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Interview with Ahmad Salah El-Din ~ Founder of ODexpert / Comp & Ben Consultant / Regional OD & Rewards Manager MENA Region in a Leading FMCG

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Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

Focus more on the book of business than the book of HR, and seek the “best fit” rather than the “best practice”. HR is more of a contingent science and profession than most of the HR practitioners think…

Ahmad Youssef

1- HR Revolution Middle East: Would you share with us how did you shift your career from engineering to HR, and how engineering helps you as an HR professional?

Ahmad Youssef: It is a mix of risk taking, passion to try new things, lack of interest in the engineering career in Egypt and HR seemed to be a more intriguing idea.

The engineering background with all the logic and searches for whys involved formed an unusual HR perspective that was recognized and encouraged by the HR leaders in my company and my views were much appreciated. I was offered an HR job in the communication department after few months from my hire date as a networks engineer in my company.

In general, good HR practitioners should always question a lot of things, why & how things go around in a specific way and in a specific context: Are we satisfied with the performance level? And how can we improve it efficiently? And actually these are basic competencies for an engineer.

2- HR Revolution Middle East: Ahmed, you are really known as one of the most professional in your field although you’re younger than your experience & professionalism, to whom and to what do you owe your excellence?

Ahmad Youssef: Awww, I am surprised, but I will take this as a compliment, because I am assured that I still have a lot to learn and I am lucky that I meet people every day that inspire me and show me that I need to add more to my experience. I owe a lot to the engineering background here, but most importantly the organization culture where I’ve raised in as a professional. The trust and value based culture were always there around me and always reflected by my leaders. Trust culture means that people offer each other spontaneous support without narrowing it to the calculation of the cost or anticipating any short-term reciprocation; they communicate honestly and freely; they share knowledge and grant access to information. I was told to just put my thoughts and efforts and we will support you in every possible way, I was given my space and my sometimes radical perspectives were recognized. I needed nothing more really to hit my highest motivational levels and being able to oversee more diverse responsibilities.

In a parallel context, I was happy to have the chance to get to know the owners of an HR practical learning and consultancy platform named “Real Hands On”. We felt very aligned as we share the same concerns about how to develop and promote the strategic contribution of the HR role by providing practical and hands on HR education that is based on solid academic and scientific bases. I am glad to finally meet an HR specialized education provider with this mission in Egypt and we are working together towards the achievement of such mission. This allowed me to pursue my passion of transferring a blend of technical, practical and academic HR/business knowledge rendered to address our specific HR and organizational problems within the business context of Egypt and the Middle East at large.

3- HR Revolution Middle East: The HR field in Egypt is receiving every day professionals from different educational disciplines & backgrounds, how do you think this boosts the HR profession in general?

Ahmad Youssef: I am always a fan of diversity, not just “surface level attributes diversity” concerning apparent physical attributes like sex, age, ethnicity, etc. but rather “deep level attributes diversity” concerning personality, values, educational/functional background, etc. that proved consistent implication on creativity and innovation. On the other side I am distressed with the saying that “HR is the jobless job, or anyone can work in HR”. Diverse educational disciplines and background could benefit the HR field by adding more perspectives but without possessing the qualifying knowledge these perspectives may take us where we don’t want to be.

4- HR Revolution Middle East: What advice would you give to HR professionals to strengthen their positions as business partners & contribute in the business decision making process?

Ahmad Youssef: Focus more on the book of business than the book of HR, and seek the “best fit” rather than the “best practice”. HR is more of a contingent science and profession than most of the HR practitioners think. The understanding of the business strategy, model, process, culture and structure are the fundamental competencies for a good business partner, these are commonly known as “business acumen” and “organizational savvy” in any competencies dictionary. It is also more tangible field than many people think it is, so there should not be any unanswered question in any good HR practitioner’s head. For the core HR knowledge it is good to understand every function in the HR, what it intends to achieve to the business, how it is deeply connected to all the other HR functions, where it begins and where it should end and why. This is how to be good, but in order to be great, HR professionals should know how to tweak and customize all these HR practices and functions to best support the achievement of their business strategies, and believe me; strategy is the organization finger print, no any two on the planet share the same strategy, so are the fittings of HR functions in the organization.

