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Interview with Dr. Jack Phillips – Chairman of the ROI Institute



Interviewers: Mariham Magdy & Mahmoud Mansi

“We particularly want to help the nonprofits use the ROI Methodology to be more efficient and have more impact with the great programs that they offer.”

Dr. Jack Phillips

The World Renowned and Award Winning Thought Leader, recognized around the world for his work with measurement, evaluation and ROI


Dr. Jack Phillips is the developer of the ROI Methodology™, the most used evaluation system in the world. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fortune, and on CNN.

Dr. Phillips is the author of the first book on training evaluation in the United States in 1983. He has authored/edited more than 120 books in evaluation, metrics, and analytics. He provides consulting services for more than half of the Fortune 500 companies and workshops for major conference providers worldwide.

Dr. Phillips has served as head of HR for three organizations, including a Fortune 500 company for eight years, and was recently awarded a Brand Personality Award from The Brand Laureate in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation (APBF). 


1- HR Revolution Middle East: Welcome Dr. Jack, we are really thrilled to interview your good-self & help our people get inspired and learn more from your precious stories, philosophies, researches & books. Having a long journey of more than 45 years of success; we are so curious then to know more from you about the first motives that encouraged you to start your research, application & writings about the ROI Methodology™.

Dr. Jack Phillips: First, I have a very quantitative educational background with engineering, math, and physics degrees. That gave me a quantitative focus. I had a particular event that started this process. A top executive asked me to show the value of a cooperative education program. This is a program for college students working on engineering degree where they alternated work and school. As I was struggling to show the value for that program, I needed a thesis topic as I worked on a master’s degree in Decision Sciences, which is statistics. I conducted this study and it satisfied the requirements for my master’s thesis at the same time. When I presented the results to executives, I saw the power of this type of analysis. It helped me keep my budget, build partnerships, improve the program, and build support for the program.

2- HR Revolution Middle East: Dr. Jack we believe that – just as all scientists & researchers – you must have faced a lot of criticism & maybe discouragement at the beginning of your researches; how were you able to overcome all this & prove the value & applicability of your researches world-wide? When was the first time you really celebrated the success of the ROI Methodology™ & felt finally reaping the fruits of your researches & efforts?

Dr. Jack Phillips: I had the advantage of trying this methodology myself and using it initially at Lockheed Martin Aerospace, then at a privately held steel company called Stockham Valves and Fittings, and then later at Vulcan Materials Company, a Fortune 500 company where I was head of HR. I knew it would work because I had used it in my own work. With that background, I began to write about it, speak about it, and share it with others.

Yes, there were critics. Some people said it wouldn’t work, it wasn’t needed, or I shouldn’t be doing this. These were not malicious people, they were just misinformed, and I knew more about this issue than anyone else. So, I just kept pursuing it because I knew it was needed and I knew it would work. I knew that someday it would gain acceptance from a large part of a particular profession, and finally it came. First, with the learning and development community and next with the HR community.

3- HR Revolution Middle East: Which country do you consider at the top now in learning & applying the ROI Methodology™? What are the areas you believe that the ROI Methodology™ supports enormously in proving their non-capital investments? Do you believe that there is another method in the world that can achieve the same results as the ROI Methodology™?

Dr. Jack Phillips: First, I have to say that the country where we have made the most progress is the United States, not because of it’s size, but because we’ve been working here longer and had more resources devoted to that country. However, I think it’s working quite well in several other countries outside of the U.S., and this changes over time. It’s working well in the Netherlands, Chile, and Singapore, due in part to having good partners there. In Singapore, we have had many organizations and universities involved in our process, making it an important part of the landscape there.

The ROI Methodology can work with any field or project. I think the place where it really shines is in the soft skills, particularly with leadership development. This is because it’s not that difficult to conduct an ROI study, but seems mysterious to so many.

