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HIRE THE BEST Talented nationals want to work in the private sector. Are you ready for them?
Stronger together Giving back
How high-performing Why working for your businesses build community might be great teams your smartest move
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Safeguarding our future
Matthew Mee Managing director, CIPD Middle East
For many HR professionals who live and work in the GCC, the nationalisation agenda is likely to be a key part of their strategy – and for good reason. We’ve seen the research (there is plenty of it) and the reality is that the future economic and social prosperity of the region depends on nationalisation working, and working effectively. However, in our many discussions with organisations and HR professionals based here, we hear mixed views and see very different approaches and attitudes towards nationalisation. This is a risk we need to address as a profession, and I hope those reading this edition of People Management Middle East will consider the question: ‘Are we really doing all we can to get nationalisation to work?’ There are obviously challenges and imperfections in any positive action programme. We see evolving quota mechanisms and rating systems being put in place in respective countries and sectors, and with this there is always debate about whether these are really driving the right behaviours and outcomes. Perhaps there is an opportunity to improve the consultation process with the HR profession, which would help make these changes more successful.
That said, to my mind nationalisation is about duty of care and, writing as an expat who has been given the opportunity to live and work in the UAE for the last nine years, I believe it is our duty to do all we can to help develop the local population. To this end, we wanted to share some views and positive stories of organisations, particularly in the UAE, where this agenda is front of mind – where change and the future is happening today. Finally, given the holy month of Ramadan is fast approaching, I would like to wish all our members and the wider community Ramadan Kareem!
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Contents Who we are p5 News and analysis p6 Improving opportunities for women at work Case studies p10 Focus on Jumeirah and Al Naboodah Debate: charismatic bosses p14 Is this the end of the larger-than-life leader? Nationalisation 2.0 p16 Why getting locals into jobs is about more than pay
The Year of Giving p24 How charitable initiatives are boosting business Building the perfect team p28 What leaders can do to get people working together The Knowledge p30 Key workplace skills, with expert commentary The View From Here: Vicki Culpin p34
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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 Member 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: www.cipd.ae/membership People Management Middle East
Gender pay gap ‘will last until 2066’
WORDS GEORGI GYTON
Legal and cultural change ahead to help UAE and Saudi Arabia create more opportunities for women
Increasing numbers of women are being represented in workforces across GCC countries – but experts warn much more must be done to help them into senior roles and reduce the gender pay gap. Even the most optimistic predictions suggest a wage gap will be present until at least 2066, according to a new report from management consultancy Accenture, Getting to Equal 2017. It suggests that digital fluency, career strategy – the need for women to aim high and proactively manage their careers – and tech immersion are three areas of focus that could help equalise the pay of men and women in a shorter space of time. But pay isn’t the only issue. For many women who are keen to work, there simply aren’t enough suitable opportunities available. Helen McGuire, co-founder
and managing director of Hopscotch, which helps women find work in the UAE, says: “We know that the UAE has the one of the most educated female populations in the world and yet thousands of women remain without work because of the historic lack of balanced and flexible options in the workplace. “Despite a general desire from UAE organisations to hire and retain more women in senior positions, there are currently very few laws or even guidelines that actively support, advise or protect females in the workforce.” However, this could be about to change. In support of the UAE’s target to become one of the world’s top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021, the region’s Gender Balance Council has announced that it is producing a workplace guide designed to provide
“Forget quotas:we wantthe rightpeople doingthe rightjobs”
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advice for organisations on how to adopt a gender-sensitive approach. Set to be published in September, it has been developed in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Welcoming the news, Sara Khoja, partner at law firm Clyde & Co, acknowledges that many employers in the country are already offering family-friendly entitlements to help women who want to work: “It can sometimes be difficult to establish a direct correlation between enhanced benefits and employee retention. But retaining women during the middle years of their careers – when typically employees start families but also go through important periods of developing skills and experience – can ensure a pipeline of female talent for development and later promotion.” In Saudi Arabia, a lack of suitable employment opportunities is stifling progress on gender diversity, if recent figures are anything to go by. A new report from the country’s General Authority for Statistics found that 80.6 per cent of the country’s jobseekers are female, suggesting the motivation to work far outweighs the supply of jobs. The number of Saudi females employed in the private sector increased by 144 per
News and analysis News in numbers
Only 22 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s workforce is female
cent between the end of 2012 and the third quarter of 2016 – from 203,088 to 496,800, according to the General Organization for Social Insurance – but only 22 per cent of the country’s workforce is currently female. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 aims to increase this to 30 per cent. Some progress is being made. General Electric recently hired its first Saudi female engineers, in what has been hailed by campaigners as a landmark move, while the All-Women Business Process and IT Services Center in Riyadh has set a target of getting 3,000 women into employment in the next few years. “This is not about filling quotas – it’s about having the right people for the right jobs,” says Hisham Al Bahkali, president and CEO of GE Saudi Arabia & Bahrain. “We foresee the number of Saudi females in our workforce increasing over time and we will continue to invest in their training and development to create challenging and rewarding career opportunities – as we do with all GE employees.” Dr Najat Benchiba-Savenius, head of social and economic research, GCC, at Oxford Strategic Consulting, believes the female workforce can be optimised further. “Focusing on the acute issue of unemployment among Saudi women through mentoring, creating new jobs in the private sector and offering corporate incentives, internships and a nationwide communications and social media campaign could help bolster economic reform plans in the Kingdom,” she says.
Number of Emirati jobseekers registered with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation in the UAE to help them ﬁnd jobs in the private sector
77% Percentage of employers in Qatar that carry out background checks on candidates during the recruitment process
Number of jobs expected to be created through Saudi Arabia’s digitisation plan
Percentage of expats in the GCC who do not have a pension plan SOURCE: MINISTRY OF HUMAN RESOURCES AND EMIRATISATION, CLYDE & CO, THE ECONOMIST CORPORATE NETWORK, GUARDIAN WEALTH MANAGEMENT
Luke Tapp, head of Middle East employment practice, and Andrea Hewitt-Sims, solicitor, at Pinsent Masons give an overview of legal issues and developments in the GCC
Restrictive covenantsposttermination in the UAE Unlike many jurisdictions, in the UAE it is not possible to obtain injunctive relief that prevents an employee from joining a competitor, leaving many employers exposed to rivals poaching their staff, teams and clients. Article 127 of the UAE Labour Law No 8 of 1980 provides that employers may include restrictive covenants in their employment contracts to protect their legitimate business interests, provided such restrictions are limited in duration, geographical scope and type of work. The types of covenants we recommend organisations incorporate restrict employees from joining competitors, poaching/recruiting employees of the business and approaching or dealing with
clients of the business following the termination of employment. Provided the covenant is reasonable and restricts the former employee only to the extent necessary to protect the company, the UAE courts will recognise the restriction as lawful. If an ex-employee acts in breach of the restriction, resulting in financial loss to the former employer, the firm will be able to issue legal proceedings against them to recover such losses. An obstacle in enforcing restrictive covenants is being able to demonstrate that the financial loss is directly attributable to the employee’s breach of the covenant. There are several measures that employers may adopt to mitigate the risk arising from an employee acting in breach of restrictive covenants, such as ring-fencing particular clients within the wording of the restriction or including a liquidated damages provision to agree the amount of loss that will be suffered continued overleaf People Management Middle East
News and analysis
The rise in the use of artiﬁcial intelligence and robotics is a key challenge for HR
by the business if the employee breaches the covenant. The alternative to relying on restrictive covenants is to enter into a fixed-term contract, which provides both parties with a guaranteed length of service. Should an employee resign from a fixed-term contract early, they will automatically be required to pay compensation to the company unless the employee can demonstrate that the company committed a fundamental breach of the terms of the employment contract. In light of there being no injunctive relief, fixed-term contracts are one of the most effective ways of protecting the business in practice.
