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

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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

ABOUT THE INTERVIEWEE

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). 

THE INTERVIEW

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.

THANK YOU

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

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Interview with Mr. Vijay Gandhi, Regional Director of Korn Ferry Digital

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“2021 is here and there has been never a tipping point like this before for governments and organizations to transform how they work, engage the employees and service their clients.  It is this mix of internal and external challenges that will also create opportunities for leaders to make a difference as we embark upon a new calendar year.” Mr. Vijay Gandhi

Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

Brief Biography about the Interviewee:

Mr. Vijay Gandhi has worked with human resource teams for over 20 years to provide them with tools, benchmarks, insights and data to help them design high level global HR frameworks and make decisions for local executive teams, remuneration committees and board of directors in public and privately owned companies across different sectors. He oversees the commercial activities of Reward & Benefits in KF Digital across Europe, Middle East and Africa.  

Vijay has an MBA from Durham University (UK) and BBA in Finance & International Business from University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA). He joined Korn Ferry in 2001 in Dubai and has worked in EMEA and Asia region. In May 2018, he was honored with Forbes “Top 50 Indian Executives in Arab World”

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

As the Regional Director for Korn Ferry Digital, we are keen to learn from you more about KF Digital, how do Korn Ferry’s digital applications help organizations to transform or enhance their organizational strategy?

Mr. Vijay Gandhi:

Through the Korn Ferry Digital platform, our clients gain direct access to our data, insights, analytics and digital solutions – enabling them to drive performance in their organizations in a scalable way through their people, using one enterprise-wide framework and language of talent.  Our digital solutions cover the whole talent journey. So, whether it’s developing a new talent strategy or reward program, making informed decisions about hiring or developing talent from within the organization, getting the right people on board, or even collecting feedback on how engaged employees really are, right across the organization – Korn Ferry Digital provides the answers.

Our solutions serve as an integrated platform that gives clients direct access to the data, insights and analytics. Clients benefit from one enterprise-wide talent framework and language that helps drive organizational performance through people.

2- HR Revolution Middle East: To what extent can we trust the results of the digital assessments? How can organizations use the data that Korn Ferry collects to make intelligent hiring, reward, development decisions?

Mr. Vijay Gandhi:

Korn Ferry Digital is fueled by the most comprehensive and up-to-date people and organization databases.  This data provides the DNA for our digital solutions, bringing a research-based foundation to underpin quality and consistency in your HR practices.  Over 4 billion data points have been collected, including: 

  • Over 69 million assessment results
  • 8 million employee engagement survey responses
  • Rewards data for 20 million employees across 25,000 organizations and 130+ countries

We’ve pulled the data together into a comprehensive set of actionable and dynamic Success Profiles.  Success Profiles define “what good looks like” and include data around three dimensions – the accountabilities of a role, the associated capabilities to perform these responsibilities, and the traits and drivers that are characteristic of a person who will thrive in this role.

Organizations have access to over 4,000 individual Success Profiles across 30,000 job titles – and we are continually updating and adding new profiles, so you get to leverage the latest thinking on emerging roles.  The results are therefore based on deep insight and research.

3- HR Revolution Middle East: Mr. Vijay, we are eager to learn from you more about the success story behind honoring you as one of the Top 50 Indian Leaders in Arab World by Forbes Middle East in 2018 Region’s greatest success stories as Regional Director at Korn Ferry Digital.

Mr. Vijay Gandhi:

I am a long-time resident of the Arab region, where my family roots go back 60 years, before the UAE federation was formed.  Knowing the culture, people and dynamics of working in the Arab world has been natural as this has been home to our family where my kids are the 5th generation.  For more than 20 years, I have worked closely with human resource teams in the Arab world to execute their talent strategy.  A lot has changed in this period in HR function itself which was regarded as a payroll function few decades ago.  Today, HR and People strategy are board room discussions where HR plays a strategic role in driving workforce performance.

In these positively growing and changing times, my focus was on leveraging tools, benchmarks, insights and data to design high-level global HR frameworks for senior executives in the region – helping them more effectively manage their talent.  We have built successful client partnerships in the region which has made Korn Ferry as a go to organizational consulting firm. 

4- HR Revolution Middle East: For over 20 years, you have overseen the activities of pay, talent, surveys and listening products across Europe, Middle East and Africa. What are the unique characteristics of the Middle East organizations especially in talent and pay management? How does we differ from other regions as Europe & Africa?