For example, although we may share the same HR book, we will implement totally different HR practices if you were working in an organization that adopt a “differentiation” strategy and I work in another adopting “cost leadership” strategy, although both of our practices are coming from the same understanding of the same book.

Unfortunately there are HR professionals that apply the same practices regardless to its congruence to the organization strategy and they lose a big ground on the strategic table where critical strategies and decisions are discussed because they fail to convince the table with any valuable contribution to such strategies.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: From your point of view, which were the most aggressive challenges faced by the HR professionals in Egypt, during the past 7 years? Were we able to face it the right way?

Ahmad Youssef: For sure a lot of us, our understandings, our practices and the quality of our crises management were exposed to a tough test around the revolution, the time of the political unrest, loose security and frequent strikes. It sent us a harsh signals and revelation on how good we thought we were at “people management” as many call it, I prefer “influencing people”. I know organizations where people didn’t strike at all, but rather stood for their organization’s benefits, search for those, there must me a plenty of good leaders there and HR leaders in specific. Others organizations were shocked with voluminous lessons to learn, others are still striking and others went to complete business shut down.

The more we brace the psychological contract over the formal contact between organization and its people the more we can expect from people in the toughest time.

6- HR Revolution Middle East: What are the secret tips you might give to junior HR professionals to consolidate their understanding & practice of their mission?

Ahmad Youssef: Take off the police-man suite, act and behave like the rightness guardian, that balance people rights and the organization benefits. Being emotional and being human is two totally different things, emotional is unprofessional and unfair, human is ethical and fair. Seek business knowledge from the experts, they enjoy telling about it to juniors, if they didn’t tell, they are not the experts. Look for the strategic relevance of the HR functions not just its duties.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: How can HR professionals keep the red line between their friendship with colleagues in the workplace & the confidentiality of their work?

Ahmad Youssef: HR role require the access to sensitive and maybe personal data for other people, we don’t own these data, and we can’t reveal it in unofficial contexts. This is simply our profession ethics and we can’t claim to be professionals without enjoying these ethics. We have to make our colleagues to understand that we respect such responsibility, and any attempt to breach it will trigger our sever outrage. I don’t think that normally our colleagues will intend to disappoint us if we share the minimal mutual respect.

8- HR Revolution Middle East: Do you believe that organizations in Egypt are on the right track empowering their HR departments & involving them in the business? To what percentage?

Ahmad Youssef: HR can be a strategic formulator and contributor not just a business partner, this is a reality that has been demonstrated in hundreds of academic laboratory and field research and recognized by the majority of the great organizations that achieved turn around in the last 20 years and almost all of the fortune 500.

Such fact is either realized proactively or reactively by organizations. Proactively means that organization capitalize on its human capital and leadership qualities before any other sort of investments. At the other side organizations that reactively recognized the inevitability of sound HR at later stages usually have been through an unpleasant situation of drifting away from fitting the character and parameters of their environment. This is the situation in Egypt especially after the revolution. So yes, definitely we are on the right track, but unfortunately unwillingly, it is just because all the other tracks had failed us already. We are still in the early phase of the developmental curve, but the exposure to the international competition with its volatile and hostile change will accelerate our development as long as we have decided to be a part of this competition, and I really see number of Egyptian local and international organizations that takes very bold and smart moves towards promoting the role of HR within its business contexts, you can know them too, they are the current employer of choice where many talents will love to work with, and they are unnecessarily the highest payers and some of them didn’t exist 5 years ago.

9- HR Revolution Middle East: A problem, we are currently facing as HR professionals, that although the HR practices differ relevantly in relation to the industry, we don’t have institutions that provide sectorial HR knowledge, from your point of view what are the tangible results of that at work & how can we overcome such challenge?