Qatar Kafala system changes
In Qatar, there has recently been a lot of discussion around restrictions applied to former employees in respect of visa cancellations and visa transfers. It has now been almost six months since the changes to the Kafala system were introduced by Law No 21 of 2015. The changes allow expatriate workers to obtain an exit permit more easily than under the old system. More significantly, the new law allows workers to return to Qatar two or three days after leaving the country to begin employment with a new company. The Kafala system also relates to an employee’s right to work for another employer. Under the old law, without special permission a sponsored employee was prohibited from working for another employer. The changes to this aspect of the Qatar Labour Law allow foreign workers to switch jobs at the end of a fixed-term contract without having to leave the country for two years. This is a positive development for Qatar and makes the arrangements more aligned with the approach of the UAE and other GCC countries. 8
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HR ‘must adapt to technological change’
Opportunity abounds to demonstrate real strategic value, says report
Technology is the most powerful driver of change and presents HR with both threats and opportunities, according to a new report by Henley Business School and Oxford Strategic Consulting (OSC). HR with Purpose: Future Models of HR examines the likely changes and challenges in the socio-economic and
business environment over the next five to 10 years and how they might impact on the capabilities of the HR function. Areas of technology that are likely to become more prevalent include: people data management systems, social mobile applications, online opinion gathering and feedback, and artificial
intelligence and robotics. The key challenge is to exploit these trends proactively, but changes in technology and the way people engage with companies also present major opportunities for the HR function to demonstrate real strategic value, says the report. “HR will be increasingly impacted by technology, and
Facts at your ﬁngertips The latest CIPD research ﬁndings
Experience is everything when making decisions
Personal experience, the judgement of experienced colleagues and data, and facts and ﬁgures gathered from within a person’s organisation are the three most frequently used types of evidence by HR professionals when it comes to making decisions. The CIPD/Workday HR Outlook survey found that these sources were likely to be
considered of higher quality than others, such as insights provided by external experts, intuition and knowledge acquired through formal education. However, Laura Harrison, people and strategy director at the CIPD, urges caution: “Relying on this kind of evidence alone could prove problematic in terms of securing buy-in and credibility from colleagues, decision-makers and budget holders if it’s not backed up with more tangible evidence too.” ✶ bit.ly/CIPDDecisionMaking
A strong sense of professional identity can rebuild trust Increasing HR practitioners’ sense of professional identity could help to close the gap between ambition and practice when it comes to ethical decisions, according to the CIPD report HR professionalism: what do we stand for? While 69 per cent of those surveyed said they felt empowered to challenge decisions by senior leaders,
its own future will depend on its response,” says Gavin WalfordWright, senior director of talent acquisition and international mobility at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. “The basic work that HR does, and is mostly valued for – such as recruitment and administration – will be primarily carried out through AI and other smart technologies. As noted in the report, the strategic capabilities the organisation needs will have to be built and acquired through an interchangeable mix of human and technological resources.” Walford-Wright believes that if HR wants to remain strategically relevant in the future, “it must understand and embrace the use of advanced technology in HR delivery and take a strategic role in building capabilities by developing in-depth expertise in people and technology”. HR either needs to reskill or transform the function, but, with the pace of change and the onset of technology taking place arguably even faster than in other economies, the need to be proactive in adding real strategic value to the business will apply in the GCC even more than other parts of the world, says Professor William Scott-Jackson, chairman of OSC.
they also said they identiﬁed more strongly with their organisation than they did with their profession. One of the key attributes of being a professional is having standards that go beyond those of the company and feeling able to operate with the power to challenge organisations’ decisions when they violate ethical values, says the report. A stronger sense of professional identity is therefore crucial to building HR’s credibility, inﬂuence and impact on work and working lives. ✶ bit.ly/ProfIdentityreport
Big thinkers The latest round-up of inspiring ideas for HR professionals
HR needs to be more proactive when it comes to managing talent, argues Hasan Babat, managing consultant at Tuscan Consulting in Dubai. Writing for Gulf News, Babat says that given current global talent mobility and economic instability, “HR professionals can hold a much more dignified and critical position” in the boardroom. “The current HR focus on operational and transactional tasks needs a shift towards more strategic and transformational activities,” he adds. Human capital, not financial capital, is our scarcest resource, and HR plays a key part in making the most of it, says Eric Garton, partner at Bain & Company, in the Harvard Business Review. This can be done by helping business leaders develop effective organisational strategies to reduce losses in time, talent and energy. “Redefine ways of working, and build a working environment that thoughtfully balances the twin performance-enhancing goals of accountability and autonomy,” says Garton. Women should realise that authentic leadership isn’t about imitating men. “The charm lies in our differences,” says Lubna Qassim (pictured), executive vice president, group general counsel and company secretary at Emirates NBD. Discussing the lack of females at C-suite level, Qassim tells The National that women should create their
own networks and alliances inside and outside the organisation and should not be shy about speaking out: “If you are waiting for someone to come along and gift you a promotion, you will be waiting forever. So take charge.” Managers need to demonstrate ‘radical candor’ when giving guidance to employees if they are to achieve the results they desire, Kim Scott believes. “Radical candor happens when you care personally at the same time as you challenge directly,” she explains in her new book of the same name. “It demonstrates concern for the other person’s wellbeing, both their feelings and their long-term success.” The number 18 is important when it comes to identifying what it takes to be an effective leader, according to a study led by Professor John Antonakis of HEC Lausanne. It suggests that the optimal gap associated with ‘perceived’ leadership effectiveness does not exceed 18 IQ points so, for a group of ‘average’ intelligence (an IQ of 100), this means a leader whose IQ isn’t more than 118. “Being very smart can present difficulties for leaders,” says Antonakis. “Subordinates will struggle to follow their ideas or may find their speech too complex, preventing them from identifying with their leader or perceiving them as effective.”
Jumeirah Group, Dubai
“We’re not used to Emiratis waiting tables – but everyone has to start somewhere” How Jumeirah Group is attracting UAE nationals to the hospitality sector – and keeping them there with exceptional development opportunities
WORDS KIRSTY TUXFORD PHOTOGRAPHY AFP-SERVICES/MAHMOUD KHALED
here are plenty of eye-catching numbers surrounding Jumeirah Group, the Middle East’s globally renowned luxury hotel brand – whether it’s the 321 metres its flagship Burj Al Arab hotel protrudes into the Dubai skyline or the 15,000 people it has recruited over the past five years. But one of the most impressive concerns something less immediately obvious: 13 per cent of its employees are now UAE nationals. 10
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That’s strikingly unusual given hospitality has traditionally been seen as an unlikely industry for Emiratis to work in. Parent company Dubai Holding has set a mandate for Jumeirah to increase its UAE national workforce by 1 per cent annually – and the company says it is having no trouble meeting and exceeding this target. Jumeirah has invested heavily in Emiratisation given its pivotal position in the local economy, and also has the power of its name and reputation to help attract local talent. “It’s the most popular local
hotel brand,” says Azza Al Marzouqi, group director for national recruitment and development. “It’s a privilege to have Jumeirah on your CV and it’s a big boost to anyone’s career. We also offer packages that equal anything in the public sector, and employees have the opportunity to travel.” But the pull for nationals is more than just the brand and remuneration package; it’s all about training and leadership opportunities, says Al Marzouqi. Jumeirah has designed programmes specifically to attract nationals, most recently a Future Leaders Programme,
Case studies and 20 in the UAE have been selected for a new high-potential programme, for instance, with half of those graduating the scheme in Europe already moving into a new role. The way talent is managed has undergone huge changes since new CEO Stefan Leser joined the group in February 2016. “We are making sure we can invest in internal talent and have a clear idea about who to grow,” says Haggag. “It was always there, but it is now more integrated and connected to the business. We are using technology – a proper system for performance management, which allows us to identify talented people internally, plan for future vacancies and organise talent reviews. This wasn’t the case before; it was more ad hoc.” The firm is also placing social media at the heart of its recruitment strategy. “We want to become an employer of choice, and this year we have partnered with LinkedIn to ensure that Jumeirah will be featured to attract external talent. We used to have about 190,000 followers, and in three months it jumped to about 205,000. We are looking at new ways to connect with members, to show what we do and share the good stories that happen in the business,” says Haggag. A new e-recruitment system, he adds, will be available by the end of the year and will use an app to match candidates’ traits to Jumeirah’s culture and principles. Haggag believes technology has huge potential to enable HR and is especially impressed that the impetus comes from the top. “Whenever you share data with the CEO or executive committee members, they ask questions – they are involved,” he says. “I was pleased to see that, starting from our CEO, all performance reviews were completed within the time frame. That tells you something: this company is serious about giving feedback and evaluating performance.” But it doesn’t all have to be about the serious stuff. Jumeirah is enabling employee feedback on just about anything, and offers prizes for innovative ideas that offer better service or add value to the company. The latest suggestion is particularly ambitious – an open-air cinema at the top of the Burj Al Arab, a previously unused space. You’ll need a head for heights – but as an example of how committed the company is to listening to everyone, it will be hard to beat.