We haven’t found another method that matches up to this process. Yes, there are some competitors, and some are our former partners, but nothing compares to the credibility of this process. This is because of the unusual way in which it was developed. It was proven in several organizations before it was made public. We adjusted it repeatedly and created standards. We had our users review and approve the standards, so it’s user-driven. It is also designed to meet the needs of chief financial officers, university professors, and users – three groups that are very difficult to satisfy all at the same time. I doubt that anyone else will take the patience and time over several years to develop and fine-tune a process that is going to be better than this. Incidentally, if there is a way to make this better, we would welcome the opportunity to make it better and make changes.

4- HR Revolution Middle East: Which study do you consider as one of the most impressive ROI studies you have done that you were personally amazed about its results and thus helped a great deal in changing the project’s scale of application?

Dr. Jack Phillips: Although there are many great examples, two in particular are very special to us. One of those is our business coaching study, which showed in a very credible way how coaching is evaluated. It came at a time when the coaching field was struggling with this issue, and they needed some help to make it work. This case study provided the spark.

The second case study is a work-at-home study where top executives wanted to see the ROI for allowing a large segment of their employees to work at home in an office especially designed by the company. This was an amazing study that attracted much interest from environmentalists, who suggest that working at home is critical to saving the environment; technology companies, who say that you can now have the technology to work anywhere; and HR teams, who are struggling with flexible work systems. It was the most downloaded case study in the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) database.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: You have conducted a lot of training programs & workshops. When was a time you have learnt something new from one of your delegates? What was it?

Dr. Jack Phillips: We always learn from our audience. We learned so much from our participants early on as we began conducting workshops, and this has extended over time. We’ve encountered so much that it is difficult now to see anything new arise. But there is occasionally something new. Recently in Dubai, a participant challenged me on a case study that we were discussing that was very positive. We began to see some potential negative consequences of the study that were probably not tracked, and I think she was correct. There was perhaps an omission, and the study owners might have missed capturing some unwanted adverse impacts that could have been present. This reinforces the need to always look for the unintended positive and negative outcomes. Although I knew to do this, I hadn’t thought about that in the term of this particular case.

Dr. Jack Phillips visit to Egypt.

6- HR Revolution Middle East: What piece of advice would you give to professionals from different disciplines to consider applying the ROI Methodology™ in their projects?

Dr. Jack Phillips: My advice for any discipline is to consider the value chain that’s offered in the ROI Methodology. It fits any scenario. Start thinking this way, practicing it, and learning about it. Start applying it in a deliberate pace, not just when you have time, but on a schedule of learning and applying. The less your particular field has been evaluated at this level, the more it will seem to be impossible. After all, if it is so easy, why haven’t others done it? The reality is that they may not have done this because there wasn’t a need to… but now there is. The worst thing you can do is to wait until someone forces you. Then it’s too late. My advice is to quickly get in there and start doing it in a routine, systematic way.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: When you first founded The ROI Institute in 1992, did you first calculate its “return on investment”?

Dr. Jack Phillips: I actually didn’t present the ROI to the executive group, but I was prepared to. When the executives saw the impact, they were impressed enough to want to keep the program. I was uncomfortable presenting some of the ROI data. After that, we began to push the ROI and calculate the ROI. Now, we try to do that on almost every project we are involved in.

8- HR Revolution Middle East: The ROI Institute recognizes exemplary practices in the application of the ROI Methodology™ and honors individuals for their outstanding work in measurement and evaluation; when did you decide to launch these awards? What impact do you believe these awards have on their winners & how do they participate in spreading the ROI applications world-wide?

Dr. Jack Phillips: The awards are very helpful for recognizing individuals who have made outstanding progress, while at the same time allowing others to learn from them. We started the awards in 1997 and, with the exception of a few years, they have been in place ever since. At one time, we had a newsletter that would help spread the word, and now we just let others know through press releases and summaries of the rewards. We probably need to examine how we can capture the best practices from these award winners each year. When we see great examples, we usually work some of these studies into our books with the proper credit. I think the awards are important to recognize the great work that our clients have achieved. Some are very excited about these awards, and they mean a lot to them and their organization. We are very pleased and excited to give them each year.

9- HR Revolution Middle East: If the ROI Methodology™ is to be manifested in a “person”, what would be the most suitable technical & behavioral competencies that would describe this person?