Ahmad Youssef: If you allow me Mariham, I would like to rephrase the problem to be the lack of sound academic qualification within the HR realm. HR is an academic field of research and study since and even before the 1970s in the world top universities, so it is a profession that require rigour qualifications should it be mastered.

The results of such a problem are simply confusion: we don’t know the purpose of what we are doing, inefficiency: we are draining our resources, ineffectiveness: we are not achieving our objectives, and worst is the unawareness of the problem that may be aggravated to its denial as well. I have seen a lot of HR practitioners that call themselves experts just because they are very good at repeating their companies practices for years in isolation from the world and the academic knowledge where the “not invented here” syndrome form a barrier to their knowledge development and enlightenment. This does not only hurt the reputation of our profession, but also affect the perception of fairness of our work impact towards people. You see, unqualified HR practitioners are dangerous for the planet :).

I highly recommend degree programs from a reputable academic body of knowledge, the good news that these programs are facilitated to suite the professionals tight schedules, and there are many advantages for online and distant learning that even don’t exists on campus learning like the access to unlimited resources and the extremely diversified make-up of the class that enrich the learning experience even further.

10- HR Revolution Middle East: Ahmad, you had the opportunity to assist World-class HR conferences & training worldwide, what do you think we lack in Egypt to reach the same standards of these events?

Ahmad Youssef: We need to appreciate the value of learning and collaboration, we need to recognize the value of investing in these things. Learning and development managers should be concerned more about covering their people competencies gap rather than consuming their budgets on the one size fits all soft skills trainings at the end of the year. Networking is good, but knowledge sharing is more important, this should be the base of conferences design and speakers selection. Also the topics should be more oriented towards supporting business where strategic partnership and entrepreneurship languages prevail over HR jargons.

11- HR Revolution Middle East: Do you believe that Egyptians need to adapt HR certificates like PHRi/CIPD to be able to apply their knowledge in the Egyptian/Arab communities?

Ahmad Youssef: They have their values, but they are not the best investment in gaining credible HR knowledge. My concern is on their cost rather than their relative quality. I prefer more degree programs from credible academic body of knowledge with similar or a bit higher cost, then practical learning initiatives and trainings. I always recommend learning after gaining suitable practical experience about the subject, and against starting our exposure to new subjects in a class room.

12- HR Revolution Middle East: What do you think is the main downfall for most of the HR practitioners in Egypt?

Ahmad Youssef: Thinking they can do it without knowing what, how it and why it should be done. And taking any bias towards the company or the people side.

13- HR Revolution Middle East: Being a regional manager for the MENA & North Africa region, how do you assess the quality of HR professionals in Egypt in comparison to other regional professionals?

Ahmad Youssef: Well, I am not ethnocentric nor prejudiced, I don’t believe in good and better in human or professional traits based on geography especially and logically among similar culture. The chances of better qualifications, personal qualities and innate capabilities and behaviors can decide better than nationalities on the quality of a caliber in a given context, contextual factors are very important here. Our Egyptian tok tok will outperform a Lamborghini in some of our streets, so you can’t tell which is better without defining the context. Culture of course is a critical contextual attribute that can falsely add or detract credit from the individual caliber subject to the assessment. I think this will be an obvious subjective assessment so I will give you the same answer if we were comparing Egyptian versus German our Japanese professionals.

14- HR Revolution Middle East: Would you tell us more about your relation with your work teams & your employees?

Ahmad Youssef: Awww, my team, they are my friends, I prefer to work in a casual, relaxed and friendly atmosphere, we trust each other and believe in each other, I just do a lot of effort in selecting them, then I never needed to do any effort in managing our relation, they are very nice guys, I take a lot of pride in finding and working with them.

My employees, or better my people, I work for them, before any complicated HR process that I apply on these nice group of humans, I always try to make them happier or at least less stressful. It is a big reward when I come back home at the end of the day to my another few group of humans that are called my family with the feeling that I have put some effort in making another man or woman happier, a bit more motivated or at least less stressful. I really would like to thank God for this opportunity of contributing to touch other people life in a positive way. By the way we can apply the same in our normal lives away from work.