“Ifyou don’tknow whatpeoplein housekeeping do, you won’t be ableto manage thosepeople”
which gives managers and general managers three to five years’ exposure in on-the-job leadership training internationally. The first two graduates from an initial intake of 12 will complete their training next year and be placed into operational leadership roles. “They will be measured annually regarding performance and progression,”
Jumeirah Group Umm Suqeim
says Al Marzouqi (pictured right). “But we are measuring the programme, not the people – we want feedback from the business about the design of the programme. Once we are happy that it works, we will run it again.” Unusually, part of the training for UAE nationals involves them serving food in a hotel restaurant. “Culturally, we are not used to seeing this, but the candidates we have chosen are open-minded and even willing to work in housekeeping,” says Al Marzouqi. “What I’m seeing is very promising for the future. They have to start by doing these things because tomorrow they could be the director of housekeeping and, if they don’t know what an employee in housekeeping does, they won’t be able to manage that person effectively.” According to Al Marzouqi, there are plenty of candidates wanting to sign up, especially among the younger generation, and the gender split is roughly equal. Jumeirah also operates a National Graduate Management Programme, which offers around 30 candidates a year-long opportunity to experience different roles on the hospitality side of the business. “One of the challenges is the wages in hospitality, so we made it more attractive by offering a salary increment if candidates complete the first year.” But what Jumeirah calls ‘continuous growth and people focus’ extends beyond national programmes to motivate the entire workforce. “We emphasise the importance of feeling passionate about what you do and the service delivered,” says Hossam Haggag (main picture), VP for talent and leadership. “We are looking for our employees to be exceptional – doing the job is good, but what can you do to improve?” Self-development is key, he adds, and feedback is not only given on performance, but also on realising potential. Ten promising managers and assistant managers in Europe
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“We want to be an employer of choice” Al Naboodah Group Enterprises, Dubai
Al Naboodah doesn’t let its size cloud its focus or dilute its family values – but it has still needed to change with the times
Emma Seymour and Peter Collings have boosted engagement among employees
WORDS STUART MATTHEWS PHOTOGRAPHY SIDDARTH SIVA
onglomerates may have gone out of fashion in some quarters, but no one told Al Naboodah. From being Vietnam’s sole importer of HarleyDavidson motorcycles, to operating some of the Gulf’s most recognisable construction and automotive firms, across its 20 businesses the group houses the kind of diversified and profitable interests that made large family companies the bedrock of the Dubai economy. But scratch beneath the surface and it quickly reveals itself to be anything but typical. Founded in the 1950s by brothers Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah, the business has expanded from modest origins as a general trading company to a multi-faceted organisation with 16,000 staff, mostly in Dubai. And as the firm has grown, its structure has had to adapt, setting it off on a transformational journey. The company made several strategic decisions, led by chairman Abdullah Mohammed Juma Al Naboodah, to focus on ensuring longevity and sustainability. And a new holding company, Al Naboodah 12
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Al Naboodah AlAwir
Group Enterprises, was created as a vehicle for the change, says Peter Collings, group executive of human resources. The way HR itself has changed is typical of the way Al Naboodah has both centralised its operations and tried to deploy the right culture and values in highly disparate businesses. Where once each corner of the business had its own HR team, complete with its own processes, today an integrated and lean organisation is emerging around a collection of shared services that steward the company’s interests around the Gulf and the globe. “When you operate transactional shared services, it’s about driving efficiency,” says Collings. “We have already reduced headcount, and are focused on doing everything smarter, better and faster.” But savings are only part of the story. This approach has brought with it a new culture, says Collings: having gone from working in silos to being part of a collective, a team identity has emerged, bringing with it a stronger spirit and a higher level of internal customer service. “It’s also about being an employer of choice, and upping our game,” he says. “We want our
“HR needs to workwith our leadershipteam HR business partners working with tobemore our leadership team, being more strategic and adding more value. strategic and Then we can attract great people add morevalue” and get them working effectively.” Centres of excellence focusing on four key areas – nationalisation, compensation and benefits, recruitment and learning and development – are taking the changes further. It’s here that the firm’s dedication to a long-term view can be seen, as it invests in the development of its people through initiatives and training designed to improve engagement, skillsets and retention. “We have enhanced our terms and conditions,” says Emma Seymour, HR director. “For example, we have moved to a more generous holiday entitlement than the law requires, and have also improved our maternity leave offering, which is now up to a similar level to what the government provides. We really want to lead the way and make sure the HR team and the broader group are reflective of where the country wants to go.” With an employee attrition rate of 16 per cent for 2016, the benefits are already being felt. The group has also launched an
Emiratisation strategy to encourage more nationals into the company. Aiming to exceed the government-mandated target of filling 2 per cent of private sector roles with nationals, it targets specific positions where Emiratis can be brought into the company and includes an internship programme that sees 30-40 nationals at a time complete a three-month placement. The efforts to boost the profile of the business have been paying off. “We have seen a big increase in graduates who want to work here,” says Seymour. “We’re also focusing on areas like HR and marketing, and we’re looking at health and safety – anywhere we believe we are underrepresented with Emirati colleagues.” Learning and development has also become a focal point for the company, which now has more than 150 learning opportunities on offer to its staff. A matrix has been introduced to help employees see what skills they need for particular roles
within the new organisational structure, as well as the learning that is available to help them. This ranges from vocational skills training for construction staff to a specialist leadership development programme. No matter what their level, courses are certified and gradually being accredited. “We’ve identified key behavioural modules as well, so we’re not only assessing our staff on their technical competencies, we are encouraging a set of behaviours,” says Seymour. An employee survey was introduced to track the impact of the changes, producing encouraging results and useful feedback on its first outing. The company recorded a 95 per cent engagement score, while specific feedback resulted in long-service awards and employee recognition schemes being reintroduced. Results and feedback from the survey were published in the company’s debut sustainability report last year. While both Seymour and Collings acknowledge there is more to be done, it seems size is no barrier to evolving your culture. People Management Middle East
Is this the end of the charismatic leader?
In business, the biggest personalities often rise to the top. But does the modern world need a more consensual, friendly style? INTERVIEWS GEORGI GYTON
Gareth Prince Founding partner, The Castle Group Consultancy
If charisma is all you have, that’s not enough As a former officer in the British Army, you might think I’m biased on this topic. The common perception of an officer is one of charismatic leadership in severe situations, but I have found that this is increasingly not the case when you look past the officer you see in the movies. I believe that great leadership comes from a deep understanding of three key things: yourself, your
audience and your situation. The way you lead a team of technical experts in an office is unlikely to work for a company of infantry soldiers in Afghanistan or aid workers in rural Kenya, for example. I also don’t think truly great leaders are one type. They adapt as they must, to account for the other two variables. As we have evolved culturally, the workplace environment has come on leaps and bounds in diversity, both in terms of the workforce and its leaders. This increased diversity requires more complex and more adaptive leadership
styles, and, as such, I believe the age of the charismatic leader is dead. This approach is no longer seen as the only way to lead – by either the leaders or those being led. It is good news and exciting times for the truly dynamic leader who can achieve greater heights than their one-dimensional forebears could dream. There is a place for charismatic leadership in the modern workplace, but if that is the only string to your bow then it will no longer cut it.
Professor Raed Awamleh Dean, Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government
Transformational leadership is a type of charisma While charisma continues to captivate, it has its challenges in practice. Charismatic people are naturally interesting, and therefore others are often drawn to them – making them ideal for exercising influence. However, charisma is often centred around the leader and their own objectives and ideas, with limited engagement of followers. 14
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In the corporate world, we now talk about transformational leadership. This type of leader is concerned with developing ideas, building systems and empowering people. Charisma is still a component of transformational leadership, but it is complemented by other characteristics – mainly intellectual stimulation, individualised consideration and inspirational motivation. Conceptually, transformational leadership is an extension of charismatic leadership, making it ‘charisma 2.0’. These leaders
utilise the attention people give them to transform a situation into a better one. They focus on people development and organisational outcomes that are sustainable. It is not always easy to distinguish between these styles. Was Steve Jobs charismatic or transformational? Ultimately, leadership is a journey of selfdiscovery and self-awareness where the interactions between the leader and the ‘led’ are dynamic and two-way. As they try to transform others, leaders themselves are transformed in the process. Successful leaders are the ones who reflect, learn and change.
Tracy May Managing director, TPC Leadership
Larger-than-life leaders can hold back business growth The challenge in agreeing what ‘good’ leadership looks like is that it is not the same in a crisis as it is in a time of prosperity. History shows us that when our physiological or safety needs are threatened, we tend to look for strong, heroic leadership to offer us assurance of safety and security. In these circumstances, it is common to find followers voting for the ‘larger than life’ charismatic leader who promises to protect them from
their perceived threat – enter the Donald Trumps of the world. When times are good, the desirable leader is often one who appeals to our higher selves and offers us some kind of moral compass or the opportunity to become our ‘best’ selves. For organisations to grow, leaders need to raise leaders, not followers. Heroic leadership is risky as all the capability sits in the hands of the leader and perhaps a few trusty lieutenants. The vast majority of followers have little access to the halls of power, don’t know what is happening or why and believe in good faith that their interests
are being protected. The problem is that many employees may want this kind of leadership, especially those who originate from hierarchical and highcontext cultures, which favour a paternalistic leadership style. But it is not what businesses need to be sustainable. A transformational leadership approach enables leadership capability to be effectively transmitted to others and allows space for individuality and style differences. I believe this is the style of leadership needed to lead forward-looking firms – and the only leadership style that will truly appeal to millennials.
Nic Woodthorpe-Wright Managing director, WWA Corporate Coaching
Simple fixes just won’t work any more The business environment in the Middle East is still maturing, so the likelihood of people looking for charisma is higher because there hasn’t been another option. We have one style, which has been working, so there is a general feeling that we should stick with what we know. So is the age of the charismatic leader dead? Clearly not. But is it dying? That is a better
question. As society shifts, I think we will look less and less for the simplistic fixes that the charismatic leader tends to promise. They lead from the front and want people to follow them, but this means nobody is listening to what is really going on in the external environment. Frederic Laloux’s book Reinventing Organizations discusses how organisational development is shifting from a fairly ego-driven space to a more systemic wholeness approach. Within that system, the leadership style is not about ‘I’m in charge, follow me’, it’s about ‘we are all in charge and I have to assist in leading the organisation where
it needs to go’. We need leaders to listen – not just to the words, but to what’s really happening. They have to be able to put their ego to one side and be of deep service to the organisation. If you have a leader who can get people behind a clear, purposeful and heartfelt mission and then set them free around that mission, you are creating something very powerful. We have to understand that the world is changing and we have to adapt – and that means leadership has to adapt in all its forms.
