Thursday, June 18, 2015
“Can I see a show of hands of people that watch CNBC or any other business channel? Can I also see a show of hands of those that read the business section of your newspaper?”
Both those questions were asked over the past two weeks at different HR conferences [the HR Leaders Africa Summit held in Lagos, Nigeria, and the Lebanon HR Summit]. I decided to ask those questions and I was shocked by the number of responses. Maybe two or three hands went up, and there were at least 50 people in the room in both cases.
And you want a seat where?
My response was, “and you want to be strategic business partners?” My next question was, “what are the major discussions within your industry?” Again, the response was blank stares.
Posted by Ron Thomas at 3:16 AM
“No, that will not work. I leave for holiday on the 8th of June and will not return till around the 15thof July.”
That was the response from a Chief Learning Officer who we have been trying to get together for a meeting. However, it hit me as he told me this that yes, this was vacation season. But more importantly, he would be taking close to five (5) weeks off.
The summer holiday season is upon us and this is a common refrain from expats throughout this region (I work in Dubai, in the Middle East). This is a common practice here, and the only people who it gives pause to are people like me.
Vacation is no big deal
Posted by Ron Thomas at 2:57 AM
This past week I participated as conference chair for the first ever workforce analytics conference in the Workforce Analytics Forum that was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.the Middle East —
It was amazing to see the various industries from telecom to health care, privately owned to multi-nationals, presenting their analytics and wrapping it into a business case.
I remarked in my closing statement that this level of rigor and alignment would not have been possible even a few years back. But now, to have a conference dedicated to this new level of HR was astounding.
Welcome to the club
Posted by Ron Thomas at 2:46 AM
Monday, June 1, 2015
“We challenge you to find a consumer mobile offer available in the UAE that is better than the offersyou can get with Etisalat,”read the company’s website. “We promise to match or beat any offer, guaranteeing you that with Etisalat, you will always get the best prices.”
The “big brother” here in the Middle East recently has been the marketing campaign by our local telecom Etisilat [In the U.S., think ATT or Verizon]. Their marketing campaign was called the #Etisilat Challenge, and it challenged consumers to find a better deal than their offerings.
However, what happened next was not what they expected.
The pendulum has swung
Posted by Ron Thomas at 8:18 AM
"I arrived early excited about my first day and my first real job from college. I just could not believe how disorganized they were. It was like nothing you said. As a matter of fact, they were not expecting me until the following week. When I showed her the letter, she had to make phone calls to HR. It was a total mess. I knew then that I would not be here long.”
That short message was told to me by my daughter, who after finishing college, got her first “real” job. Because of my background in HR, I told her what the first day would probably be like since this was a well-known brand.
I had flashbacks of that encounter a few weeks back as I gave a presentation around that theme at the Global HR Summit in Doha, Qatara last week.
Going on that first date
Posted by Ron Thomas at 7:59 AM
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
That was the post that went up on Facebook! As I knew this individual, I immediately reached out to see how I could help. Since I had a lot of friends in tech, I was sure I could get his resume into the right hands.
What happened next kind of took me back.
His response to me was this: “I will have to get back to you as I need to update (my resume).” Let’s see, you have been with this company for close to six years and you have not updated your resume?
Posted by Ron Thomas at 11:09 AM
That was a statement from one of our clients that I spoke to as she told me about her company.
I thought of that statement the other day as I flew back home from a business trip. The Chairman/Founder of the airline Virgin Atlantic made a pitch about their charity and volunteer effort called “Change for Children.” Richard Branson delivers this message and shows the schools and others that his company and employees are all engaged.
His quest is to get his customers involved as well.
What is your customer experience?
Posted by Ron Thomas at 10:50 AM
Friday, May 1, 2015
When I took my first foreign assignment as a Chief HR Officer, I was told by one of the senior executives. “You know the change we all notice in HR? It is the sound of laughter.”
When you walk in now, everyone is smiling, laughing and joking with each other. At one time you hated to come down here; now it is a respite to walk into a friendly environment — especially all the smiles.
Laughter as nectar of the gods
Posted by Ron Thomas at 4:55 AM
“When I heard you speak I was shaking in my boots, because tomorrow, I am scheduled to speak after your presentation. Is there any way to put me on behind someone else?” he said jokingly.
I was asked about this change a few months back when I was the chair of the HR Summit in Bahrain. Just a few weeks ago, I made a presentation to The Human Resources Forum in Dubai (THRF), and as one of the attendees was leaving she said, “you make everything so clear and you are the best speaker that we have ever had here at the Forum.”
Since arriving here in the Middle East, I was fortunate to get on the HR speaker circuit. As of last week, I have spoken at about 25 events either as a keynote, conference chair, panel leader, or master class presenter. I have traveled from Africa to Turkey and all over the Middle East.
How I got over my fear of public speaking
Posted by Ron Thomas at 4:27 AM