CHRO Talks: Compassion in the Workplace

March 8, 2024 hr-hrobserver-saraboueri-women-iwd

Throughout her career, Sara Boueri was able to help link between people and culture that eventually drove organisational  growth.

Currently, Sara serves as the Chief Human Resources Officer at CAFU Petroleum. She is responsible for all aspects of the company’s people, culture, and the employee experience.

Through her work, she has advocated for the importance of holding space for employees within their time of need, building compassion without trying to solve their problems.

“The little things that we often forget to do as HR leaders because we’re blinded by the urgency of operations,”she previously wrote on LinkedIn.  

Sara won multiple awards throughout her career, such as: The Economic Times’s Future Forward Middle East in 2023, Top 20 HR Leaders in the Middle East by peopleHum in 2021, HR Leadership, Innovation and Vision from the World Travel & Tourism Council in 2021 and Woman Leader of the Year by GCC Gov. Award in 2022.

In this interview, Sara talks to The HR Observer about the significance of compassion in HR practices, defining the term and what role it plays in the CHRO daily interactions. She has previously spoken to The HR Observer about how to hold leaders accountable.

As Chief Human Resources Officer, how do you define compassion within the workplace?

Compassion, in my opinion, is the art of working in colour. We have a lot of black and white things in HR, such as policies, procedures, etc. Humans, the customers we serve, are not black and white, they’re colorful and vibrant. Compassion is adding color to the black and white, and making sure that we don’t operate like robots, but that we look at the context (color) of the situation before we make decisions.

What role does compassion play within your role and relationship with employees?

My role with employees is influenced by decency, not compassion. I always try to do the decent thing, because decency is tangible and actionable. Compassion is more theoretical. Employees care about action more than compassion.

What regulations or employment laws must be amended to help increase compassion within the workplace?

Compassion is quite subjective, and subjectivity doesn’t mix well with the law. The law is black and white. If there were a stricter penalty on companies for the unfair treatment of workers, that would be a good starting point.

How do you enable trust in your employees towards the organisation?

The best way to increase trust in a big organization is to not entertain hearsay and gossip. When employees see that there is no room for gossip, they waste less time competing and more time collaborating.

What would you like more CHRO’s to do in today’s world?
I would like them to ask their customers what they need, rather than assume they know best and implement strategies in a top down manner.

Editor’s Note: This year, The HR Observer celebrates International Women’s Day by rolling out different perspectives on how to empower women.


The HR Observer

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