People Management Middle East
NATIONALIS ISN’T JUST ABOUT As the spotlight falls on the private sector, an attractive pay packet won’t necessarily tempt locals into jobs WORDS STUART MATTHEWS
People Management Middle East
SATION THE NUMBERS People Management Middle East
SOURCE: UAE EMPLOYMENT REPORT, INSIGHTS FOR 2016, OXFORD STRATEGIC CONSULTING
Inside track UAE
54% 74% 30+ 54% 18
People Management Middle East
“The private sector would love to hire more Emiratis, but it doesn’t have access to them”
Inside track Qatar
Qataris who want to work in the public sector
Qataris who feel the private sector is very or extremely important for Qatari employment
Qataris who say helping the country and contributing to society is one of their top three motivations
Qataris who cite making their family proud as one of their top three motivations
Main issues Qatari nationals face when ﬁnding jobs: low pay (45%), no contacts (40%), not hearing about jobs (35%)
of helping young people understand the opportunities within local businesses and to get past the stereotype that it means working for a big multinational in an unfamiliar oﬃce environment. She perceives a huge opportunity for companies to hire local talent, but they also need to make sure young nationals have proper support, a mentor, a fulsome induction process and a clearly defined role and responsibilities. Crucial to the process is providing career path options and details of what needs to be achieved to traverse them. “How can you navigate the local market if you don’t have someone from it?” she says. “We need to make sure both sides of the equation have an understanding of the opportunity. There’s a value proposition for both sides, but more work is needed to bridge the gap between the two.” Academia has some catching up to do, particularly if it wants to make students more aware of the opportunities emerging within the new downstream industries being developed by the Gulf economies as part of long-term diversification drives. But it’s also about recognising what are attractive career paths for nationals. According to research
SOURCE: QATAR EMPLOYMENT REPORT, INSIGHTS FOR 2016, OXFORD STRATEGIC CONSULTING
across the GCC is more than double that of the overall unemployment rates. The problem is most acute in Saudi Arabia – a 2014 World Bank estimate put unemployment among Saudi 15 to 24-year-olds at 29.5 per cent – but all states bar Qatar are dealing with a double-digit dilemma. Add to this the region’s growing population – forecast to hit 53 million nationals and expatriates by 2020 – plus its distinct demographic youth bulge, and the pressure for GCC economies to create jobs becomes evident. As the public sector has less capacity to absorb the swelling numbers of available workers, governments are looking to the private sector for solutions. However, private sector firms have traditionally found it tough to encourage nationals into their ranks – so much so that many don’t bother trying. All too readily, the central challenge has been dismissed as a product of disparity. For early career employees, compensation and benefits in public sector jobs typically outpace what is available in the private sector. But to identify that as the singular cause misses the more nuanced diﬀerences national jobseekers see in the opportunities, as well as ignoring the factors that challenge both sides of the employment equation to do better. Emiratis who want to work in “A key challenge is access,” says the public sector Clare Woodcraft-Scott, CEO of the Emirates Foundation, whose Kafa’at programme delivers career Emiratis who feel the private development projects to young sector is very or extremely Emiratis. “When we talk to the important for Emirati private sector, they tell us they’d love employment to hire more young Emiratis, but they don’t have access to them. And Those aged over 30 are more when we talk to young Emiratis, likely than those aged under they often say they want to know 30 to want to work in the public more about what the private sector sector (60% vs 49%) is. There is a real gap between the understanding of young Emiratis Emiratis are signiﬁcantly about opportunities in the private more likely to want to work sector and misperceptions on behalf in administration than any of business on how to hire them.” other job role Woodcraft-Scott says there is still much to be done in terms
PORTRAITS AFP-SERVICES/MAHMOUD KHALED, NEZAR BALOUT
t’s early April and at the Dubai World Trade Centre, clusters of young Emiratis are trooping around Careers UAE – a fair designed to give them face time with companies looking to hire. Mobile devices and enthusiasm abound in equal measure as these nationals – mostly recent high school and university graduates – comb the event looking for a first foray into their country’s workforce, picking up branded bags and job hunting tips along the way. A diverse collection of 80-plus potential employers have lined up to meet them, including government organisations, statebacked enterprises and big brand names from the private sector. In a scene repeated at careers fairs, open days and recruitment drives around the GCC, a youthful and typically well-educated population is trying to find jobs that will set them on a rewarding career path. But despite keenness from employers and prospective employees, the numbers suggest not everyone is getting the result they want. Figures from the World Economic Forum study Rethinking Arab Employment suggest the percentage of youth who are unemployed
“Every morning we go out and motivate people”
by Oxford Strategic Consulting (OSC), despite considerable government investment, the UAE aerospace and manufacturing sectors are among the least favoured areas Attracting and retaining nationals means a scheme that reaches of employment, even through the region out to the community, supports recruits and nurtures careers has been gearing up for its just-launched National Space Programme. Aligning Sultan Khalifa bin Hayah Al Ali is training programme – and internally what people see as attractive employment both a product of RAKBANK’s managed training for new entrants. areas with the skills a country needs is an dedication to the nation it operates More senior team members may also important strategic consideration, suggests in and one of its greatest advocates. be able to participate in a OSC’s Professor William Scott-Jackson. As head of Emiratisation, the leadership programme run “GCC countries are planned economies 11-year veteran of the bank is at the by the Darden School of run from the top – it’s clear what the forefront of making nationalisation Business. Mentoring plays strategic capabilities are,” he says. “Saudi a reality and knows it is a a huge role, helping those Arabia’s Vision 2030 says it will become combination of many factors who are out of the education self-suﬃcient in military manufacturing, that draws in his fellow citizens. environment for the first which involves hundreds of thousands of “We go to colleges and time to adjust to the people being skilled at that, so we know that universities to [explain workplace and thrive. by 2030 Saudi Arabia will have all these to] young Emiratis why “We don’t want people to people working in [that sector]. But if we they can join the banking come and feel they are not Susan Gardner, are encouraging people to do degrees in sector, how it will groom taken care of,” says Suhaila director of group HR media studies or some other topics, not them and what Al Jesmi, RAKBANK’s deputy HR building toward strategic capabilities, then development [they can director. “Every morning we go and the education system needs to respond to expect] to enhance motivate them and see that and build the required capabilities their skills to they’re doing well.” – and that doesn’t happen.” become The bank’s success A closer look at the motivations and a future in this area saw it play preferences of nationals around the GCC Craig Austin: deep leader,” a pivotal role in the will quickly show that there is no onerelationships help he says. delivery of one of the size-fits-all approach. While it’s natural In what stands as a first initiatives to run for people to want to be paid as much as strong contrast to many through Dubai’s possible, OSC’s research has shown money is other parts of the private Government sector – where nationals Accelerator, where may struggle to spot a peer cross-sector teams or find a role model – Al Ali come together to and his colleagues put tackle key national themselves in the public eye challenges. A banking and to demonstrate what can be finance team, including achieved by working in the private RAKBANK, was assembled sector. Having held multiple roles to deliver 1,000 jobs for throughout his tenure, he is an Emiratis in 100 days. example of how the firm looks to The bank’s participation fill vacancies from within its own in the project – which ranks. “A person my age would resulted in 38 new not be where I am working in the starters in its own government sector,” he says. organisation – offered Transparent development planning a significant learning is key to how RAKBANK supports its opportunity, as head people, encouraging retention by of talent and learning making potential career paths Craig Austin explains: “It crystal clear. Training and showed the importance education bolster development, of developing a Sultan Khalifa which includes working with third deep relationship bin Hayah Al Al Suhaili Al Jesm i, i parties such as the Emirates with government to Khatri (right) ar and Aaesha Al e Institute for Banking and understand some of RAKBANK’s visible examples su Emiratis into th ccess in helping Financial Studies – with whom of the challenges e banking sect or the bank offers a graduate faced centrally.”