Mr. Vijay Gandhi:

Change is taking place rapidly in the world of work with any organizations taking unprecedented steps to remain relevant and connected to their people , their customers and society. In the Middle East we have seen many companies implement temporary pay-cuts. Diversified conglomerates have shifted their employees from one division to another to balance the demand and supply.  There is no denial that the way we work is changing and organizations have had to prepare a blueprint for the unexpected.  This year it’s coronavirus.  Next time, and there will be a next time, it could be a natural calamity, a recession, talent flight or something else unforeseen. 

  1. Redefining the nature of work:  Even today most organizations in the Gulf region are measuring success or performance using the metric of attendance.  There is a mismatch between modern, flexible ways of working and traditional ways of organizing and rewarding work. To close this gap, organizations need new approaches that fit today and can flex for the future. New and evolving technologies allow organizations to operate more effectively and more efficiently. They do this by preparing people to work more productively and by introducing virtual ways of doing things that previously required physical presence.   Some organizations in the region have started tocreate “flexible teams” for specific projects, and then dismantling  them once the project is complete.
  2. Moving towards a liquid workforce:  HR laws in the Middle East region have undergone change in the last 3 years to allow for part-time employees, internships and with the spring of an independent freelance community offering specialized professional services which were rare to find few years ago.   In the future, we will see more organizations tailoring their resource requirements to the needs of the labor market. Organizations will move towards a liquid workforce to capture the best talent regardless of source or nature of contract which may not be employed full-time.
  3. Splitting time and skills:  A few global companies are making use of employees’ skills and motivation within the confines of a traditional role.  They have developed a SharePoint platform where employees can give up to 20% of their time to projects outside of their core role. The 80/20 approach allows for flexibility without the contractual implications of making significant changes to roles and functions. The projects range from large, like supporting big corporate initiatives, to small, like moderating a series of workshops. These smaller projects may last just a few weeks and take up less than 20% of a person’s working time. Trainees, called ‘Start-up’ participants, also work according to the 80/20 principle. That means they follow a set rotation programme for four days of the week and meet on Fridays to work on joint projects.
  4. Rethinking Reward:  Even after right-sizing in many Middle East companies, there has been a significant impact of grade/title inflation on performance. In the short-term it is important to preserve operating capacity in the event demand returns to normal sooner than expected by managing leaves and cutting pay for a limited time.  In the medium-term, organizations will have to adjust individual performance incentives as conditions normalize and consider crisis-related spot awards where applicable.  In the long-term, organizations will have to not only maintain awards for top-performers but also consider tying bonuses and incentives to crisis-related health and-safety metrics.

With no ‘rules of the game’, and such rapid evolution, it’s not surprising that many companies feel they don’t know where or how to start. They need fresh thinking and new approaches on a whole range of topics – including how to create a ‘new deal’ that works for their people.

5- HR Revolution Middle East: The digital transformation has changed totally the way businesses make decisions.  Given that almost every organization has been forced into a new way of working, how can they navigate through a new normal?  

Mr. Vijay Gandhi:

The positive new is that, apart from solving immediate effects of the crisis, we have seen a resilience to operate from home by employees and employers moving from “no flexible hours” to “you can work remotely if the job doesn’t require you to come to the office”.

Whilst it’s great to move to more flexibility, we may be going over the top to think that this will be the norm for all employee segments.  Let me share some of the discussions with HR professionals in last few months in the region.

  1. Leadership matters and they want to be visible with the workforce.  Ask any leader when do they have the most impact? It’s when they are spending time with their people to engage with them and enable them by listening to their concerns. 
  2. There were aspects of our lives – work, family, friends – which were separate but now happening all in one physical space.  The self-complexity theory shows that individuals become vulnerable to negative feelings when these social activities and goals aren’t differentiated.
  3. Certain roles in healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality sectors cannot work remotely, and fantastic efforts have been made to make the workplace safe.
  4. Sales and Business development were areas identified as most dependent on face-to-face meetings.  According to Harvard Business research, in-person meetings were seen as most effective for:
    1. Negotiating important contracts (82%)
    2. Interviewing senior staff for key positions (81%)
    3. Understanding and listening to important customers (69%)

Although there are many reasons why video conferencing works well to stay connected in isolation and keep dispersed teams connected and aligned, latest research shows they wear on the psyche in complicated ways.  Psychologists say a new phenomenon “video call fatigue” is emerging.  It describes the feeling of being worn out by back-to-back virtual meetings and having to perform for the camera by over-scheduling ourselves.

