled, innovative, curious and infinitely adaptable. Meanwhile, too many leaders remain unprepared to step into senior roles and could benefit from a more honest framework for managing others.

What does he say? In the mid-1990s, Ulrich said HR should reorganise itself around four key areas: shared service centres carrying out transactional HR activities; embedded HR (business partners) working directly with business leaders; centres of expertise providing specialist advice; and strategic corporate HR. In Why the Bottom Line Isn’t: how to build value through people and organisation (2003), Ulrich argued that shareholder value increasingly comes from people, reputation and other intangible assets. He has recently cocreated a Leadership Capital Index, which aims to measure the effectiveness of collective and dispersed leadership rather than the CEO alone. Why does it matter? Given the growing acknowledgement that well-led and managed people are the best source of competitive advantage, the people who can optimise others (whether HR professionals or business leaders) have never been more important. People Management Middle East


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Your quarterly run-through of essential skills, with expert commentary

Employees moving on can be a costly business. There’s lost productivity before and after they go, the cost of hiring a replacement (and the possibility they won’t work out) and the impact on the morale of the remaining team members. While some attrition is unavoidable, HR departments increasingly believe that drilling down into the detail of who’s leaving, and why, can help direct some simple interventions that might prevent the pain of unwanted departures. “If businesses can diagnose the reasons behind the loss of staff, they can make considerable financial savings on training new workers and hiring talent,” says Liam Butler, sales vice president EMEA of HR software provider SumTotal. Most employers will conduct an exit interview with departing employees, but their effectiveness varies, says Butler: “There’s an inherent weakness in the exit interview process, as workers rarely feel comfortable enough to give honest feedback. They are concerned about receiving a positive reference for their next position, and are therefore less likely to be frank about the shortcomings they have experienced in their previous post.” Butler believes the process of establishing why people leave should begin much sooner, during appraisals and informal staff catch-ups, for example. “By conducting regular feedback cycles, businesses can not only establish the core issues driving staff turnover, they can 30

People Management Middle East

begin to address them before a new wave of staff look to jump ship.” Tom Raftery, director of Dubai-based HR consultancy It’s All About People, recommends contacting the departing employee a few months after they have left for a follow-up conversation – although he says this is currently only being done by a minority of GCC businesses. “They will be in a better position to talk and you will probably get closer to the truth,” he says. “Some companies will also use consultants to hold a structured interview with people who have left.”

What’s keeping you? 76% Proportion of employees in the

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region who say the turnover rate in the company is ‘very high’ or ‘moderately high’

28% of employees say they

have stayed in a role for more than two years

44% of respondents say sales and marketing are the departments with the highest turnover

45% of respondents say pay

is the primary reason for switching jobs

Source: survey of 11,120 employees across MENA region



Understand why people leave your organisation

Another option is to give departing employees a questionnaire to fill out, with a provision that you will not share any information with line managers until after an agreed period – perhaps a month or two. This can help staff who have had a problem with a particular line manager to be honest. Once you have collected any data, via interviews or questionnaires, it is vital to process it properly so you can spot trends. “Once an organisation has identified the key reasons for staff turnover, it should be looking to tackle the issues and demonstrate its commitment to its workforce,” Butler says. But beware assuming Butler says exit interviews rarely that all staff attrition reveal the truth is the same: it is worth giving more weight to the experiences and feedback of those employees you particularly wanted to keep, or who are difficult to replace, and potentially focusing your retention efforts on such precious cohorts. In Raftery’s experience, culture counts too. Some HR managers find it hard to give unfavourable feedback because it goes against the culture of not making one another ‘lose face’, but he argues that these issues should be dealt with head-on: “You need to take action by giving feedback in a constructive and positive way.” Uncovering the reasons people leave may help organisations keep hold of talent, says Raftery. “Businesses are struggling to get staff of the right calibre. There is a very small talent pool, and a real skills shortage.”

The Knowledge


Conduct an interview via Skype

Whether you’re hiring from overseas or just the other end of the country, video interviewing offers a way to cut costs and find out more about a candidate you can’t see face to face. But though the technology has existed for years, there are still plenty of drawbacks, from the awkwardness of the process to the unfamiliarity of the technology. HR and recruitment professionals have a vital role to play in making things run smoothly, and ensuring video interviews are just as useful as real meetings. There are numerous options when it comes to video conferencing, also known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The most widely recognised are probably Skype and Google Hangouts but others include Viber, Jitsi and ooVoo. The legality of the process is the first thing to check: the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has said that VoIP is prohibited in the country and that only two telecoms operators, Etisalat and Du, are authorised to offer such services. There are no such restrictions in Bahrain at present, though other countries have changed their stance on VoIP services.

