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HR as the First Responder: Lessons about Fighting the Coronavirus

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Written By: Vikas Dua

Lessons for the HR fraternity from the Heroes of the War against the Coronavirus

At the frontline of the war against the Coronavirus pandemic have been thousands of health, security and support workers. While the regulatory and administration teams have been in the background, it has been these warriors who have taken on the onerous task of tackling this unseen enemy, head on.

Striding into their place of work, often without the essential PPE (Personal  Protective Equipment), they have cautiously proceeded to execute their duties, knowing fully well that each minute on the job exposes them to a risk that could be fatal, not only to them but to many others including their own families.

One can only conjecture as to what motivates them in this manner? Unlike the security forces who are aware, right from the time that they decided to serve their nation, that they could one day, be head to head with the enemy, none of the others would have possibly ever imagined  such a scenario.  

So, what is it that gets them to scrub in and get onto with the job day after day, even as the battle rages globally? For the doctor, some may argue that perhaps it is due to the ‘Hippocratic Oath’ they have taken at the start of their study of medicine, to treat the ill to the best of their ability. But surely, it takes more than an oath. And, what about others in industries like Airlines and services like Facilities Management who don’t have such an ingrained and standardised practice, that is known of?

My view is that it is the singular reason for this is the desire to serve – the passion to not let down the very folks who are dependent on them for their well being. This approach drives them to put others before self and focus single-mindedly on their mission, much like an astronaut who blasts off into space to further human exploration, leaving his world far behind, with the knowledge that he may never be back, should there be a mishap.

So, when it comes to the world of commerce and business, what can the HR fraternity learn from these selfless individuals? Clearly, there are lessons for us and here are some of those – 

  1. Lead from the Front – For the corporate world, the HR teams will have to be the ‘First Responders’. Due to the panic and confusion caused by the pandemic, employees have concerns as they stare towards an uncertain future, even as Government and business leaders attempt to figure out the impact of the pandemic over the short, medium and long-terms. HR practitioners will have to take pre-emptive steps forward and assuage these concerns in a proactive, structured manner, even as the developments unfold.
  2. Be Empathetic – The lives of employees are being impacted at multiple levels – personal and professional, both. On one hand, entire industries such as the Airlines, Hospitality and Conferencing look down at a bleak future at least in the near future, employees working in such industries have personal financial commitments such as rentals and EMIs to pay on an ongoing basis. Only the most conservative would have been prepared for such a ‘rainy day’. Many amongst us may have a loved one working at the frontlines as part of the essential services, exposing themselves to the coronavirus danger, day after day. Therefore, HR folks will need to be empathetic when they interact with employees as they face tense moments.
  3. Innovate on the Fly – The famous military quote sums it up very succinctly – ‘No strategy survives first contact with the enemy’. Along similar lines, possibly, no HR team has been coached for such an eventuality. In the world of critical healthcare, medical staff have innovated with medical treatments in the absence of a known vaccine for the coronavirus, with some reports of success. Along similar lines, HR personnel will need to innovate and work with other stakeholders to ensure that the financial impact is minimised to the maximum extent possible.
  4. Personalise, not Standardise – Treatments for those who have been stricken by the coronavirus are personalised basis multiple factors including their age, severity of the infection, prior medical history and more. In this age of standardisation, HR leaders will have to bear in mind that employees impacted by the economic impact of this crisis, will also have to be dealt with in a personalised manner. While this is no easy task by any measure, it can make a substantial difference in how employees move forward and remain engaged with the organisation. One of the main realisations from this crisis is that chasing materialistic lifestyles isn’t of any major consequence in the long-term; health is paramount. HR teams that come across as being genuinely concerned about their workforce will create affinity for the brand in the minds of those working with them.
  5. Communicate with Transparency –  At a time like this, unfortunately, rumours also gain credence fueled by the apprehension of the multitudes.  We have all witnessed the daily briefings being held by Heads of State in some countries, or regular updates shared by bodies such as WHO (World Health Organisation). Along similar lines, colleagues in the HR function also need to ensure that timely information regarding the supportive steps being taken by their organisation is shared so that employees are prepared well enough for the disruptions expected going forward. 
  6. Guide and Coach – Over the last few months, health professionals have guided millions of people on the correct way to wash their hands and to practice social distancing – acts that can control the spread of the harmful coronavirus and save lives. In the world of business, there is no doubt that the dynamics will change. While some roles will shrink, new ones will emerge. It will then rest on the shoulders of HR leaders to help those displaced, to pick up new skills and new direction for themselves, so that they can build stronger careers going forward.