15- HR Revolution Middle East: Ahmed, we believe u have a very inspiring story behind founding “OD expert“, and for sure it is a result of years of sincere efforts & practical experience, would you kindly share with us more about it and how it plays a sound role in assisting Comp & ben specialists?

Ahmad Youssef: (OD expert) is a consultation firm focusing on organizational development, it is driven by a purpose of challenging the status quo of organizations’ efficiency. We deliver consultations services and develop solutions that demonstrate our purpose and what we believe in to our partners. Our latest release is a pay management platform that perform merit increases, salary adjustment and pay gap identification versus targeted markets, salary structure and internal equity. It uses the merit matrix approach to direct funds towards rewarding high-performing employees who are paid less than the market. This approach helps in looking at salaries adjustment from both an internal (performance) and an external (market value) standpoints and ensures that we are rewarding your talents that gears forward your organization. The novel idea is to perform all of these operations visually with plotted comparisons graphs instead of the typical dull spreadsheets, plus it carries out what used to be completed in weeks in just a couple of minutes. We have two offices one in Cairo and the other is in Dubai serving our clients around the world 24/7.

16- HR Revolution Middle East: How do you escape your work stress?

Ahmad Youssef: Piano, Jazz, Sinai, Reading and YouTube. I love Sinai so much, I like traveling in general, but it always goes around this sweet spot of the world.

17- HR Revolution Middle East: What is your dream for the future of HR in Egypt?

Ahmad Youssef: I first wish that HR will have a future in Egypt, the future is getting more unpredictable and more radical every day, so I hope we will be still needed, we still be able to change at the speed of life and get at the center of the stage by adding more value to the people and the organization and this value to be appreciated in return.

18- HR Revolution Middle East: I have been one of the fortunate persons to be one of your students more than once & learn a lot from you; how do you describe your feeling when you contribute in extending your experience to new generations?

Ahmad Youssef: Thank you Mariham, I feel exactly the same. Believe me nothing is more valuable and enjoyable to me than the enthusiasm and the sparkling eyes of an eager listener when discussing an interesting topic. It’s a mutual learning and a forum of exchanging knowledge, perspectives and positive energy. It refreshes my knowledge and flicks my brain. I gain a lot of purposefulness and a lot of self-worth.

THANK YOU

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Q&A with Yasmine Yehia | MEA Employer Branding Manager at Schneider Electric, Life Coach & Consultant

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Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi

“To be able to have a strong brand, you need to start from within – you need to have an attractive story to tell so if this is not there, it won’t be the right time for employer branding. I always tell the people I teach employer branding – fix internally first and then you will have something to say externally.”

Yasmine yehia

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How would you introduce yourself to the audience?

Yasmine Yehia: I am an Employer Branding expert, a certified life and career coach from the ICF, a public speaker and a certified trainer!

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How do you define Employer Branding in your own words?

Yasmine Yehia: Employer Branding is the art of story-telling, each employer has a story to tell, and this story is very useful for those who are interested in the company. A story about values, a story about culture, a story about care – a story about authenticity and uniqueness.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: What does an Employer Branding Manager do?

Yasmine Yehia: An Employer Branding Manager is someone who is an expert in storytelling, someone who is also an expert in the employer strategy and people vision and who is talented in showing what differs the employer from any others in the market.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Employer Branding is one of the new global trends in HR, yet still not implemented in several countries and among many organizations. Why do you think some organizations have concerns regarding implementing Employer Branding as a comprehensive initiative?

Yasmine Yehia: I don’t think it is a matter of a concern at all – I think it is a matter of time and maturity. To be able to have a strong brand, you need to start from within – you need to have an attractive story to tell so if this is not there, it won’t be the right time for employer branding. I always tell the people I teach employer branding – fix internally first and then you will have something to say externally.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How do you measure the ROI of your Employer Branding initiatives?