“A person my age would not be where I am working in the government sector”
People Management Middle East
NATIONALISATION Enthusiasm ab ou at careers fairs nds de to give nationa signed ls potential empl time with oyers
not the only motivator. Emiratis view flexible working hours and international assignments as other ways in which employers can attract nationals. In Saudi Arabia, helping the country and making their family proud are almost as important as compensation. And in Qatar, helping the country comes second to pay by just a single percentage point. The impact of patriotism is a cultural component perhaps underestimated by the private sector, as it is a significant influence. “It was considered a patriotic duty to work in the public sector, so that still lingers,” says Trevor McFarlane, managing editor of Emir Intelligence. “Because this generation coming through is the first to be exclusively encouraged to work in the private sector, there’s no tradition, so there’s a basic gap in knowledge and awareness. You can’t be what you don’t see.” Collaboration will be the key to further success, with greater engagement between private sector employers, educational institutes and policy-makers driving more
meaningful change. “Greater focus on graduate and training programmes will improve training and see more nationals going up the ladder, and all of a sudden we will have more role models and there will be some momentum,” says McFarlane. The progress national employees make in their careers is an emerging focus for quota systems still in play in regional labour markets. Once a simple numbers game, this supernumerary approach is being refined toward a deeper and broader understanding of what nationalisation means, shifting the focus from talent acquisition to development and engagement. “For policymakers, there is increasing recognition that the advantages of the old approach have already been banked and further developments need new approaches,” says David Jones, founder and CEO of The Talent Enterprise, a Dubai-based consultancy. These new approaches include Saudi Arabia’s weighted Nitaqat programme, which places an emphasis
“It was considered a patriotic duty to work in the public sector, so that still lingers”
People Management Middle East
Saudi nationals who want to work in the oil and gas sector
Saudis who cite helping the country and contributing to society as one of their top three motivations
Saudi nationals who say making their family proud is one of their top three motivations
Saudis who cite running their own business as their ideal future role, the most frequently selected option
Saudi nationals who feel the private sector is very or extremely important for their employment
SOURCE: SAUDI ARABIA EMPLOYMENT REPORT, INSIGHTS FOR 2016, OXFORD STRATEGIC CONSULTING
Inside track Saudi Arabia
“Nationalisation is built into our contracts”
on measuring the quality of employment nationals are engaged in, not just their sheer number. In the UAE, the introduction of an Emiratisation Partners Club grades Serco Middle East is offering roles with purpose – and that is companies on their nationalisation more effective for the bottom line than simply filling quotas performance in a similar manner to Nitaqat. Both oﬀer some benefits of flexibility and Purpose matters for nationals “Nationalisation is at the heart of premium services in return for enhanced entering the private sector our contracts,” says David Greer, levels of performance. Businesses able to workforce and Serco, which CEO of Serco Middle East. “In each respond to and work with these changes operates in ﬁve countries in the area, nationalisation is top of the may find themselves at an advantage in the Middle East, oﬀ ers purpose in agenda and built into the contract. future, especially if mandatory requirements spades. With projects spanning We see nationalisation as an increase. “The private sector is a new the aviation, defence, integrated opportunity, a strategic imperative frontier of nationalisation getting the most facilities services and transport – one that can make a diﬀerence to attention from policy-makers, and I think sectors, the company cares for, our business performance.” the important thing for HR professionals is operates and maintains high-proﬁle Greer says it’s not just about to really try to broaden their scorecard on and popular public services around setting targets, which can nationalisation,” says Jones. the region. sometimes miss the point, but The systems put in place in Saudi Arabia Delivering essential about a change of and the UAE are in part trying to address services to customers culture to one that the clusters of nationals that gathered in on behalf of governments, attracts, retains, certain sectors and areas of businesses, often semi-governments and motivates and develops causing career bottlenecks. These groups large private corporations national staﬀ. The create organisation profiles that Jones says has helped it attract and business beneﬁts by look like vertical dumbbells, where nationals retain nationals within its having a great team, but are present in executive positions and at ranks. Serco currently eﬀective nationalisation lower levels in administration and customer has more than 140 UAE also helps it stand out, service, but their numbers thin in middle nationals in its transport acting as a crucial management and more technical roles. division and more than 150 diﬀerentiator when There is also a sense that young nationals Saudi nationals in its facilities the business is being in particular need to be seeing more peers business. It also works closely with considered for new work, especially and role models within organisations in the Iraq and Bahrain governments, state-backed contracts. order for those places to become more training their respective nationals in While the company’s strategy attractive workplaces. This catch 22 air traﬃc control. provides the driving framework, it situation is exacerbated by the impression The nationalisation success also makes the small details count. young people get when they first enter an it has experienced is the result Greer hosts a daily walk-in meeting organisation. “The quote that sticks in mind of a systematic and known as ‘tea at three’, making is when many young people walk into the programmatic himself available to anyone to have workplace for the first time and they report approach a chat and a cuppa. These meetings that it feels like they are walking into Jurassic to a carefully have given him and the organisation Park,” says Jones. thought out critical insight into important cultural It’s a reaction Jones says comes from the diversity and subtleties and enabled rapid change fact these young people are asked to work inclusivity strategy, to address issues and retain staﬀ. with anachronistic intranet sites, handed which not only “Our approach to nationalisation old devices to use as smartphones and given takes into isn’t just about implementing a range limited or no access to the internet. “This is account the of development programmes that not how they’ve been able to be productive big picture are fundamental for nationals,” says in their studies or their social lives,” he says. aims of the Greer. “We are also looking at ways “The young population in the Ali el dh organisation, to build knowledge transfer, develop Fa o’s rc region are very tech savvy, they In 2016, Se ﬁrst Emirati but also takes robust inclusion practices and need to be able to use those tools become thequ c a BS l to alify with n of the time to ensure we have the right national na tio na that support their productivity e Institutio listen and talent to operate and manage our degree from th s and their contribution to the or Railway Operat respond to business for the future. Our ambition organisation. Let them work in a the needs is that, over time, nationals will run way that suits their strengths.” of the the Serco business in the Middle There are certainly many people it East. We have made progress, but initiatives in place for increasing the aﬀ ects. we can do so much more.” number of nationals in employment, but whether nationalisation is a magic bullet for the region’s workforce issues is more
“We want the right national talent to manage in the future”
People Management Middle East
29.5% Saudi Arabia
SOURCE: THE WORLD BANK, 2014
(% of total labour force aged 15-24)
heavily contested. A 2012 paper by Kasim Randeree, at the time a senior researcher at Saïd Business School and Kellogg College, University of Oxford – Workforce Nationalization in the Gulf Cooperation Council States – noted that much of the current literature on the topic focused on the causes and means of nationalisation schemes, with only a limited body of evidence existing to shape the success of such programmes. “Education, training, the transfer of knowledge from expatriate to citizen, better approaches to encouraging citizens into the private sector and the greater inclusion of women are all significant issues that need to be tackled to fulfil the desired goal of nationalising the labour force across all GCC states,” says Randeree. Arguably, the task will not be complete until there is no such thing as ‘nationalisation’ and the notion of expat and local workforces becomes irrelevant. But companies operating in the region have a chance to get ahead of the regulatory trends, engage more closely with their local communities and strive to attract local talent. Those that do so will be building a more sustainable talent pool for their operations and helping to make the most of the region’s most abundant natural resource: its people. 22
People Management Middle East
“We are investing in the next generation” The Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority sees nationalisation as central to business continuity As the COO of the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA), Eisa Abdulla wants to help build a successful organisation. In order to do that, he knows he will need access to a sustainable pool of talent who will be the organisation’s future team members and drive its progress. Nationalisation is central to achieving this, as it will bring stability and continuity to the regulatory authority’s operations. “Stability is one of the most important things and I look at nationalisation as a tool to bring business continuity,” says Abdulla. “You need to invest to feed the organisation with people who will stay and develop others to become a self-sustaining and self-operating organisation with nationals.”
Abdulla says it is important the organisation builds a platform to bring the right Qatari talent into the business, empowering them to succeed. “I don’t think of it as nationalisation,” he says. “I look at it as a professional succession plan where we are investing in people to grow, investing in the new generation and investing in talent – and in this case it happens to be Qataris.” It’s a process that starts with building awareness among the next generation about the variety of roles at QFCRA and how it will work with them to develop their capabilities. This includes engaging with universities and even two high schools to help get more information to the future talent pool. The authority also engages directly with the parents of potential recruits, who can be very inﬂuential when it comes to the career decision process. This reﬂects the importance Qataris place on making their family proud. A key attraction for prospective employees is a clearly laid out and structured plan for career development, known as Al Masar. The ﬁve-stage plan guides graduates through a clear pathway into leadership roles, or technical expertise, depending on what they want to pursue. The plan provides a guiding framework for potential progress, but is ﬂexible so it can be individualised. “We build the path, but how to accelerate is up to the individual,” says Abdulla. “It is done in a coaching style. We build the expectations of the individuals and what they need to do. We enable them but, at the end of the day, it is a personal development plan.”
“I don’t think of it as a form of nationalisation – it is more professional succession planning”
Eisa Abdulla sa ys structured care a development pl er way to attract an is a an talented natio d retain nals
How to build a team using coaching skills Why individuals hold the key to growth As teams grow in importance within our organisations, team-building skills become even more important. In the past, it was the assigned ‘team leader’ who was responsible for building the team – today, it is the responsibility of each member. The old adage: ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’ needs to be front and centre. Coaching skills are essential to building great teams, and there are a number of things you can instantly put into practice. Why not try these two: Listening vs talking Learn to spend time
really listening to your team, rather than just listening enough to formulate your
answer. Can you hear the emotion? Can you hear the values? What is their body language saying? What is the meaning of what they are saying?