Jason Grundy, Middle East head at recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, says video interviews are increasingly being used to screen international candidates before meeting face to face, as the movement of professionals becomes vital to enable local businesses to grow. Grundy says a video interview should be treated the same as a faceto-face affair. The candidate should be given the names and job titles of the people interviewing them in advance. An interviewer should be dressed appropriately, and expect the same from a candidate. Both parties should attend on time and effort should be made to overcome technical problems. A wired internet connection, rather than WiFi, can help connectivity, as can making a test call to confirm your connection. Some services now also allow interviewees to pre-record their answers, which means they can re-record if they face technical issues, but it also takes away the element of seeing a candidate ‘think on their feet’.

“Make sure the profile is on brand with your social media standards”

Why video interviewing fails

18% 21% 13% 27% 9% Poor audio/video quality

Uncomfortable on camera

Discrimination concerns

Connectivity issues

Visual distractions for interviewer

Source: Software Advice

Top reasons given by jobseekers who dislike video interviews

“Being familiar with the VoIP that you are planning to use is important to avoid any potential technical issues and ensure you are comfortable throughout the interviewing process,” says Grundy. “Create an official company account and Video interviews are being used to screen overseas candidates

make sure that the profile is on brand with all your usual online or social media standards.” Grundy says hiring managers should be trained in how to look at the lens when addressing the candidate to stimulate eye contact, rather than looking at themselves on screen. Interviewers should also be aware of time delays, slowing down their delivery speed and leaving a pause after the interviewee speaks to avoid talking over each other. If Skype interviews become a regular feature, consider bringing in a professional to conduct a session on best practice. “Employers that are planning to regularly use VoIP for interviews should identify a good location in the office to conduct them – somewhere well-lit and where they are unlikely to be distracted,” Grundy advises. While video conferencing is becoming more commonplace, Grundy believes recruitment managers should make some allowances. “Given many candidates may not be entirely comfortable using video conferencing, this may affect their performance, giving the hiring manager a skewed image of their attitude and personality.” People Management Middle East



Manage a poor performer

No matter where they are, line managers and HR professionals find discussing poor performance a nerve-wracking affair. But if you work in a culture where it’s frowned upon to confront people, tackling the issue can be even harder. “Managing poor performance in this region is the biggest challenge. People struggle to give honest feedback – they don’t want to embarrass the other person,” says Tom Raftery, director of Dubai-based HR consultancy It’s All About People. Marjola Rintjema, Raftery: get poor lead consultant, performers to communication and analyse their work change management for Towers Watson in Dubai, agrees: “Dealing with underperformance involves confronting people. In Middle Eastern cultures, this can be considered as making someone lose face, which you should avoid. Many companies implement elaborate performance management systems that include forced distribution, KPIs and competency ratings, but they do not improve manager-employee interactions. While it certainly helps to have a robust performance management system, it will not be effective unless you work on the feedback and communication skills of your managers.” The good news is that having these tricky conversations is something managers can practice. “Agreeing targets, giving feedback and handling resistance are all trainable skills. With guidance and practice, managers can greatly improve their effectiveness in managing their team’s performance,” she adds. One thing that can make tackling poor performance easier is having

performance-related conversations more than once or twice a year – a situation that can be difficult for employees. “It is hard not to become defensive if a year’s worth of feedback is suddenly released and specific examples are lacking or obsolete,” says Rintjema. She suggests focusing on specific, observable behaviour and results, keeping to your own observations and opinion and providing recommendations for improvement. “Accept that no one likes negative feedback and give the person some time to digest it,” she says. For Raftery, it can help to get underperforming staff to recognise the problem through analysing their own actions or work. “Ask them to critically analyse it themselves and then say ‘here are my observations’. Sometimes they don’t know, so part of it is saying ‘have you considered looking at it this way?’, rather than ‘you have got that wrong and you need to do it this way’.” Helping an employee to improve their performance might involve extra training, coaching or mentoring from a more experienced colleague. Another tool is to set objectives and allow them to be involved in the process. “If people don’t feel their objectives are relevant and feasible, they will not be inclined to improve,” Rintjema says. “Involving the employee helps empower them to get better.” However, while it is important to motivate employees, Rintjema believes managers should not be afraid to discuss a change in employment once all other options have been explored. “If as a manager you don’t believe improvement is possible, it may be better to start discussing other positions inside or outside your organisation. As difficult as this is, it is fairer than letting someone believe they have a future in their current role. If, however, you think the employee can improve, showing them you believe in them is crucial to their self-confidence and motivation.”

“Setting the employee objectives and getting them involved helps empower them to improve”


People Management Middle East

Raftery agrees: “Look at how you can energise them around their strengths using positive psychology, but if they have weaknesses consider how you can minimise those. Give them every chance and take them through verbal and written warnings and, if that doesn’t work, get them out of the business.”