Dr. Jack Phillips: This is a very good question. A great “ROI person” would have a desire to be a problem-solver, exploring what’s caused a problem. She would have to have a comfort level with numbers. She would be an excellent communicator, written and oral. She would have a lot of curiosity to locate information and would have the tenacity to stay with a project until it’s over. Lastly, she wouldn’t mind getting into details and analyzing the results.

10- HR Revolution Middle East: Dr. Jack you have authored till now more than 120 books, most of them are bestsellers on Amazon stores; how do you find the (time & innovation) to write your books despite all your occupation in providing consulting services for more than half of the Fortune 100 companies, in addition to your workshops & participations in the major conferences world-wide?

Dr. Jack Phillips: First, these books have been written over almost a 35-year period with the first book published in 1983. There are several factors that allow us to write.

First, we see it as an important part of our business. We often say that we wouldn’t have a business without our books, but books are not our business. We don’t write books for the royalties – we write books to use in our consulting and workshop activities.

Next, we have a system. It takes a system to make it work, one that we follow consistently.

Third, we have a good team to support us. We could not do it without our editorial team who supports us quite well.

Fourth, we have good publishers who recognize the value of what we do. They make it easy for us to work with them.

We all have our different styles. I do my best editing on long flights, which are common for me. It helps to have good organization and a good filing and reference system as well.

11- HR Revolution Middle East: Past April 2017 you launched the second round for the Business Writers Conference with the above campaign; encouraging business writers to write their book, publish it, and even build a business around it. How do you select the jury? And what is the selection criteria the jury members use in order to choose the winners? When would you launch the next round for this amazing conference & might you consider launching it in different countries?

Dr. Jack Phillips: The actual jury for these books will be the publishers. For the Business Writers Conference, we invite authors, prospective authors, publishers, agents, publicists, and book consultants. We encourage people to write books, but the ultimate judge of the book being published by a publisher is the acquisition editor. We prepare individuals to make a proposal in a way that attracts the attention and secures the book contract. This is for traditional publishing.

At the other end of the publishing spectrum is self-publishing. Some people prefer not to have a jury and just publish the book themselves. That’s not our desired approach. There is an approach in the middle called hybrid publishing where you can have publishers do part of it and you do the rest of it. With the hybrid approach, the jury is still the publisher because they will not work with you unless you have a worthy book.

We will probably offer the conference again. It may be held in late 2018, or maybe even early 2019. We would like to take it to other countries, but it takes time and it does detract (to a certain extent) from some of our work at the ROI Institute.

12- HR Revolution Middle East: Dr. Jack, finally can you share with us what is the dream that you feel you haven’t yet accomplished?

Dr. Jack Phillips: We want to see this work quite well in the public-sector space. We work now in governments, nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, associations, and school systems. We particularly want to help the nonprofits use the ROI Methodology to be more efficient and have more impact with the great programs that they offer.


HR Revolution’s journalist Mariham Magdy receiving her CRP from Dr. Jack Phillips.

Civil Work

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



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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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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Interview with HRCI Advisory Council Member Dr. Amir Dhia



Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

” The CEO Advisory Council is a model for other industries as they play a role in connecting the lines between the labor market needs and the professional job industries” Dr. Amir Dhia

Brief Biography about the Interviewee:

Previously, Dr. Dhia was Dean at INSEEC MBA & MSc

Dr. Amir Dhia serves on different boards and educational organization programs. He is a member of the HRCI CEO Advisory Council; a Board Member of the Standards Supreme Council of the Global Academy of Finance and Management (GAFM), and a Board Member of the Standards Supreme Council the American Academy of Project Management (AAPM). Dr. Dhia is the Director General of UBT Executive Education (University of Business and Technology, Jeddah); the Director General of UBT English Language Academy, and Assistant Professor of UBT MBA and MSc programs.

Previously, he was Dean at INSEEC MBA & MSc Programs (Paris Campus), Founder & Director of INSEEC MBA in Business Diplomacy (awarded Innovation Program for 2015 by Eduniversal Rankings), and Director of its MBA program in Marketing and Communication. He was also a Professor at the Center of Diplomatic and Strategic Studies (CEDS, Paris), and at the Department of Diplomacy and Strategic Negotiations of the University of Paris XI, Jean Monnet College (awarded Professor of the Year 2009), as well as Head of English language programs at one of the largest language and training centers in Paris, CFILC.