Yasmine Yehia: Oh God, there are zillions of ways to measure the ROI of our initiatives and campaigns, as sophisticated as a brand awareness analysis to as simple as the quality of CVs we’re receiving for open vacancies. Measuring the pride and engagement of employees, measuring engagements and reach on our employer branding social media posts.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Who are your main stakeholders and partners in the Employer Branding process?

Yasmine Yehia: And like I teach in my workshop – Employer Branding is never an independent function, actually we cannot even function or deliver alone, it is a collaborative work between us, HR and Marcom.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Can you share with us one of the challenges you have faced in your current job and how you overcame it?

Yasmine Yehia: Managing a complex region like MEA is quite tough and I think the deep knowledge of each country in the region was my main challenge – what is it that my target audience in each country look for in an employer? I overcame it with loads of study and education and also with using the help of specialized agencies to provide me with the needed reports.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: What pieces of advice would you give to organizations who want to empower their employer brand?

Yasmine Yehia: Be authentic! Start from within and have an authentic story to tell. You will reach the hearts of your target audiences effortlessly.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Jessie (if we may call you with your nickname), we are curious what is the first job you ever had and what is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from it?

Yasmine Yehia: My very first job was an IT Recruiter for fortune 1000 companies in USA – I learned the art of assessing and dealing with people, if there is one thing recruitment has given me, it is the strong people skills!

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: You are also a certified Life Coach, how does this help you in your role in HR?

Yasmine Yehia: In both HR and Employer Branding your main customer and target audience is people, right? A life coach listens to so many people, to their issues and struggles, it makes you a people person by heart – it gives you the perfect listening skills and it strengthens the way you interact and communicate with people, and this is exactly what you need as an HRian!

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a Life Coach, what advices do you have to professionals who want to sustain a work-life balance? Do we all need to have a work-life balance?

Yasmine Yehia: YES, we all need a work life balance definitely – you need time for yourself, to recharge, reflect and develop. I’d tell them, make the time for yourself a priority – do not miss it, this time is actually good for your work too because you will always have the right energy to continue. If there is a learning lesson from 2020, it is the importance of our mental health. Have a routine and this routine must include time for yourself!

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As a Career Coach, how do you think Covid-19 impacted the employment market?

Yasmine Yehia: Well, from what I see from my clients – so many people are thinking to shift careers post covid-19. Some of them must because they lost their jobs and some of them realized the importance of mental health, so they decided to leave a very stressful career. I think moving forward companies will have to learn to be flexible in their hiring process and start accepting candidates having the right skills for a job rather than a big number of years of experience! It is hiring for talents not years! People also need to be more resilient and smart in using their skills.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Finally, as a Trainer – why do you think personal branding is very important? We know you teach the topic.

Yasmine Yehia: In a world that has gone totally virtual – people need to learn how to build a strong personal brand online, it is how you will smartly use your skills and get paid for it! You no longer have the big chance to meet your recruiters face to face, following the new ways of working, we are heading towards working from home and flexible hours more, your personal brand is the only thing that will differentiate you in the market and open doors for you.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Thank you for your time, would you like to say anything?

Yasmine Yehia: Thank you for having me – I hope I continue inspiring those interested in the employer branding career!

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Civil Work

Q&A with Sherihan Elkamash; Researcher at the Center of Strategic Studies, Bibliotheca Alexandrina & Charity Activist

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Interviewer:
Mahmoud Mansi

“I am always trying to not lead members, but inspire them and gain their trust by encouraging my team to work on new projects. I help them make their work plan, and I provide them with some guidance and coaching to finally have a successful deliverable to help impact more people in the community.”

Sherihan Elkamash

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Sherihan you are multi-talented and active in building the community in several different ways, one of your main roles is working at the Center of Strategic Studies at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, can you tell us more about your role?