Are appraisals finished?

The number of multinationals that have dropped formal appraisals grows by the week. Google, Microsoft, Accenture, Adobe and Gap are among the latest. They believe the process ties up management time and fails to deal with problems as they arise.

Many businesses are moving to a system of ‘continuous feedback’ aided by regular, briefer ‘check ins’ between managers and employees that allow them to air concerns and have a productive development conversation, rather than a formal box-ticking exercise.

CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese says appraisals are often a “comfort blanket” for HR: “The number of companies making this change is still relatively small, but it’s definitely capturing people’s imaginations.”

Appraisals may still be useful in situations where managers rarely interact with their employees. And if you are abandoning performance reviews, it’s vital that staff receive feedback in different ways, rather than silence.

The Knowledge

The idea that HR practitioners struggle with the numbers has been shown time and again to be an inaccurate stereotype. But it is true that the requirement for senior professionals outside the financial department to be able to understand profile and loss (P&L) accounts or read a balance sheet has never been greater. Rana Ghandour Salhab, Middle East talent and communications partner at Deloitte, says: “The 21st-century talent environment demands of HR professionals a clear understanding of how to use all kinds of data, including financial data.” By achieving this, she says, HR has the opportunity to become a “business-aligned trusted adviser and solutions provider”. Christine Wright, managing director of Hays in Asia, adds: “Increasingly, in most major organisations, the HR director and CFO are working closer together than ever and the more you can enhance your relationships between the teams, the more effective you can be in your role.”

There are three main areas to consider. basis. It will also give a turnover figure, The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the which is the value of the company’s business’s total assets sales. When you take and liabilities at any away the cost of the given time. It might sales, you get gross include: cash available profit, which can be in bank accounts, debts You should be able to correctly compared over time. answer more than one of the not yet collected, stock Meanwhile, the questions below, according to or production costs cashflow statement Standard & Poor’s for unsold products, is often the most 1. You have $100 in a savings account and fixed assets (property, crucial information the bank adds 10 per cent a year to the plant and equipment), of all. It summarises account. How much money would you accrued liabilities the business’s cash have in the account after five years if you did not remove any money from (unpaid expenses) and inflows and outflows the account? shareholder capital. over a given period, a. More than $150 The balance sheet also certainly for the b. Exactly $150 shows the net asset trading year but c. Less than $150 value of the company – also often monthly. 2. You put money in the bank for two the total assets less total years and the bank agrees to add 15 per Reliable forecasting of liabilities. cash movement and cent a year to your account. Will the bank add more money to your account in the The P&L statement availability is essential second year than it did in the first year, or is about performance to ensure suppliers, will it add the same amount in both years? – how much revenue employees and other a. More the business made creditors can be paid. b. The same over a period, the “If you are looking 3. Is it safer to put your money into: costs accrued and, at stability, you will go a. One business or investment ultimately, the profit. to the balance sheet. b. Multiple businesses or investments It lists sales revenue If you want to assess and expenses that performance, then determine the profit (or loss) on a it’s the P&L,” says Wright. But if you monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual haven’t got cash, very little else matters. While no HR professional is likely to match the skills of an accountant, Narayanan Vaidyanathan, an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants senior manager, says it’s important for HR to broadly understand the bottom line: “Company Sales The total amount brought in by balance sheets and P&L statements, goods or services in the period used in conjunction with each other and Cost of sales The materials and labour interpreted correctly, will give a solid required to achieve those sales overview of the company’s financial performance. It’s important that HR Overheads These could include admin, professionals understand the link R&D, marketing and support functions between financial performance and Operating (pre-tax) profit business viability.” The amount made from core activities – often reported in This can begin with your own area of the press simply as ‘profit’ the business, Wright adds. By applying the principles of P&L to HR’s own Profit after tax The most interesting figure for budgets, you can understand where you shareholders, as it gives the are deriving value, whether you are a fullest picture of profitability profitable department – and you might just turn up some unexpected outflows that need clamping down on…

Are you financially literate?

Answers 1 a, 2 a, 3 b


Read the company budget

Making sense of P&L accounts

People Management Middle East




Successful change management is the pre-eminent skill in modern business

In today’s business environment, now? Kodak was a global leader in where technology is cheap and the camera market, but in the age finding skilled talent is hard, of Instagram (a business no one what is the key differentiator had heard of five years ago) it is between the businesses that nowhere to be seen. Samsung fail and those that succeed? and Apple are locked in a race I believe it is the ability to in the current smartphone manage change. market that may ultimately Innovating, learning quickly come down to which business is and responding rapidly to able to change most effectively. external elements are the key Seventy per cent of all components of change, but change projects fail, according * President of Mawj Training & perhaps the most important to Harvard research. I believe Consulting in Al aspect is how quickly you can this is because they may Khobar, Saudi change. In business, there attempt change, but they do Arabia are plenty of examples that not manage it. According to illustrate this, particularly in international consulting firm the world of technology. BlackBerry Prosci: “Change management is the was once the dominant mobile phone application of a structured process and company in the world, but where is it a set of tools for leading the people side


