Fatima Abdulrahman

  • Chief Human Resources Officer

  • Tanfeeth


Fatima will be speaking at ATD Middle East Conference and Exhibition, held in Dubai in June 2020. She will address how to navigate change – transforming mindsets and develop capability to deliver value through adopting creative engagement techniques that influence change and develop capability, developing an adaptive learning culture that equips people for a rapidly changing world, cultivating a learning mindset for line managers through coaching and mentoring and putting the learner back in learning: motivating employees to take ownership and be accountable for their own learning.

An Interview with Fatima

During this challenging time we realize that effective communication is more important than ever and must be done on a regular basis. We have found multiple ways to keep our staff up to date and informed on what is happening which has also forced us to think outside the box and get creative with our communication platforms. Below are a few of the communications channels we are using to ensure we reach all staff; those working from home, those working from remote sites and those who are still at the office.

  • We are ensuring that managers are staying in regular touch with their teams and conducting virtual huddles using the technology we have available to us.
  • Senior leaders and Executive Committee members are communicating and sending update memos on an organizational level to all staff to keep everyone updated and in the loop.
  • Our HR team have built a Microsite which employees can visit to learn the latest news and stay updated.
  • We are highly circulating content on our Social Media channels as this is a quick win and reaches all staff no matter where they are.
  • We have set up a Helpdesk number which staff can call to have all their queries answered.
  • Our HR team have created FAQ’s for staff and managers to ensure all queries can be answered in a consistent manner.
  • Our Learning and Development team created an online training module on COVID-19 awareness which was made mandatory for all staff.

Ensuring our teams are collaborating and communicating with each other during these difficult times can be challenging since we are not all physically together, however we have implemented the below actions to ensure that collaboration and team work does not stop.

  • Tips for working from home have been shared with our staff to encourage a healthy routine.
  • We have created an online training module to educate staff on best practices of remote working to ensure we work together in the best way possible while being apart.
  • Employees are encouraged to use technology such as Skype so that team mates can see each other and keep in touch.
  • Managers are ensuring to assign new/continued work through group projects to ensure collaboration and communication amongst teams.

Any type of training is highly dependent on people coming together, teaching each other and learning from one another. Since this is no longer possible due to the current circumstances, our Learning and Development team have taken on the challenge and come up with creative ways to ensure the learning never stops at Tanfeeth.

  • We have learnt the importance of being agile and innovative in finding alternative methods to classroom learning and ensuring the dissemination of critical learning and business updates.
  • We have become strategic partners to our business in order to proactively explain how L&D can support during this time. Whether it be the need of cross skilling employees, creating online modules/content, training & sharing learning updates via Skype or motivating employees to keep learning via communication campaigns. All business departments have different requirements and focus areas and the key is to cater and tweak their needs to suit these changing times.
  • A few members of the L&D team have been trained and are currently performing operational activities to support our business due to sudden volumes and/or shortage of staff in some areas. E.g A few trainers are now taking calls and assisting in Call Center Economic Relief calls.
  • Now is also a time to upskill team members on new skills and create content for programs post crises.

One of our 5 values at Tanfeeth is ‘We Own It’ which is all about encouraging staff to be accountable and take ownership in their work responsibilities – training is no exception in this matter and below are the ways we ensure our employees are motivated and eager to learn.

  • Communication is key: Communicate and educate employees on how they can indeed take ownership of learnings by providing clear direction and learning paths with recommended online courses with appealing benefits; what’s in it for me?
  • We have created an Associate Learning Playbook & Manager Learning Playbook; with a range of topics/courses that align with our organizational competencies & skills. The Courses identified and shortlisted have been highly rated by global companies such as Google & also align with global themes and learning trends.
  • For certain business units and/or job roles; we have created a learning path to support & elevate the skills required for the role.
  • We are looking to mandate a set number of learning courses per month to drive employees and hold them accountable of their learning journey. The data will then be shared with business managers to further drive on weekly basis. Learning scores will also be tied to employees KPI’s.
  • We have identified batches of High Potential Employees (Hi-Po’s) who have access to exclusive training programs and therefore have the chance to take charge of their own professional development. We have also communicated specific learning paths to these chosen employees which consist of online modules which match the competencies that they have identified to work on as a development plan.

Continuous learning is vital for any organization to grow and keep up with current global trends and best practices. Below are the ways we ensure continuous learning is happening and at the forefront of our managers and employees minds.

  • Our L&D team have initiated a 1-month campaign with weekly teasers & communications (e-mail & social media) to encourage continuous learning as employees work from home to develop themselves and learn new core skills.
  • Management play a key role in re-iterating L&D’s message & campaigns to continuous learning and motivating employees to do so. Managers need to check in to ensure employees are utilizing their time working from home effectively by learning new concepts and skills or sharpening existing skills with best practices.
  • We are planning to launch ‘Training Tuesdays’ where staff are encourages to dedicate 2 hours mid-week to learning on our online platforms. We are recommending business teams follow through with a team skype call to discuss lessons learnt and how the new concepts and skills can be applied in the workplace.
  • A different campaign approach we are also looking at for associates is ‘20 minutes of learning for 20 days’ as a learning challenge – this can be done for associates as their learning content and modules can be completed in a shorted amount of time.
  • We plan to publish ‘top trending’ courses and top learners to further promote learning with testimonials and quotes via posters, e-mailers, and social media.
  • Learning KPIs need to also be tracked digitally so employees have a drive to learn.

We have created the Future Workforce Playbook with top emerging skills needed for the future of work taken from Forbes, McKinsey and other research sites. Future skills are also based on organizational strategy and numerous interviews done with senior management to gather their inputs. Accordingly, we have created the playbook with clear skills and paths so employees can take charge of their learning and start preparing for the future.

This is a time for people to upskill themselves and prepare for an agile business industry and we therefore want our employees to be confident that we are here and ready to help them face the rapidly changing world we live in.

About Fatima Abdulrahman Al Awadhi:

Fatima Abdulrahman Al Awadhi is the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at Tanfeeth, a subsidiary of Emirates NBD. In her current role, Fatima is responsible for leading Tanfeeth’s overall human resource strategy in areas of leadership and development, diversity and inclusion, compensation and benefits, communications and employee relations. As CHRO, she has changed the function, culture, and impact of HR across Tanfeeth to support its business goals and strategies.

Fatima has been with Emirates NBD Group for 10+ years working cross-functionally in areas of Retail, Credit, and Human Resources for the bank. She graduated from Dubai Women’s College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources and an Executive MBA degree from HULT International Business School.
Fatima is very passionate about diversity and inclusion. She leads a team focused on developing and implementing strategies specifically in recruiting, developing, and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce with Tanfeeth being a leading organization in hiring People with Determination in the UAE. In 2019, Fatima was also announced as the Vice Chairperson of the EIBFS Women Empowerment Committee in the banking sector. In the future, Fatima wishes to become a philanthropist.