With a PhD in International Relations and Diplomacy (summa cum laude), Master and Bachelor degrees, Amir Dhia is a specialist in the Information and Knowledge Society, a Legal Translation Expert, an Accredited SME Consultant, a Certified Digital Marketing Associate, holds a Chartered Certification in Talent Management, and completed the Distinguished Leadership Development Program from the National School of Administration (ENA, Paris). Training diplomats, officers, government officials, CEOs, executives as well as undergraduate and graduate students, he has worked, lectured and trained in several countries around the world. 

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

Would you please share with our readers more about the international certifications offered by the HRCI and how are they exactly designed to help advance HR professionals’ careers at different seniority levels?

Dr. Amir Dhia:

HRCI has an outstanding record of global certification and recognition for over 45 years. This is in part due to both the well-established standards and credibility and accreditation of its certifications and their impact on HR practitioners. HRCI’s eight certifications and qualifications requirements are significant for the HR profession. Certification adds value to a professional’s career. The various aspects of HR are included in the HRCI certifications and the exams cover a comprehensive spectrum of topics ranging from HR Administration and Operations, Recruitment, Talent Management, Compensation and Benefits, Employee Relations, HR Mobility, Health and Safety, HR Information Management and Business Leadership. With more than 500,000 certification holders in more than 125 countries, HRCI certified professionals lead global HR organizations and businesses. 

2- HR Revolution Middle East: Providing International Certification for such a sensitive profession like the HR is definitely not easy, considering the changing environments for this profession and how they can dramatically impact even the way of managing the HR different functions. Would you please let us know how do the HRCI succeed to tailor a sound know-how for global professionals? How is this secret recipe cooked?

Dr. Amir Dhia:

HRCI certifications are accredited by both the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and International Accreditation Service (IAS), where that accreditation offers impartial, third-party validation that the development and administration of HRCI certification programs has met stringent standards set by the testing industry. HRCI certification exams are conducted at proctored test centres worldwide and to a limited extent online. The certification exams are evaluated and revised to stay in line with current HR practices. Unlike other certifications that may simply require research and memorizing concepts, HRCI candidates need to acquire and master HR concepts and practices to be certified.

3- HR Revolution Middle East:  The aPHRi is the latest Certification added to the series of International Certifications offered by the HRCI. How did the HRCI evaluate the actual need in the market to help support the experience of junior professionals? How can this early certification help junior professionals to advance their careers with quicker steps than usual?

Dr. Amir Dhia:

The HRCI aPHRi international certification is indeed highly useful and significant for new practitioners and recent university graduates in the field of Human Resources. Many candidates take the entry-level certification when they shift their career from one field or another towards HR. Recent university graduates also take the certification to combine their university degree with a professional certification to distinguish their qualifications when applying for their first job. HR practitioners who do not have a solid foundation in the field of HR are expressing interest in aPHRi to support them in their positions and careers. Encouragingly, aPHRi professionals are already planning to take their competence to a higher level by preparing for the PHRi certification. UBT Executive Education was among the very first global partners of HRCI to adopt the new aPHRi certification when it was first launched back in early 2018, noting that the number of aPHRi professionals are growing steadily.

4- HR Revolution Middle East: What special tips would you share with professionals preparing for their HRCI certification? How can they prepare themselves for the exams?

Dr. Amir Dhia:

Preparing for HRCI certifications should be a pleasant, enriching and fulfilling experience and challenge. Regardless which certification they target, candidates need to master HR concepts, understandings and practices rather than memorizing definitions for the sake of an exam or certificate. Candidates who take an exam preparation training program are recommended to take the certification exam within a month or two after that training is completed so that the knowledge and concepts acquired remain fresh. The longer the candidates wait to take the exam the more they find themselves spending longer time reviewing the materials. HRCI has a large global network of Certification Preparation Providers (CPP) that are selected for the quality of their training for HRCI certifications. Another important advice that I would like to highlight is that it is better and more efficient to be trained by an HR professional who is already an HRCI certification holder than by a practitioner who is not. That advantage helps aligns the training with the mind-set of the trainer and HRCI certification exams. For example, at UBT Executive Education we only recruit expert trainers who are both active practitioners in the field and are holders of the SPHRi certification. Those two assets are very important for our candidates in terms of trainer competence, qualification and quality standards.     

