HR Leader In Focus: Dr. Ebrahim Al Khajeh

October 19, 2023

Every once in a while, a true visionary emerges from the ranks who not only excels in their duties, but also redefines the boundaries of what HR can achieve. Dr. Ebrahim Al Khajeh, the Human Resources Division Director at Abu Dhabi Customs and the author of “How to Hack Your Mind,” is undoubtedly one such pioneering leader.

Dr. Ebrahim’s journey in Human Resources is marked by his exceptional leadership and remarkable achievements. His contributions have earned him recognition from prestigious award bodies, including the HR Icons Award for “Most Influential HR Leader & Influencer in the Middle East” in 2023, the Economic Times HR World (ETHR World) Award in 2022, and the DT100 – Top Technology Leaders in the UAE Award in 2023. These awards are evidence of the profound impact he has had on HR practices, not just in the UAE but also on the global stage.

Dr. Ebrahim unique approach to HR is characterized by his futuristic foresight of the workplace. He is not content with merely addressing the challenges of today; but envisions and builds the HR of tomorrow. His commitment to excellence, innovative visionary approach, and relentless pursuit of leveraging technology in the workplace has set him apart as an influential leader. 

At the heart of Abu Dhabi Customs transformative journey is the introduction of digital transformation. A modern Human Capital methodology, with the goal of unlocking untapped potential, redesigning workplaces, optimizing productivity, and reducing workloads has been deployed. The result has been nothing short of groundbreaking. Abu Dhabi Customs has become the benchmark for advanced HR practices and digital transformation across not only the UAE but also the Middle East and globally. 

Abu Dhabi Customs places a strong emphasis on its employees, ensuring that their employee’s needs are prioritised and fulfilled. By focusing on employees’ experience, this had a positive impact on employee productivity. Some of the major HR trends adopted by Abu Dhabi Customs involve the shift from a people-centric organisation to a person-centric organisation. The shift towards personalisation enabled the concentration of HR efforts to tailor all experiences to meet the employee’s needs. As Dr. Ebrahim states, one of the key deliverables set by the Higher Management to him is to “Give people what they want before they ask for it”. This proactive approach reflects the deep commitment and the importance of fulfilling the employee’s requirements.

The transition towards cutting-edge HR technology solutions, organisational redesign for resilience, increased use of data analytics and collection, improved employee well-being through flexible hybrid work arrangements, and an intensified focus on continuous learning and development have collectively contributed to enhancing the employee experience. The implementation of advanced technology – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and the Hologram streamlined many HR processes, including recruitment, onboarding using the journey system, organisation development, learning and development as well as performance management. Aligning Abu Dhabi Customs with the latest HR trends, such as the Metaverse, geofencing attendance technology, and Cloud Applications, has led to an enhanced employee experience, increased HR operational efficiency, and fostered a more engaged and motivated workforce. This, in turn, has positively impacted service delivery and customer satisfaction.

In a world where technology and AI are becoming increasingly intertwined with HR, Dr. Ebrahim is leading the charge in embracing cutting-edge technologies to enhance HR operational efficiency, employee experience, and satisfaction. Under his visionary leadership, the Human Capital division at Abu Dhabi Customs has surpassed its expected level of performance. Let’s dive into the tangible accomplishments achieved by Abu Dhabi Customs:

Pinnacle of Recognition

The Human Capital division at Abu Dhabi Customs received 34 prestigious recognitions, including a staggering 18 Stevie International Awards. These awards, including eight in the Gold category, celebrate achievements such as “Innovative Use of Technology in Human Resources Government,” “Best Learning & Development Strategy,” “Best Use of Games and Simulations for Learning,” “Government Hero of the Year,” and the prestigious “#1 Oracle HCM Heroes.”

Commitment to Excellence

Abu Dhabi Custom’s commitment to maintaining international standards of excellence is evident in the acquisition of 27 ISO Certifications across the organisation, with seven dedicated to HR. This commitment to quality and optimization sinks into ADC’s HR practices and processes.