So, whilst working from home since March 2020 was considered as a great move from being non-flexible to trusting people, it’s now time to rationalize our thinking.  The answer lies somewhere in the middle by being flexible and not drifting like nomads too. We cannot take all home and it won’t be forever. 

6- HR Revolution Middle East: How did all the twists and turns occurred in 2020 changed the traditional way organizations used to manage pay? Do you expect that businesses would return to the normal management of pay in 2021?

Mr. Vijay Gandhi:

Shifting to “people” priorities in 2021

2020 will be a fable for us to share with generations to come.  It is a year which has revolutionized the way we work and adapt to uncertainty.  A year which started with negativity around jobs and pay cuts. Life came to a stand-still.  Organizations who have survived the pandemic have shown tremendous resilience and agility to adapt to tough times.  As costs were taken out of the business in the first half of the year, we have seen higher productivity and the drive to restore profitability.  It was also a year where there remained no doubt that that the most critical driver for any organization was its workforce.

2021 is here and there has been never a tipping point like this before for governments and organizations to transform how they work, engage the employees and service their clients.  It is this mix of internal and external challenges that will also create opportunities for leaders to make a difference as we embark upon a new calendar year.

Reforms

Transformation in business set-up and labour reforms were on top of the agenda in 2020.  The Labour Reform Initiative (LRI) brought into action by MHRSD in Saudi under the National Transformation Program (NTP) has swung the focus back onto shared services and their significance in the Saudi business world. This initiative has not only set a strong precedent for the future of workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) but also carved a structured model for businesses looking to hire personnel. Similarly, there were 2 landmark moves in United Arab Emirates (UAE)

  • allowing foreign investors to own local companies without the need for an Emirati sponsor will open doors for more FDI and greater business opportunities.
  • allowing professionals to reside and work in Dubai residency rule was a big boon for professionals in workplaces where they are delivering or leading teams remotely.  

The road ahead for employees working in this region looks bright as these reforms would strengthen labour competencies, enrich the work environment, and put together an inviting job market.  The flexibility will help employers in 2021 to drive innovations, provide access to more talent, drive performance and results regardless of where the team is located in the region.

Empathy

Leaders will have to go beyond showing interest in the development of everyone and be empathetic towards employees who survived the crisis with them in 2020.  In fact, the ‘Global Workplace Study 2020’ by ADP Research Institute shows that employees are approximately 13 times more likely to be resilient when more workplace disruption occurs. Empathy was shown by employees in many ways e.g.  working from home in different circumstances or taking a pay cut to help companies save further job cuts. 

Technology innovation is here to stay

Organizations in both the public and private sectors had to make a change in the way they work and move to digitization.  Another conundrum we are presently facing is the real-estate impacts of employees desiring greater work-life flexibility. It’s unlikely that office spaces will disappear overnight, but rather a greater integration of virtual and in-person work is right around the corner. The recent decision by Dubai Government to work-from-home comes at the back of flexible working hours announced in April 2020. Workplace flexibility works best when implemented to address both the organization’s need to for a leaner workforce and employees’ need for work/life support.

Balancing wellness

The social element of your workplace has likely taken on a much different look in 2021. You may have employees in a social distance-friendly environment, employees working from home, or a mix of both.  Organizations will have to find ways to encourage them to stay connected while being physically disconnected.  Even before the pandemic COVID-19 had entered our vocabulary, burnout, stress and anxiety were significant issues in the workplace, and society generally.  Once we throw the mental health impact into the mix, and work-related stress is likely to reach staggering levels.  Going into 2021, leaders must promote the mental wellbeing and invest into benefits which will bring people together in a different way.

7- HR Revolution Middle East: What final tips would you give to business leaders at the beginning of 2021 with all the apprehensions and fears they have for the new wave of covid-19?

Mr. Vijay Gandhi:

Technology will continue to dominate the workplace and improve efficiencies.  However, the most valuable services in the marketplace will always be done better by humans. In an era defined by crisis, where emotional intelligence, compassion, resilience, and morality may prove more important than ever before, the future of work is human. If business is about humans, the future of work must be too.

One thing to look forward to in 2021 from job and career perspective is slow change.  Disruption has already happened.  However, more often and less discussed are the small changes occurring each day that eventually add up to huge impacts. The present moment is worthy of your attention.

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

Published

on

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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