Asking questions vs assuming you know You may be
very surprised by what you hear when you take a few minutes to ask the opinions of others – especially those with opinions contrary to yours – rather than shutting down your mind as soon as you disagree. Phrases such as: ‘Tell me more about that’ or ‘I am curious to know more about your thoughts on this’
open up the lines of communication. At the same time, opening your mind to other possibilities can often have very pleasing results. In our training programme, Coach ClinicTM – Coaching Skills for Leaders/ Managers, we invite coach managers to make a number of paradigm shifts. Why don’t you rate yourself on these shifts: where are you today? And where would you like to be? NOW Lattice
For further information, contact Benita Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
MAKING THE SHIFT FROM
Focusing only on results
Creating sustainable results and engaging employees
Controlling the employees’ actions
Empowering individuals to take better actions
Modelling a culture where employees fear the consequences
Creating a safe space for risk-taking
Focusing on weaknesses
Pointing out failure
Endorsing effort and growth
Reinforcing a ‘we/they’ culture
Optimising everyone’s styles and strengths
Solving all the problems
Helping others to solve and prevent problems
Listening to what employees are saying
Understanding what employees are meaning
Setting an expectation of long hours
Modelling a healthy work/life balance
Being the source of approval
Being the resource for collaboration and resolution
Benita Stafford-Smith Managing consultant – coaching at Takatuf Master certified coach and accredited coach supervisor
t s o m ortant
p im ng ur i yo h t
ﬀ a t s
ack, b g in th e m so g in iv or just g R S C it ll a c u o s y r e s Whethe s – e y t ri sin a l u u b p o p or n f i s g l n i o to oar s t e r n a e ves i t itm a i u t i r n c i le re b a d t i n r n December 2016, as Dubai was gearing a cha n up for the new year and workers across o i t the city were putting the finishing n e t e touches to the spectacular party that r l a would illuminate the sky in a matter t i v e of days, UAE President His Highness r ’ y Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan e h t made an announcement that at first d an generated relatively little fanfare. The 12 months ahead, he said, was to be
known as the ‘Year of Giving’, and would feature three distinct themes: encouraging
People Management Middle East
yea r this
social responsibility in the private sector, promoting the spirit of volunteerism and specialised voluntary programmes in all segments of society, and strengthening the concept of serving the nation among the younger generations. The effect has already been profound. The programme has acted as a catalyst for a huge number of initiatives, with 1,400 outlined across the seven Emirates, including everything from charity skydives and beach cleans to fully fledged humanitarian
programmes and pro-bono legal work. But it isn’t just about government and individuals doing their bit. UAE businesses – and many right across the GCC – are, in some cases for the first time, starting to take the value of community activities seriously. Not only are they the ‘right’ thing to do and offer benefits for corporate reputation, they strengthen employees’ bonds with the company and act as an excellent retention tool. In short, people want to work for businesses they feel care about their
communities, not just the bottom line. This is born out by a Bayt.com survey of more than 10,000 local employees, which found that 76 per cent want to work for a company that is socially responsible, and just under 90 per cent feel the corporate sector has a ‘moral responsibility’ to take part in corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. Around 90 per cent also prefer to buy products and services from a socially responsible business. Among the organisations responding favourably so far are petrochemicals giant People Management Middle East
Borouge, where 40 staff volunteered their time to visit autism centres across the Emirates and support children with lessons in arts, music, English and sport. Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has donated school buses and bicycles to poor countries to make it easier for children to get to school. Charitable foundations have also gotten involved, including the Dar Al Ber Society in Ajman, which has distributed almost 30,000 hygiene packages to local workers. Claire Donnelly, a Dubai-based former HR leader turned consultant, says people increasingly want to feel they are working for an organisation that can look outward and take responsibility for its community. “In a world of social media, we are no longer able to ignore humanitarian events of an entire that are happening company. around the world,” she One of the says. “Employees need more effective to know that their ways to create company cares and meaningful wants to help as much initiatives is as it can. to tap into staﬀ “Over the last few the workforce OSN used the skills of its ve iati when it launched an init years, all industries itself. ldren to teach Dubai schoolchi have been struggling to find and retain “Ask them!” ook e-b an ate cre to how talented employees while keeping a close says Donnelly. eye on the bottom line. The initiative by “Introduce a staff council and meet each the UAE is helping companies start to think month to discuss the topic, or set up a about how they can give back to good causes.” staff engagement survey specifically for the In the longer term, establishing a purpose. You will be surprised where some of business’s social and moral conscience could the best ideas come from. Include employees help in the all-important area of retaining from all levels, designations, age groups talent, she says. “In my experience, the and nationalities. Let them tell you their main challenge HR professionals have is ideas and act on them. Not all ‘giving back’ convincing top bosses that this is an area initiatives are extrinsic motivated; employees they need to focus on. CEOs and their are more likely to be motivated immediate reports are challenged to hit intrinsically. And if they can their company numbers, so any distraction get behind the idea, they are far that does not add to the bottom line is more likely to find it interesting a tough sell. HR professionals need to and enjoyable.” provide evidence on how ‘giving back’ Many companies have done initiatives save the company money. The just that – OSN, the directfact that motivated employees stay, reducing broadcast satellite provider, employee turnover, is one such argument.” is one example. “We believe The most successful initiatives are more change comes from within, than just philanthropy, although in this area which is why we start our Middle East businesses are among the most CSR journey together with generous in the world. The key (whether you our staff,” says people director call it CSR or just community work) is that John Ireland. “To inspire a culture of giving ideas should be generated organically rather within OSN, our employees share their than imposed and should utilise the unique knowledge, skills, hobbies and interests skills and services of an organisation rather through ‘Learn@Lunch’ sessions. We create than simply involving a donation of money a sense of purpose for our staff, provide or goods. them a platform for engagement and create The make-up of employees, however – in opportunities where every one of them will terms of age, nationality and remuneration benefit from our actions.” – poses a challenge to HR professionals to Ireland says that part of OSN’s mission roll out initiatives that catch the imagination is to be a business that cares about the
communities it operates in. “We acknowledge our role as one of the most well-known companies in the region and understand that our actions have an impact on our region and its people,” he says. One of many new initiatives rolled out was a pilot where content protection – a crucial part of OSN’s remit as a large media organisation – meets CSR. “We took a pilot to a local Dubai school where the children – including the daughter of an employee – created their own e-books and learned the value of owning their own copyrighted works. Given the success of the pilot, we are now looking to roll this out on a wider basis,” Ireland says. It’s not easy, of course, to create long-lasting and genuine CSR initiatives that might end up impacting on thousands of people from a centrally located HR team that often has more than enough on its plate. Some businesses are creating special community departments to handle the concept, but others are bridging the gaps with consultants and social enterprises such as Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3). Since its inception in 2012, it has focused on helping hundreds of social entrepreneurs in the Middle East become financially sustainable and demonstrated a positive impact on society by connecting them with expert volunteers. Founder and CEO Medea Nocentini says the Year of Giving has already led to a major uplift in interest in CSR. And she has some sage advice for businesses dipping their toes into community waters for the first time: “HR professionals should consider how they can connect their initiatives with their employees’ needs for meaning and accomplishment. For instance,
People Management Middle East
“Millennials needa clear sense of purpose– they wanttomake adifference”
Giving something back The HR community is at the heart of giving across the GCC – but it also has the chance to be a major beneﬁciary, thanks to a new partnership between CIPD Middle East and The Entertainer. The CIPD’s purpose is to ‘champion better work and working lives’, and the tie-up aims to promote better work-life integration. “We hope this partnership will encourage our members to go out and enjoy themselves more, perhaps join a gym to keep ﬁt, spend more quality time with friends and family or just enjoy a meal with colleagues,” says Matthew Mee (right), managing director of CIPD Middle East. The CIPD, together with The Entertainer, will provide VIP access to a selection of gyms, spas, restaurants, hotels and more to members across the GCC. A discount code will also be available to more than 14,000 HR professionals in the wider CIPD network; subscribe and ﬁnd out more at www.cipd.ae.
de The Entertainer has ma its health and ﬁtness part of to ﬀ sta ng agi our enc e, tur cul s participate in marathon
“The Entertainer immediately came to mind as a partner that can provide tangible beneﬁts to CIPD members right across the region,” says Mee. “And what’s also great is seeing how committed it is as an organisation to employee health and wellbeing and supporting the Year of Giving.” The Dubaiheadquartered ﬁrm is a well-known publisher of buy one, get one free oﬀers for restaurants, leisure attractions and hotels across the Middle East. But The Entertainer also has a history of looking after its local communities, having previously taken part in charity initiatives such as ‘Cricket for a Cause’, where its cricket team competed to raise money for Dubai Cares. According to Chantal Endemann, the company’s
head of HR: “CSR gives us all a chance, both the employees and The Entertainer, to contribute towards the society and world we live in. We all live for ourselves – this is human nature – but doing something for those in need is a diﬀerent feeling altogether.” The Entertainer’s dedication to CSR has been driven by its founder and chairman, Donna Benton (below), who has promoted the importance of health and ﬁtness and made it part of the business’s culture. “We encourage a healthy lifestyle and foster a positive, social environment in and out of the workplace. This culture is the foundation of our innovation and success,” says Endemann. The CIPD will also be participating in diﬀerent initiatives to give back during Ramadan, and will extend the opportunity to help and support others to its 3,000 members in the Middle East.