In this way, the HR community will need to rise to the occasion. The rapid, global spread of this virus has caused changes in thought, lifestyles and practices. Even as humanity recalibrates and charts out a new optimum framework to define ‘success’, HR professionals across the world should aim to redefine the very basics of the science and art of ‘Human Resource Management’, viz. to design the strategic approach to maximise employee performance in a company or organization such that they help their business gain a competitive advantage. 

In what other ways, can HR professionals step up to the challenge? I’d love to hear your views. Do connect with me on LinkedIn (vikas.dua) or drop me an email at vykas.dua@gmail.com.

——————–

About the Author:

Vikas Dua is an accomplished HR and recruitment professional with over 15 years of experience in the field, having worked with both start-ups and large corporations like Wipro, Concentrix and Startek Aegis, driving hiring in the APAC region. Currently, he is Chief HR Mentor at Attayn.co—a disruptive HR Tech firm working on enhancing and democratizing knowledge sharing in the academic space. A TEDx Speaker, Vikas is also an active Vlogger and Blogger, who shares insights under his self-designed ‘HR in my Heart’ brand umbrella.


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How did the International Certification from the HRCI change your career?

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Testimonials from Certified HR Professionals in the Middle East

Journalism: Menna Hamdy

Mostafa Gallal (PHRi, Egypt) – Recruitment Manager at Al Ezz Dekheila Steel

“The most important thing about the certification content is that it helps us to understand the HR science from a global perspective. In addition, to updating us about the new HR trends.

Most of us don’t practice at work all the HR functions, so it allows me to learn about all the HR functions.

Being certified gave me the opportunity to take a role in many projects, as well as participating in many events that added a real value for me.

My mindset started to think about top management decisions and how I can solve the regular issues that happens between top management and unions. I learnt that when proposing any new idea, I should take into consideration how to apply it in a way that fits my company culture

I would advise HR professionals when approaching their HRCI Certifications content study; to try to understand the practical way of each module, and to get acquainted with the HR Expressions and abbreviations as they are very important; they have to study them very well.”

Ezzddin Malek (SPHRi – PHRi, Egypt) – HR Manager at Misr Capital S.A.E

“I acquired my PHRi and SPHRi certifications in 2017 and it gave me an edge to make 2 steps up in my career from senior HR specialist in 2017 to Head of HR in a multinational company within just 2 years and I was chosen by HRCI to be an exam development panelist since 2018.”

Mina Adel (PHRi, Egypt) – HR Manager at IRAM JEWELRY

“Knowing the latest internationally applied methods of human resource management and being a certified practitioner from the premier human resources certification institute (HRCI) made me qualified to undertake larger tasks and assume advanced responsibilities in the field of human resources”

Mohannad Albashabsheh (SPHRi- PHRi, Jordan) – HR & Training Section Head in JBC

“Practicing HR Professionally is an outstanding responsibility. Being SPHRi certified facilitated for me the knowledge, skills, attitude and resulting power to be successful HR Professional”

Dana Hasan (PHRi, Jordan) – TA, LD Section Head

“I have got my first HRCI certification in 2014, then I got my recertification in 2017 as PHRi. Getting such certification helped me to grow in my HR career, stand as a distinguished HR professional in international and multinational companies. 

One of the main reasons that enabled me to work for big companies and be a business partner is having a professional certification.

I advise each professional: Invest in yourself, strengthen your experience with knowledge”

Mariham Magdy (PHRi, Egypt) – HR, Strategy and Management Consultant & Trainer

“As an HR Trainer & Consultant I believe that one of the most important benefits of the International Certification by the HRCI is how efficiently it builds the mind-set of the HR professionals acquainting them with the technical know-how for HR, spoken and standardized in an international language.

The HRCI exerts sound efforts to provide learners with valuable framework that can help them understand technically correct the processes of the different HR functions.

The HRCI Certification enabled me to understand the HR science from an international perspective, which gave me confidence in my work as an HR practitioner and Trainer.

The knowledge learnt throughout the certifications content designs for us a reliable road-map for the right steps to follow for decision making in HR.

I strongly recommend the certification for each professional aiming to progress his/her career in the HR field. Take a step today that you will thank yourself for it tomorrow”

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Interview with Eureka (ICS Learn Student) Customer Service Agent – Qatar Airways

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Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

1. HR Revolution Middle East: Welcome to HR Revolution Middle East Magazine. It’s a great pleasure to have the opportunity to make this interview with you.