Pioneering Innovation

Abu Dhabi Custom’s visionary leadership extended into the field of technology, where it introduced Oracle’s first digital assistant worldwide, revolutionizing HR practices and setting a new benchmark for AI-driven technology solutions, such as the streamlined Robotic Process Automation .

Exceptional Workplace Culture

The Great Place to Work Certification has been acquired by Abu Dhabi Customs for two consecutive years, obtaining an impressive 86% score in 2023, and was ranked as 6th best workplaces in the Middle East. This certification reflects the high level of trust and positive employee experiences that have been cultivated, and the commitment to creating an exceptional workplace culture. 

Leading the Way in HR Excellence

Abu Dhabi Customs has reached the peak of HR maturity, earning an outstanding rating of 97.5%. This recognition positions ADC as the #1 Abu Dhabi Government entity in HR maturity, setting the bar for HR practices, policies, and strategic approaches within the government sector.

A Global HR Influencer

Dr. Ebrahim’s influence extends far beyond the borders of the UAE. He has participated in 27 international conferences as a guest speaker, showcasing his modern Human Capital methodology and establishing himself as an influential HR leader on a global scale.

Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration

Collaboration and knowledge sharing are at the core of Abu Dhabi Customs HR practices. As 43 benchmark sessions have been conducted with well-established organisations in the UAE, Middle East, and Globally, where valuable insights and best practices has been shared. This collaborative approach has facilitated knowledge exchange and fostered collaborative learning among HR peers in the region.

A Thought Leader in HR

Dr. Ebrahim has made his mark in HR, where more than 50 press releases have been published on his behalf, showcasing the extensive knowledge and strategic leadership abilities in the field,  creating a significant impact on HR practices,approaches, and methodologies.

Currently, Dr. Ebrahim is leading a major HR Infrastructure project for Abu Dhabi Emirate’s 60 entities. This ambitious project encompasses policy development, procedure refinement, delegation of authority, the implementation of the RACI framework, process re-engineering, and the transition to a single-system cloud. The ultimate goal is to optimize HR operations, enhance data visibility, and empower decision-making at all levels, ultimately driving operational efficiency and elevating employee satisfaction.

What truly distinguishes Dr. Ebrahim’s leadership is his commitment to innovation. He recognizes that the future belongs to those who can harness the power of technology and data. His initiatives, ranging from geofencing attendance systems to robotic process automation (RPA) and the establishment of an AI-driven self-service portal, have not only increased HR operational efficiency, but have also elevated the employee experience to extraordinary levels.

Yet, Dr. Ebrahim’s vision extends beyond technological advancements. His Human Capital methodology focuses on extensive investments in innovation and people, where it shifts the way organisations approach talent development and workplace culture. At its core, this methodology welcomes innovative projects that nurture innovative thinking, design thinking, and analytical thinking competencies through AI implementation. It encourages employees to become active participants in their own development, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Therefore, for all the above-mentioned reasons, Dr. Ebrahim Al Khajeh is an Influential HR Leader who deserves to be recognized and celebrated for his outstanding contributions in the HR field in the UAE, Middle-East, and internationally. His vision extends beyond technological advancements, encompassing a holistic Human Capital methodology that nurtures innovation, empowers employees, and shapes the future of HR practices. Dr. Ebrahim’s legacy in the world of Human Resources is one of innovation, excellence, and a commitment to fostering a brighter future for organisations and their most valuable asset – their employees.

In conclusion, Dr. Ebrahim Al Khajeh is not merely an HR leader; he is a transformational force in the world of HR. His contributions to HR practices and his visionary leadership have set new standards. As he leads the charge into the era of the metaverse and digital transformation, one thing is clear: he is shaping the future of HR, not only in the UAE but on a global scale. Dr. Ebrahim deserves every award, recognition, and celebration for his exceptional journey and his commitment to excellence.

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