5- HR Revolution Middle East: The Middle East is one of the most important markets, the HRCI has been supporting for years now. As Member of the HRCI CEO Advisory Council, can you please let us know how did the HRCI expand lately its role in the Middle East? Are you planning to offer especially tailored products for the ME in the coming period?

Dr. Amir Dhia:

HRCI has devoted a lot of effort in recent years on its international development, particularly in the Middle East. In terms of exposure, HRCI is more visible in the region than ever before thanks to its participation in forums and events, along with its active communication and interaction on social media platforms. The fruit of all that is becoming increasingly obvious as more companies and professionals rely on HRCI certifications as a reference of quality and competence. With 93% of Fortune 500 companies employing HRCI certification holders, that is a testimony to the standards and reliability of HRCI certifications inspiring other companies and professionals, both in the Middle East and elsewhere. Also, thanks to the coordination between HRCI and UBT Executive Education, as of 2019, both aPHRi and PHRi certifications are approved and subsidized by the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) in Saudi Arabia. There has been a growing demand for candidates with aPHRi. HRCI is working on launching the certification exam in Arabic language to encourage a wider audience of HR professionals from the Middle East region.    

6- HR Revolution Middle East: Do you believe that the industry trends in the Middle East are different from that of Europe & America, and thus the HR professionals in the region have to nurture special set of skills and knowledge more related to the region?

Dr. Amir Dhia:

The fundamentals and functions of any profession are essentially the same regardless of the industry or country. However, HR has a certain level of legal and cultural particularities that need to be taken into consideration per country specifications. For instance, there are HR laws and practices that are unique to Europe, North America and the Middle East region. As much as HR professionals need to adjust to their companies, they also need to adapt to their respective countries and cultures. This is what makes them global in their mind-set and culturally adaptive in their local practices. HRCI has reflected on that notion through three of its certifications (aPHRi, PHRi, SPHRi) that clearly highlight the knowledge HR practitioners need in both a regional and global context regardless of country or business industry, while encouraging them to be creative, flexible and dynamic, as needed locally.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: We are extremely amazed by the idea that the HRCI has a special “Advisory Council” acting as a resource to the HRCI CEO by offering advice, insight into industry trends and market needs.  Do you believe that this special set-up shall be adapted in other businesses as well? How will this help businesses to advance & grow more in the market with a more “customer-need based” approach?

Dr. Amir Dhia:

The newly established HRCI CEO Advisory Council brings unique knowledge and skills. HRCI’s mission is to enable people and organizations to discover, develop and demonstrate their fullest potential through innovative learning and certification in the ever-evolving world of HR. Therefore, our role as CEO Advisory Council Members is to offer advice, insights and a different perspective into industry trends. The CEO Advisory Council is a model for other industries as they play a role in connecting the lines between the labour market needs and the professional job industries. I am proud and pleased to serve as a Member of the CEO Advisory Council along with other colleagues who are specialists and experts in HR.

8- HR Revolution Middle East: Finally, we would like to ask you to give an advice for professionals especially in the Middle East, about how they can support their businesses? How does the various technological/ environmental/ physical disruptions nowadays require them to develop their skills/knowledge/competencies in a different way?

Dr. Amir Dhia:

The whole world, including the Middle East, has been going through unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic. While many businesses have either closed their doors temporarily or are at the risk of permanent closure, many other companies and industries have sustained, emerged and even grown. We should look ahead and adapt to the dynamics of global businesses and industries by exploring opportunities and alternatives. A lot of professionals have made use of the recent circumstances and environment by reflecting on their careers and potentials. Many others spent quality time developing skills and new competencies. While the economy at-large may take some time to recover, let’s move forward constructively, positively and distinctively. 


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