initiatives where volunteering is involved can increase employee engagement levels at work if the employee is empathetic to the initiative’s target group and if they expect to accomplish something from it. Targets could include improving a skills gap, a chance to network with senior management or an opportunity to apply for different roles in the organisation. “To give some examples from our own experience, we find that all nationalities and cultures come together when local and pressing social and environmental causes are at the heart of the programmes. We also find that employees engage with a programme, whatever level of experience they have in volunteering, when they can put their skills to good use. “The most successful initiatives are simple, have a clear mission and a straightforward message: education, healthcare and the environment seem to be very close to the hearts of organisations and individuals, while job creation and entrepreneurship are of interest to the local community. Anything that goes beyond typical CSR initiatives and allows a business to leverage its resources and those of its employees into a relevant social need will have that ‘feelgood factor’.” Donnelly agrees with that idea. Marathons and other charity runs, projects to build local nurseries or even simple beach cleans can empower employees and give them a sense of pride, she says. And Ireland says that one way companies can leverage their initiatives is by complementing them with the national visions of the counties where they operate: “We highly value the visions, ambitions and focus areas that have been identified by the regional governments, such as UAE Vision 2021, Dubai Plan 2030 and Saudi Vision 2030, and we will do our best to align our interests with these focus areas and also to positively contribute to achieving these targets and aspirations.” And the importance of companies giving back is only going to increase in the future. A common problem for many businesses, says Donnelly, is a communication gap between leaders and their younger team members, most of whom fall into the much-debated millennial generation. “One requirement millennials have is a clear sense of purpose; they want to be able to make a positive difference in the world – it is very important that companies harness this desire and engage with them,” she says. “The most precious thing for employees in the GCC is not money, it’s time,” adds Nocentini. “Throughout the years, we have always had more experts ready to help than social entrepreneurs in need of support.” People Management Middle East
Great leaders use common goals and mutual respect to bring people together WORDS GEORGI GYTON
orking with other people isn’t always a bed of roses. When individuals are brought together on the basis of their skills and personal attributes rather than their compatibility with each other, it’s no surprise when occasional tensions surface. And yet, in an age where individual expertise is less vital than the ability to collaborate across functions and borders, it’s never been more important to work together. So how do organisations make teamwork work? On one level, says change management expert and author Dr Sharoq Al Malki, the answer lies with local leaders. Those in charge of teams must have a management style that supports team-building: “The main criteria are trust, fairness, accountability and respect,” she says. Managers must put
People Management Middle East
themselves in employees’ shoes and make an effort to understand what motivates them. But this, she adds, is all too rare: while many executives may be technically proficient, they are not necessarily good at mitigating internal politics and smoothing out differences. An additional level of complexity in GCC countries comes from the sheer variety of nationalities in the average workplace, and the potential for people to have different outlooks, motivations and cultural reference points. Professor William Scott-Jackson, chairman of Oxford Strategic Consulting, says managers can help overcome basic language differences by using “clear, decisive instruction” rather than complex participative discussions. “As a general guide, listen to ideas and comments and then decide as a leader,” he says. But some of the more nuanced issues faced by cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary teams require deeper work. Research by The Economist Intelligence Unit found that 90
per cent of executives, in 68 countries, feel cross-cultural management is their biggest challenge. But unfamiliarity shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to success. Often the greatest sporting teams in the world are made up of players who speak different languages and come from very different cultures, but they come together to perform and work towards a shared goal under great leadership. A culture of respect can overcome most differences, says Scott-Jackson. “Conflict and disagreements are inevitable but they
Sports team are often made up of players who come from diﬀerent cultures and speak diﬀerent languages, but they work together to achieve a shared goal
should be dealt with carefully and with great tact,” he says. “For example, a team member might not be prepared to criticise or even query the leader’s decision in public, but would be happy to do so if given the chance to express a view privately.” The right common cause is crucial here. “When you have a team made up of people from different backgrounds, cultures and experiences, the distinctive word is ‘different’,” says Dr Tommy Weir, speaker, adviser and author on innovative leadership. Rather than focusing on what’s unique about each other, or how to manage the host of differences, you need to bond the team around a goal, he says. “Think of a sports team. Everyone knows the goal – score more points than the other team. Each person has a role to play, but it doesn’t matter how well you play individually if the team doesn’t win. “What’s missing in the corporate world of individual KPIs is the common goal, beating
the external competitor, winning market share. If you want to build your team, have everyone work for a mega-goal.” Lori Brewer Collins, owner and managing principal of Artemis Leadership Group, says culturally diverse teams are increasingly the glue that joins the globe-spanning operations of large, multinational organisations. At their best, they “outperform traditional teams in the areas of innovating, understanding diverse markets, meeting customer needs and aligning multiple organisational interests”, she says. At worst, they can be expensive, unproductive hotbeds of frustration, low morale and finger-pointing. But there are ways to build more effective teams, she says – and it’s best to start as early on in the life of the team as possible, clarifying collective expectations and norms from the outset. The best teams she has worked with highlighted the payoff of working through and agreeing norms during the initial team-building phase. “These norms help to provide a common language that crosses the various cultures and backgrounds and gives each member a clear anchor of reference,” she says.
Other recommendations include making the effort to understand cultural complexities. It’s important that team leaders develop a global mindset that helps them know how to best involve people from different cultures, adds Brewer Collins. But at the same time, it’s essential to “keep in mind that individuals may not necessarily fit their cultural stereotype”. Ultimately, says Al Malki, anyone who wants to bring people together to create a common culture – whether it’s HR professionals or a manager – will only succeed with buy-in from the top. “Once this support is there, the key element for building team spirit will be communication, which can be done in various ways,” she adds. These include: changing the layout of the office to facilitate conversations; investing in intranets or other forms of internal networking; hosting events throughout the year, such as town hall meetings or family days; using the corridors and walls of the office to communicate the organisation’s key principles; and encouraging executives to communicate face to face with staff. Cohesion in the workplace can be fostered by the promotion of an active social life inside and outside the office, adds Francesco Pavoni, head of the MENA region at PA Consulting Group. “That could mean organising an after-work dinner or a weekend activity for employees,” he says. “For us, a crucial part of the recruitment process is ensuring that employees have mental and cultural flexibility.” Get that right and pretty much any group of individuals can become world-beaters.
“Thecorporate world ofKPIs ismissing the commongoal – beating the competition”
People Management Middle East
Your quarterly run-through of essential skills, with expert commentary
WORDS KIRSTY TUXFORD
Conduct a strengthsbased interview The interview process doesn’t always result in the most appropriate candidate being chosen for a role. Even if their skills and experience match the position, you could still end up with their resignation letter on your desk a few months later, leaving HR with the expensive and time-consuming task of finding a replacement. Better interviews, say the experts, can go a long way to solving these woes. Strengths-based interviews (SBIs), which have their origins in positive psychology, are thought to be particularly effective in identifying where passion and competence converge to create value. Whereas traditional competency-based interviews aim to assess what a candidate can do, a strengths-based interview looks at what they enjoy doing and have a natural aptitude for. After all, goes the thinking, if an employee enjoys a task, that leads to a shift in consciousness known as ‘flow’, which results in complete engrossment in the task and a higher level of performance. Neha Mohunta, senior consultant at Aon Hewitt, believes HR should use the SBI technique to test for best fit, particularly in white-collar roles. She points out that for graduates – who often have a limited track record in the workplace – this technique offers a good way to evaluate potential. 30
People Management Middle East
“SBIs seek to identify what energises and motivates the employee,” she says. “If this closely matches the culture of the organisation it is a win-win situation. And the process itself is interactive, relaxed and engaging. The candidate is likely to discover more about their own personality as part of the interview process, which makes rejection – when faced – easier.” An SBI will feel more personal, and allow the interviewer to get a feel for who the interviewee actually is. This environment stimulates the candidate to be more natural and talk easily about what motivates them. Questions could include: what kind of situations are you likely to excel in? What tasks do you find most engaging? And: can you describe in detail an
Four of the strangest interview questions
Employee review site Glassdoor regularly compiles lists of the most confusing questions asked in job interviews. Here are some of its favourites: If you had only 24 hours left on Earth, how would you spend them?
How many basketballs would ﬁt in this room?
Which magic power would you like to have?
What was the last thing you Googled?
example of where you feel you performed your best in the role? A candidate cannot prepare for an SBI by cramming facts and figures beforehand, nor can they pull the wool over an interviewer’s eyes by giving ‘expected’ answers. “However, if the candidates know the likely behaviours and traits that are necessary to define success in the position, they can prepare in advance by recalling examples of how they demonstrate similar capabilities,” says Mohunta. “For the experienced Neha Mohunta: SBIs hire, it helps help identify what understand what drives drives the individual them and where they can achieve mastery. It easily distinguishes employees who will naturally enjoy the role and are likely to push the frontier from those just performing tasks.” A good example is Google, where the interviewer spends 20 per cent of their time pursuing topics the candidate is most interested in. “The SBI is likely to highlight such preferences upfront. It is a great way to drive innovation and creativity at work,” says Mohunta. Interviewers should be aware that to gain maximum value from such interviews, it is critical to match the identified strengths with the competencies required for the role, otherwise the process may be engaging but the relevance and outcome could be low. The SBI should be supplemented with additional tools to enhance predictive outcomes, especially to evaluate technical competence.
distribution, human capital and benefits at Al Futtaim Willis Co. Taking care of employees’ physical health is intrinsic to their wider wellbeing and productivity. Instead of opting for the minimum level of medical cover, companies should look There’s no shortage of bad press about at how they can give improved the working environment for migrant accessibility to better-quality clinics blue-collar workers in the GCC. And and hospitals by paying a bit more. “It’s while some of this may be exaggerated relatively inexpensive to do this,” says or misunderstood, it’s often a challenge MacLaren. “Companies should also for HR to ensure migrant employees’ look at their percentage for attrition wellbeing is a key consideration and try to reduce it – then show – and to get the message across the savings. that attending to their “Spending just 50 per cent motivation is not just the right more on medical insurance gives thing to do, but good business a far better return than the cost sense too. of losing employees. Improving Turnover can be the key to people’s health and this conversation, say experts. making them happy Steve MacLaren: Migrant workers can be seen employers will beneﬁt from makes them more a happy migrant workforce efficient at work.” as expendable by some business leaders, but a high turnover is The next stage is expensive and needless. Businesses that behavioural change. “A lot of migrant go beyond the legal minimum normally workers are not educated enough to save money in the long run. know about health and safety – for “People think ‘I’ll just get another example, why it’s important for them to employee’ but attrition needs to be wash their hands, or why they should tracked, so that HR can inform the drink enough water,” says MacLaren. finance department, board and CEO He believes there is a good argument that the cost of hiring a person is ‘X’,” for HR to employ coaches for migrant says Steve MacLaren, regional head of workers. “The majority won’t have
Migrant workers make up 80 per cent of the population in Qatar and the UAE
Migration in numbers 95%
In constructio Gulf states, m n and domestic work in th than 95 per ceigrant workers make up me ore nt of the workf orce
SOURCE: INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION
Motivate a blue-collar migrant workforce
The Arab states hosted 17.8 million migrant workers in 2013, with the majority from Asia and a sizeable number coming from Africa, especially Egypt
Migrant workers make up the majority of the population in Bahrain and Oman, and more than 80 per cent of the population in Qatar and the UAE
Migrants in the six Gulf states account for more than 10 per cent of all migrants globally, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE host respectively the fourth and ﬁfth largest migrant populations in the world
emails, so the best way to do it would be face to face,” he adds. Motivating blue-collar migrant workers can prove difficult because of a lack of career aspiration or the simple fact that there is no progression on offer. However, for a minimal investment it is possible to show workers they are cared for, argues MacLaren. This could be done by having a Tagalog, Hindi or Urdu-speaking mentor educating and motivating workers about how to look after themselves. Employers could also consider diet or exercise as easy wins. “Maybe we should try to change food to ensure employees are getting a healthy, balanced diet,” suggests MacLaren. “This wouldn’t involve a huge cost, but most employers will not take that spend on board. I don’t know of any company that has looked at that for blue-collar workers. “It would be beneficial to have a happy migrant workforce. Employers could put a wellness or happiness committee together, which is very appropriate in Dubai given there’s now a minister of happiness.” People Management Middle East
Introduce an internal social network
People Management Middle East
With predictions that half of the global workforce in 2020 will be millennials, Workplace by Facebook has a huge audience
“Wemust be realisticand creativewith how we reach out and communicate withemployees”
“We encourage happy and useful posts, alongside well thought-out feedback on matters that directly influence employees’ lives – for instance, feedback on the free laundry service, accommodation or staff restaurants. And we constantly reinforce messages about industry awards we win, and the various events and sporting competitions that are organised for employees.” Social media has to operate as a two-way communication platform to be
The end of email?