My main work is about making strategic researches. I also, write articles about the recent international political events. One of the main roles for me is to organize virtual discussions to discuss different economic and political subjects. I am always in contact with high profile degenerates in the political arena to make interviews with them to be published. I am also the social media specialist for the center, responsible for managing the official page by managing and posting the news, declare about the new events and conferences for the center.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Across your career you have worked in different careers and gained different experiences. Can you tell us what did you learn from these experiences? And how those skills are helping you at your current role?

I have been working in many fields since a young age I have acquired professional experience in many fields for the past fourteen years; working in NGOs, media, research, translation and communications. These experiences taught me to navigate in different kinds of structures (public/private/international), as well as dealing with the internal dynamics of each organization. In my previous roles, I have demonstrated exceptional ability to manage external stakeholders including senior government officials, high-profile clients, and well-regarded organizations. As a trilingual officer, I can communicate effectively in Arabic, English and French.

Working in all those fields taught me how to work in full power with a great performance, deliver my work in a high quality and always being in time and following the timetable.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: You also have your own charity project “El Rahmoun”. Can you tells us more about managing people in a charity structured projects?

Let me first talk about myself when I was a regular member in NGO’s and volunteer projects. I starting volunteering since I was a 13-year-old school student. During those 21 years in charity, I’ve learned many things:

-I learned how to take the initiative to start new projects to help the maximum number of people in need.

-I learned more about contributing to the community and helping solve issues.

-I learned how to deal with all categories in my society, understanding their needs and being helpful to them.

-It is not only about leadership, but I have also been a great “team member”, by coming up with new ideas, working with enthusiasm and integrity.

As a founder or a leader for “El Rahmoun” charity group – like any business structure or project – it depends on the number of volunteers whether they are many or few, based on that we put a strong administration and operations management plan.

I am always trying to not lead “El Rahmoun” members, but inspire them and gain their trust by encouraging my team to work on new projects. I help them make their work plan, and I provide them with some guidance and coaching to finally have a successful deliverable to help impact more people in the community.

There is an interesting difference between a traditional corporate structure and a charity structure. In charity the individual is the one who deicides his/her responsibilities and commitment to the charity work. I cannot obligate them to attend the events or to do their tasks. Which means that I have to be their friend so they love me and maintain a good communication with the youth, meanwhile at the same time I have to be their leader when it comes to the big decisions. And this is the most difficult part. I think after 3 years of continuous work, while our volunteering community is getting bigger… my team and I are doing it well.

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How do you define success your own way? And what would be your success tips for youth?

I have learned the perfect strategy to achieve success, it is balance. We all have the desire towards success but those who are working and planning for it are the ones who are reaching their goals in a steady way. We all grew up with big dreams, seeking success in life, but few of us who understood that sustaining the success is the hard part. Balance is the key, youth need to know the importance of balance in their life between their studies, hard work, community service and social life. Youth need to make balance between physical, emotional and spiritual elements, to keep the high performance in everything they do. When we maintain our balance it shortly affects our sense of security and helps us to move forward. The balance in all activities in our days helps us maintain our mental health in order to have healthy minds and lifestyles. Stress is a serious threat to Youth and one should make it a priority to keep the stress away because stress prevents success.

Balance = Success

HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: With the development of technology, virtual communication and accessibility to knowledge, do you believe that some jobs are in threat? Can some careers take another form, offer different services and still impact the community?

The whole world is turning digital. The easy access to knowledge and data is the way of living now. Well, the development of technology can never be a threat. It actually helps us and is not a threat to our existence nor to anything created or made by the human being. NEW careers have been created and much more are on their way to glow and have place due to the virtual life. Furthermore, thousands of activities and services are provided through the internet now (website- social media) which also supports entrepreneurs and organizations to easily create new projects.

The Egyptian Government is taking the same track now in most of its governmental institutions. The pandemic helped a lot. It was a red light to hurry and accelerate our path, not only organizations that are turning digital but also individuals are becoming more focused on e-learning and other daily life services and in their lifestyles. I am very optimistic; because of the development of technology, new jobs are opening and great opportunities for youth which is very advantageous, beneficious and profitable to the growth of our great Nation EGYPT and to the rest of the world.