Khaled Almobarak

BlackBerry suffered when it failed to adapt to the rapidly changing mobile phone market

34 People Management Middle East

of change to achieve a desired outcome.” By following such a process, you significantly increase your success rate in change initiatives, and achieve wider acceptance and adoption of change among managers and employees. The concept of sponsoring or championing change processes has become widely accepted. Yet, according to Prosci’s research, the number one obstacle to success among major change projects is ineffective sponsorships. The worst-performing change project teams ranked more than half their change sponsors as having only a low to moderate understanding of their role in managing the people side of the change, and graded them as poor to average in terms of the impact of their sponsorship activities. It’s here – on the people side of change – that HR is absolutely crucial, yet it isn’t always sufficiently involved. HR professionals need to play a major role when it comes to changing mindsets, as well as processes, whether it is through a reorganisation, new job roles, new functions or M&A. HR should be involved from the outset, and should become a vital part of the way change is communicated and coached, as well as aligning change with learning programmes and troubleshooting problems, such as resistance to change. I hope organisations will begin to see change not as a painful process, but an inevitable one: something that happens naturally as part of the business cycle rather than a terrifying one-off event. And when change becomes a natural part of business, I hope we will see HR professionals driving it and owning it just as naturally as they do other parts of the business cycle.

T. 020 8267 4462 F. 020 8267 4702


About Bapco Bapco is a unique company, which has never stood still.The first to discover oil in the Arabian Peninsula in 1932, it started exporting in 1934 and refining in 1936. Since then, the company has helped shape the modern Kingdom of Bahrain, not simply through the generation of wealth, but through the development of Bahrain’s manpower. Bapco offers married or single status contracts, free furnished accommodation and utilities, paid annual leave with a cash settlement, generous local & overseas children education assistance and excellent recreational facilities. Senior Analyst Organization and Manpower Planning Job Summary: To undertake complex organisational and manpower reviews leading to organization restructuring and design of departmental/divisional manpower requirements.This involves determination of correct staffing levels, the development of new or revised organization structures, job design, writing job descriptions, manpower allocation, manpower planning and control as well as succession planning in order to maximize human resource productivity. Requirements: • Bachelor degree in Industrial Engineering/Organization Development/ Management Services or equivalent. • Preferably a member of a recognized approved professional association such as IMS, CIPD,ASIE, EIIE, etc. • A minimum of ten years’ experience in Organization Development, Organization Restructuring & Manpower studies, Job Design, Job Descriptions, Process and Productivity Improvement, Manpower & Succession planning in large corporations or with consultancy firms. • The experience shall include method study, work measurement, cost reduction, organizational studies, process mapping & improvement. • Essential experience and knowledge of Oracle-based database management. • Strong communication and negotiating skills. • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills. Good knowledge of PC applications, database and spread sheets, organisational charting tools. • Excellent command of English language with ability to produce accurate and concise, written and verbal reports/presentations. Competency Development Specialist Job Summary: Develop, implement and maintain competency framework for the company that includes; • Prepare Core, Behavioral and Technical Competencies for the oil refining and support functions of the company. • Identify Competencies for the positions, prepare behavior indicators and map proficiency levels. • Develop & maintain a comprehensive competency dictionary in ORACLE HRMS and provide support on competency assessment. • Provide training on competency framework of the company to the various job levels in the company Requirements: • Bachelor degree in Organization Development/ Business Studies/Human Resources or equivalent. • Preferably a member of a recognized approved professional association such as CIPD, SHRM, etc. • Minimum eight to ten years’ experience in Human Resources Function. • Hands on experience in Competency Model development. • Able to independently handle Competency Framework Development. • In depth knowledge of Competency Assessment process and application of Competency maps for learning, succession planning, and recruitment and performance management. • Good interpersonal skills and a team player. • Fully computer literate with knowledge of MS Office Applications. • Excellent communication skills (verbal & written),Ability to produce accurate and concise, written and verbal reports/presentations. • Exposure to Oracle HRMS, Oracle OLM preferred. Further details can be found at If you are interested in either of these vacancies you can apply by contacting If you are considering an overseas positing, think about Bahrain with its modern, open society compatible with the western lifestyle. Here, the Bahrain Petroleum Company offers the opportunity to work in this exceptional environment and to live in its company town of Awali which provides a friendly atmosphere and active social life.This position offers an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally at an exciting time in Bapco’s development and to enjoy the attractions of a safe, cosmopolitan and welcoming country.

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