It’s claimed internal social networks will end our reliance on email to speak to colleagues. But that doesn’t seem the case just yet: 46%
46% of employees regularly use email to communicate with co-workers
10% send more than 50 emails every day
30% of staﬀ would rather talk to someone directly than use email
effective – employees need to be able to voice their opinions as well as receive information, and companies must ensure the messages they broadcast are appropriate for the medium. But how much control should be exercised over an internal social media platform? Too much and you appear controlling; too little and you risk conversations spiralling out of control. “Not all messages that are posted by colleagues are positive,” warns Moss. “But one way of filtering negative and destructive messages is to use the function that allows the administrators to pre-approve a post before it appears live.” Negative sentiment isn’t ignored, however, he says, but instead of being posted live, the employee will receive a detailed, private response from the HR team. “This works very well for us, because it still allows colleagues to express themselves freely and receive a response to their query or suggestion. By operating this way, we encourage two-way communication in a controlled and orderly manner that is not detrimental to the organisation.”
The way people communicate has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. Employees spend an increasing amount of time on social media networks, and tend to speak to their colleagues via email or instant messaging apps more than face to face or over the phone. Why wouldn’t workplaces want to follow suit? The recent introduction of Workplace by Facebook – as the name suggests, a version of Facebook for the workplace – is the latest step in a trend that began with the likes of Yammer and Salesforce. These networks help people talk in the office by offering chat facilities, but they can also facilitate access to shared documents Gerard Moss: social and act as ways to media enables us to gather staﬀ feedback ‘broadcast’ corporate news. Gerard Moss, senior vice-president of HR at Atlantis The Palm, points out that, by 2020, nearly half the workforce will be millennials – “and let’s face it, they practically live on social media platforms”. The hotel uses Facebook in the workplace, because it is easily accessible, popular, user-friendly and adaptable, says Moss. “Because only a fraction of colleagues have access to work email, we must be realistic and creative with how we reach out and communicate with employees of different age groups and from 82 countries,” he says. “We aim to ensure that our 3,200 colleagues are kept well-informed on happenings that concern them in an instantaneous manner – quick and relevant information increases happiness and ultimately retention.
Make ethical people-related decisions
there’s no HR/business divide In the Middle East, questioning here. The business leaders it surveyed the decisions of those in authority want to do the right thing as much brings its own issues. At the Middle as HR practitioners do, but the same East Ethics & Compliance Summit research demonstrates a worrying gap in 2016, hosted by Parsons and between ambition and practice. Ethisphere, a roundtable participant HR professionals should pointed out: “When you do business “Who’s the conscience of your hold themselves to a standard, in the UAE you realise how organisation? Where’s its moral says Harrison. “This means important it is to understand compass? Does it have one? Does it need not only that you’ve acquired the nuance of culture and one?” asks the CIPD’s director of people relevant knowledge – there’s a relationships. You have and strategy, Laura Harrison. lot to learn about human beings to figure out how These may seem like esoteric and businesses, neither of which to be respectful and questions, but they are increasingly are particularly straightforward faithful to those relationships, crucial. When scandals such as the VW – but that you keep it up to date while not compromising diesel episode become public, the ethical and you abide by a code of ethics Laura Harrison: a global standard professionalism and finger is pointed at those employees who that places the esteem of your of ethics and business ethics are bedfellows initially buried their heads in the sand, profession and your behaviour, practice.” or who got caught up in unethical as being a worthy recipient But knowing when behaviour, allowing it to perpetuate. of that esteem, at its centre,” she says. you’ve made the right decision isn’t as An early failure to apply wider ethical “Let’s move on from the idea complicated as many think. Studies thinking to business decisions can lead that ‘HR is common sense’ or show most people are more considerate to massive reputational damage. ‘anyone can have a go’, to pride in in their decision-making when they But is HR responsible our profession, are at home. At work, we become for being the ‘conscience’ in its role compliant robots. Corporate of an organisation? “These in championing philosopher Professor Roger Steare questions tend to divide better work put 130,000 individuals through opinion in our profession,” and working an online test to assess which factors Staﬀ in GCC businesses believe ethics are being taken seriously, says Harrison. “Some lives, and in come into play when they make according to PwC’s Middle East argue that it’s HR’s role delivering social decisions, and concluded that, for Economic Crime Survey 2016. Ethical behaviour is part of HR to develop and nurture and economic people to make more ethical decisions procedures, according to 77 healthy cultures and benefits that are in the office, they should remember per cent, while 74 per cent said to alert leadership wider than shortto bring their innate sense of their senior leaders “convey the importance of ethical business colleagues or term organisation humanity to work. conduct in all that they do”. Almost decision-makers about goals.” ✶ Read more at bit.ly/CIPDethicaldecisions two-thirds are trained in ethical ‘bad apples’. Others claim behaviour. But the survey also hints at the challenges businesses face: that everyone owns the 33 per cent of employees expect to culture. It’s everyone’s encounter bribery and corruption in the next two years, compared to accountability – and 24 per cent globally. therefore, troublingly, nobody’s – and HR’s role is to deliver the business strategy within the system.” It’s too easy for some departments to turn a blind eye to unethical behaviour, which is why HR needs to step up and take broader responsibility for ethics. “It’s interesting that as a profession we seem uncomfortable with talking about ethics. Surely ethics and Accountancy giant Enron suﬀered a huge ethical professionalism are intimate failure that resulted in its bedfellows?” says Harrison. collapse and saw CEO The CIPD’s Perspectives on ethical Jeﬀ Skilling jailed workplace decision-making report shows
People Management Middle East
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Not getting enough sleep can seriously impair your leadership capabilities
In a recent study conducted in the UAE, 76 per cent of respondents reported sleeping between five and eight hours per night – with a staggering 13 per cent achieving less than five. This is despite the USbased National Sleep Foundation recommending between seven and nine hours of sleep per night for adults aged 18-64. There is a significant and growing body of evidence demonstrating that poor sleep, particularly chronic sleep deprivation of less than six hours per night, leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes – not to mention the impact on your performance at work. Busy professionals often experience many pressures that may impede their ability to obtain optimal amounts of sleep, such as different shift patterns, working across different timezones simultaneously and international travel. In the Middle East, lack of exercise and poorly controlled bedroom temperature
34 People Management Middle East
may be particularly pertinent. In encourages long hours based on the addition, the use of artificial lighting assumption that longer hours create and hand-held technologies at night, greater productivity? ever-increasing pressure to perform – Not all behaviour is affected by poor and, perhaps more importantly given the sleep. Logical, deductive and critical reasoning – the types of skills and increase in presenteeism, the pressure abilities measured in a traditional to be seen to perform – and the IQ test – are oft en relatively lengthening of the working day often unimpaired, even aft er long all make the challenge of getting after periods of sleeplessness. optimal sleep more difficult. Even for those who are getting However, leadership skills more than six hours per night, and competencies, known it is important to note that it as ‘executive functions’, are takes relatively little sleep loss highly susceptible to even to lead to a range of cognitive relatively minor sleep loss, and and behavioural changes comprehending and VickiCulpin include: that will directly impinge coping with a rapidly changing Professor of on an individual’s ability to environment; multi-tasking; organisational effectively carry out their role. producing innovative solutions behaviour, Ashridge Executive Education to problems; assessing risk Indeed, research shows at Hult International that a reduction in sleep of and anticipating the range Business School only 1.5 hours per night for of consequences of an one night alone can result action; controlling inhibited in a decrease in daytime alertness behaviour; communication skills; and of 32 per cent. As a leader, are you decision-making involving complex creating a work environment that and creative ideas. Recent research has also shown that poor sleep impacts on organisational Even minor sleep loss can behaviours with an increase in aﬀect executive functions ‘cyber loafing’, a reduction in ethical such as multi-tasking decision-making, an increase in argumentativeness, and a reduction in leadership ‘charisma’. Particularly now, during these turbulent times, ‘executive functioning’ is paramount. Individuals are being asked to work with high levels of uncertainty, to consider the bigger picture and to anticipate risks and opportunities in a way that is unprecedented. Unfortunately, it is also a time when increased stress and job pressures may lead to a reduction in sleep quality and quantity – a sacrifice that individuals cannot afford to make.
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