What special recommendations would you share with CIPD students to encourage them to progress in their study?

ICS Learn Student:

Going through a period of change is very challenging and emotionally draining with the end outcome almost always unforeseeable. Everything seems to be unpredictable, but that is okay! Take some time to adapt to this new situation, accept it as positive reinforcement to yourself. Add value to yourself. Break through the situations in life. Continuing to learn will bring you academic and professional value to be the person whom you always want to be.

2- HR Revolution Middle East: How did the online set-up provided by ICS learn supported you to finish your CIPD Certification?

ICS Learn Student:

As a CIPD student, I am very glad that I choose ICS Learn as my platform. The online set-ups are very easy to go through and convenient to manage time. Especially as I am a full-time worker, it is very challenging to manage time for study or attend classes. However, ICS Learn supports you with recorded classes and fast responsive tutor support. That connection always made me feel that I was in a live classroom.

3- HR Revolution Middle East:  To what extent do you believe that the CIPD has helped you to progress on your professional path and opened new doors for different career opportunities?

ICS Learn Student:

CIPD is an internationally recognised professional body. Most employer’s value and recognize the professional certification of CIPD. Being a CIPD Member gives professional values to my CV, especially in the field of Human Resources Management.

4- HR Revolution Middle East: How did your HR practice at your organization changed after acquiring the CIPD certification?

ICS Learn Student:

My organization recognized me as an HR student as I am successfully achieving my professional qualifications with CIPD. I feel more confident as they look at me as someone whom they can rely on professionally at any given task.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: What special support have you received from your Tutors at ICS Learn that evidently helped you to finalize your certification?

ICS Learn Student:

During my study period, the support that I received from all ICS Learn tutors is special. Personalized feedback with regards to any assessments helped to achieve pass grades. I highly appreciate that all my tutors are available to answer or clarify any inquires related to my assignments or theoretical doubts in the one-to-one online chat forum.

6- HR Revolution Middle East: The online administrative support is one of the most important things an online global learner need, how was it flexible to proceed with such important certification through the online platform of ICS Learn?

ICS Learn Student:

ICS Learn is one of the best and most recommended online learning providers. The online admin support is a click away as we all are connected in different time zones in the world. That is very important as an online global learner. They do not only support academically but also technically. As a path connecter to the CIPD body, ICS Learn have a very professional admin team.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: How did your problem-solving techniques changed in dealing with HR challenges after finalizing your CIPD certification?

ICS Learn Student:

As an HR student, a CIPD qualification will enrich you with academic techniques. I have improved lots of skills that are helping me to handle challenges in a patient and professional manner. All the studies are practical scenarios rather than theoretical ones which allows me to improve as an individual and improve my behaviours as a people person.

8- HR Revolution Middle East: What would be your next academic degree in mind after the CIPD?

ICS Learn Student:

I would like to do a master’s degree in Human Resources Management.

9- HR Revolution Middle East: Do you believe HR/L&D professionals shall create communities of practice to encourage one another in finalizing their CIPD certifications and nurture the profession that way?

ICS Learn Student:

Yes, I do believe so. Being connected to a community that is driven by the same goals and targets is encouraging. It also helps to build confidence and practice some of the professional behaviours by supporting each other. Sharing each other’s knowledge and giving feedback and different viewpoints always achieves a better outcome.

10- HR Revolution Middle East: What are the needed competences for an HR professional to excel in his/her CIPD studies?

ICS Learn Student:

The field of HR is dynamic and our ability to process and understand it requires self-motivation. Growing in your job means being receptive to new ideas, wherever they may come from. HR professionals who never stop learning are well-positioned to translate well thought out industry trends and data into actionable insights. CIPD is the perfect gateway to our dream career. They support choosing the right course to up-skill your HR practice and stay motivated remotely.

THANK YOU

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تعاون بين شباب السودان ومصر لتنظيم النسخة الثامنة لتيدكس ودمدني بالسودان

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شباب من مصر والسودان يترجموا التعاون بين البلدين الشقيقين في المشاركة في تنظيم النسخة الثامنة لمؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني بالسودان.