Thank you Sherihan for this interview and for developing and inspiring the community in such a unique way!

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Articles

LA CULTURA DIGITALE AZIENDALE E I SUOI LEADER CORAGGIOSI. LA SOCIETA’ DI MARKETING DIGITALE ITALIANA “DERAWEB” COME ESEMPIO DI ECCELLENZA NELLA GESTIONE DELLE RISORSE UMANE

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INTERVIEWER: Cinzia Nitti

HR Revolution: Ciao Fabio, grazie per aver accettato la nostra intervista e per quanto vorrai condividere con noi. Cominciamo: chi è Fabio De Lucia?

Fabio De Lucia: Ciao e grazie per questa intervista. Sono nato il 21 marzo del 1986 e il percorso accademico mi ha qualificato come perito commerciale con il massimo dei voti. Dopo la maturità e coerentemente con il mio approccio pratico alla vita, trovavo inefficace continuare a studiare per qualcosa di “non-tangibile”, quindi sono partito per Parigi e una volta rientrato, ho trovato impiego presso un’agenzia viaggi nel 2005. Ho iniziato a interessarmi a piani di sviluppo per implementare e migliorare i prodotti offerti. Credevo in quello che facevo ma, non trovando riscontro positivo da parte del mio titolare, ho rassegnato le dimissioni. All’epoca conoscevo già il mio caro amico e colui che sarebbe diventato il mio socio, Andrea (Dettole), il quale lavorava nel settore utilities nel nord Italia. Unendo le nostre conoscenze e competenze, nel 2008 abbiamo avviato Sundera, azienda di vendita servizi Business To Business (o B2B) e assistenza nel campo delle utilities: mi occupavo principalmente dei piani di sviluppo commerciale.

HR Revolution: Come nasce la web agency Deraweb e quale la sua mission?

Fabio De Lucia: Dall’esperienza positiva pregressa, nel 2016 abbiamo deciso di fondare con Andrea la società di marketing digitale Deraweb, brand partner della primogenita Sundera. L’impreparazione dei titolari di partita IVA in fatto di marketing e digitalizzazione dei prodotti aziendali – riscontrata a livello nazionale – è stato il fattore chiave che ha dato vita a Deraweb. La nostra azienda ha l’obiettivo di fornire strumenti efficaci per lo sviluppo aziendale in prospettiva di promozione digitale. In quattro anni il nostro pacchetto clienti è cresciuto in tutta Italia e su piano internazionale, acquisendo 600 clienti e con proiezione di raggiungere quota mille entro fine anno. La famiglia Deraweb conta oggi 15 dipendenti e 20 consulenti.

HR Revolution: Le Risorse Umane sono le componenti-chiave per il successo imprenditoriale. Il COVID-19 ha inevitabilmente imposto un cambiamento degli equilibri nella gestione aziendale. Come avete affrontato la sfida in fatto di nuovi assetti, ripianificazione e gestione del personale?

Fabio De Lucia: Il nostro metodo operativo prevede la maggior parte del lavoro da remoto. Gli strumenti digitali dunque, si sono confermati lo strumento indispensabile nel nostro lavoro; la pandemia è stata un elemento positivo in fatto di consolidamento di Deraweb. Si è trattato di un periodo di transizione per tutti. Nonostante uno stop forzato per alcuni e il crollo degli incassi nel mese di marzo, i nostri dipendenti si sono messi a completa disposizione dell’azienda, dei clienti, contribuendo in modo non indifferente alla buona riuscita degli intenti. Ci sono stati tutti vicini. Sono stati bravi e vanno tutti elogiati per questo.

HR Revolution: Cultura Digitale Aziendale: la risoluzione di problemi attraverso l’utilizzo di strumenti digitali si è rivelata un elemento vincente nella gestione del pacchetto-clienti durante la crisi pandemica?

