Nawaf has more than 23 years of experience in human resources function in global organizations, Prior to joining GIB, Nawaf held a number of senior HR roles with Integrated Telecom Company, and BAE Systems in Saudi Arabia. He is certified as an HR professional through the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development – CIPD and hold a Post Graduate Degree from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom, specializing in Human Resources Development and Performance Management.
For sure this pandemic has changed the way we would normally operate, and consequently, we have immediately started applying the precautionary measures such as wearing masks, temperature checking during entrance, social distancing, activated remote working, flexible hours, and also stopped all domestic and international business travels and implemented online and virtual meetings instead. We also raised up our game in staff communications to ensure that our staff are well informed and up-to-date with the state of things. In this effect, we created working from home and how to stay safe guidelines, moved to 100% online training so that training and development doesn’t grind to a halt, the Grad programme (hiring through to induction) moving to a virtual environment and increased use of VCs for recruitment, business meetings and staff gatherings. I would stress that for us as well as many GCC companies, we have had to learn a whole different communication model with managers having to learn to manage staff remotely – so we have focused a lot on toolkits and training to support line managers in leading their teams remotely and also dealing with change and uncertainty
We have learned a lot from this pandemic and we can clearly see that some of the roles in HR could potentially be done through remote working; automation and technology will also play a big role moving forward, job-related aspects such as employee services could be easily done through system automation and technology like chatbots. Recruitment is another area where we have an excellent experience in utilizing the technology in this pandemic. We have managed to hire our executive graduate programme starting from sourcing to shortlisting, assessments, interviews and onboarding virtually, without any physical Interactions. Learning is another area where our return on investment from online and virtual training had been a major factor during this pandemic as we now have a lot of the learning activities that can be conducted virtually. Also, HR have been absolutely central to the response to Covid-19 – whether that is on the comms perspective, health and safety perspective as well as cost optimization.
During this pandemic, we have learned and experienced that a lot of the work and activities we used to do before the pandemic can now be done remotely, or through flexible workers in terms of the workforce and things like corporate events such as town halls, celebrations and meetings can be done virtually. This requires organisations to do a fundamental review of their org structure (do we have the right roles in the right places for the post-pandemic world) and a skills assessment (what are the learning/capability gaps in our people to operate in a more digital/remote working environment & marketplace)
Take lessons from this pandemic, learn from other organization’s experience, be proactive and ensure that you make the right adjustments in your organization’s operating model from the lessons you have learned. Be bold and be prepared to take tough decisions and challenge conventional thinking!
It is a complete game-changer and HR Professionals will have an important role to play moving forward in shaping the future of work. Also to note that this is going to vastly accelerate trends which were already in motion (digital interaction & tools, remote / flexible working, automation etc.), not necessarily introduce new ones only.