يعتبر شهر مارس بكل عام بمدينة ودمدني السودانية شهر مختلف ومتميز وذلك لأنه على مدى 7 أعوام متتالية يشهد على تنظيم حدث لمؤتمر تيدكس العالمي، وجاءت النسخة الثامنة التي كانت بيوم 27 مارس 2021 نسخة متميزة ومنفردة بجمال أفكارها ومشاريعها وتنظيمها الذي تم الأشراف عليه من البلدين الشقيقين، وكانت المشاركات شاملة لكل المجالات التي تهدف لتنمية المجتمع والفرد ونذكر منها:

ياسمين يوسف (جمهورية السودان) تحدثت عن تحديها للإعاقة ووقوفها ضد المجتمع ودفاعها عن حقوقها في التعليم وكيف استطاعت أن تتجاوز كل تلك الصعاب بإرادة قوية حتى تم تسميتها باسم صاحبة الإرادة وتعتبر ياسمين الآن من الشخصيات الملهمة في السودان.

تحدث محمود منسي (جمهورية مصر العربية) على أعادة بناء الدول والمجتمعات بعد الثورات وجاء الموضوع مناسباً للمرحلة التي يمر بها السودان الشقيق وأستطاع محمود إلهام الشباب السوداني لأخذ دور في بناء البلد وذلك بتفاعلهم مع موضوعه.

تحدث كذلك أحمد رجب (جمهورية مصر العربية) على فكرة رقصة التانجو وعلاقتها بالإدارة والقيادة داخل المؤسسات.

وكذلك سها هيكل (جمهورية مصر العربية) وجهت رسالة توعوية للمجتمع لتغير نظرته تجاه الفنيين باعتبارهم شريحة مهمة في المجتمع، وأن محاربة العنصرية والتمييز في شتى مجالات العمل.

بينما وعد عصام (جمهورية مصر العربية) تحدثت عن الصعوبات التي تواجه طلاب الثانويات خصوصاً في تعلم اللغة الإنجليزية وكيفية التغلب عليها بنصائح سهلة بسيطة ومباشرة ووضحت وعد أن اللغة عبارة عن مهارات تكتسب وتمارس.

ياسمين يوسف (جمهورية السودان) تحدثت عن تحديها للإعاقة ووقوفها ضد المجتمع ودفاعها عن حقوقها في التعليم

ومن المشاركين كذلك من البراء عثمان (دولة الأمارات العربية المتحدة) الذي تحدث عن تجربته مع الاكتئاب وكيف استطاع تجاوزه بتوجيه طاقته تجاه ممارسة هوايته وهي الموسيقى وكيف أن ممارسة الموسيقى تساعد على التوازن النفسي.

فاطمة أحمد (جمهورية السودان) التي دعت للمحبة والسلام وتقبل الاّخر لبناء سودان جديد مستعرضة تجربة رواندا.

وكذلك تحدثت ماب خالد (جمهورية السودان) على أهمية التوعية بالعلاج النفسي وتجربتها في إقناع الحكومة لتضمين العلاج النفسي في التأمين الصحي وتوعية المواطنين بالصحة النفسية.

وعن السياحة تحدث بشغف محمد مجذوب (جمهورية السودان) وعن تاريخ السودان الذي يمتد ل 7000 سنة وعن حضارة الفراعنة داعياً الحكومة للترويج للسياحة في السودان معتبرا مؤتمر تيدكس مدني مؤتمراً يساهم في دفع عجلة السياحة بالبلاد وذلك للمشاركة الكبيرة من المتحدثين والجمهور من المناطق المختلفة.

وتحدثت أصغر المشتركات أسيل يوسف (جمهورية السودان) عن إمكانية استغلال الموهبة لمصدر دخل وتنميتها بالممارسة داعية شباب جيلها لحذو طريقها وختمت خنساء سيربال (جمهورية السودان) المؤتمر بحديثها على دور الممرض في المنظومة الطبية.

بالإضافة إلى الإعلامي إيهاب مجدي من مصر معد ومقدم فقرات برنامج المؤتمر، بالمشاركة مع الإعلاميين السودانيين خالد علي وآية عابدين.

وبختام المؤتمر قدم محمود منسي درع الأكاديمية العربية للعلوم والتكنولوجيا والنقل البحري للمنظم د. وائل العائد الذي شكر بدوره الأكاديمية العربية على دورها الكبير في إنجاح المؤتمر باعتبارها الشريك الأساسي وشكرها للمنحة التي تم تقديمها للمؤتمر وقام كذلك بتوجيه الشكر لكل الجهات التي ساهمت في إنجاح المؤتمر:

السيدة مونيكا وحيد، ممثل شركة تاركو للطيران مكتب مدني

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