Fabio De Lucia: Da titolari di azienda, nel supporto ai clienti e per una gestione ottimale dei servizi offerti, abbiamo deciso di operare in modo differente rispetto ai concorrenti. Abbiamo fornito gli strumenti necessari alla “sopravvivenza pandemica” con metodo studiato e mirato, soprattutto gratuito. In che modo? Creando manuali, guide strategiche “BUSINESS WORKOUT”, webinar e consulenze gratuite a disposizione dei clienti per evitare il fenomeno dell’inazione. Non a caso, il feedback è stato assolutamente positivo: abbiamo rafforzato il rapporto di reciprocità e fiducia con i nostri clienti, premiando inoltre coloro i quali hanno rispettato le scadenze in un periodo tanto complesso, fornendo un’estensione gratuita di un mese del servizio. Quest’approccio ci ha permesso di registrare risultati esponenzialmente più alti nel nostro ambito, a dispetto delle previsioni che la condizione economica generale avrebbe imposto.

HR Revolution: Spesso si pone l’accento sulla fidelizzazione del cliente, sottovalutando che la riuscita di un progetto o l’acquisizione di un contratto, derivi da un’ottima commistione di professionalità ed energie di un gruppo omogeneo e coeso. Dicci di più del tuo team. Sono importanti la Diversità e l’Inclusione in Deraweb e perché?

Fabio De Lucia: Assolutamente sì, per noi Diversità e Inclusione sono importanti. E rendono Deraweb un ambiente stimolante: il clima aziendale assume il giusto equilibrio tra competenze, rispetto delle qualità di ognuno e dimensione umana. Abbiamo messo in atto un modello di leadership che ispira gli altri e invoglia a migliorarsi. Dal consulente commerciale al servizio clienti, ai tecnici grafici, addetti marketing, comunicazione e social media, l’elemento della formazione continua inoltre, ha permesso di stabilire la gestione dei progetti in cui, senza più necessità di definizione esplicita, ogni membro del gruppo conosce esattamente il suo ruolo all’interno del processo. 

C’è fiducia e stima reciproca, spirito di sacrificio e altrettanta collaborazione. Da parte nostra c’è attenzione alle proposte di ognuno. Il mio lavoro mi ha dato modo di visitare tante aziende e conoscere altre realtà, ma qui da noi c’è un clima diverso, un clima che piace e che permette di lavorare secondo un equilibrio che dimostra quanto i nostri ragazzi siano “allineati”: in Deraweb proprio non riesce ad arrivare qualcuno che non abbia i nostri stessi valori.

HR Revolution: La Parità di Genere è un obiettivo di rilievo in una realtà aziendale. Definiresti l’equilibrio di genere parte integrante del vostro successo?

Fabio De Lucia: Sì, le donne nella nostra azienda sono un valore aggiunto e particolarmente apprezzate. Hanno un approccio naturalmente diverso all’ascolto del cliente e alla gestione di una richiesta. Sempre attente ai dettagli, precise, sicuramente meno impulsive in fatto creativo rispetto agli uomini. È una scelta aziendale mirata, quella di impostare gruppi di lavoro misti: sono la sintesi perfetta che genera stabilità. In Italia si parla troppo poco di Parità di Genere sul posto di lavoro, noi invece siamo ben felici di dare possibilità di crescita e carriera alle nostre dipendenti, mamme incluse! Sono tutte ben accolte, troviamo che siano una risorsa irrinunciabile e grande indice di maturità nel nostro team. Da sempre puntiamo su piani di sviluppo aziendale assolutamente paritari; la famiglia Deraweb è un gruppo eterogeneo che ha fatto anche di questo equilibrio un punto di forza. 

Grazie Fabio per averci aperto le porte di Deraweb e condiviso con HR Revolution Middle East, l’esempio positivo di una realtà aziendale solida che ha fatto delle Risorse Umane il suo motivo di orgoglio!

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