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Q&A with Alan Williamson CEO of Taleem family of Schools

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“Staff sense of well-being is fostered from the knowledge that we as an organisation are actively engaged with them and strive to recognise their worth” Alan Williamson 

Interviewer:
Chris Cummings, CEO of Sonas Group and the Wellbeing @ Work Events

Brief Biography about the Interviewee:

Alan Williamson graduated from Glasgow University with an honors degree in History and Russian Language and has also attended the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His teaching career began in the Anderson School in the Shetland Islands and has covered schools across the United Kingdom, progressing from teaching and leading departments in Humanities and Languages to two Headships in the UK. 

Prior to working in Dubai, Alan is particularly proud of work undertaken in the independent sector with Rugby School (in Warwickshire, England) through a partnership with the remarkable Arnold Scholarship Foundation.
Alan became the Principal of Kings’ School Al Barsha in January 2016 after heading up the new Kings’ Secondary in 2015. 

He joined Taaleem, as CEO in July 2019 excited by the incredible opportunity to lead a Schools Group with a diverse curriculum portfolio, schools in the two major cities of the UAE and an ambitious agenda for expansion, further improvement and innovation.

1.Chris Cummings: We’re thrilled that you’ll be joining us at our Well-Being @ Work event on 3 March 2020 in Dubai. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing?

Alan Williamson: I am doing very well, thank you.  It has been an incredibly busy but exciting first year in my new role with Taaleem which has a diverse portfolio of schools, across a variety of curriculum and context. Our Board has ambitious plans, especially in terms of expansion and we are busy building a new, second campus to cater for the overwhelming demand for places at our Raha International School in Abu Dhabi.

The organisation is also playing its part in raising standards locally through partnerships with the authorities where our expertise and experience is being used to develop and administer other groups of government and private schools.  A major priority for us at the moment is to make sure that we have sufficient talent and resources in place for us to play a greater and more prominent role across the education sector in the region. 

2.Chris Cummings: As CEO of the Taaleem family of schools, what challenges does your industry face when it comes to staff well-being at work?

Alan Williamson:The quality of a school never exceeds the quality of its staff, therefore our first challenge in this expansive stage of our growth, is the recruitment of outstanding educators in a very competitive global market. Our staff wellbeing starts at the very early stages of this global search. A proactive, empathetic and engaged HR department is essential to the successful onboarding of new recruits. It is also essential that their many questions and concerns can be anticipated, answered, their fears allayed, and their confidence buoyed for them to make, what most see as a major life decision.

The retention and wellbeing of existing staff is a top priority for any school. We are all acutely aware of the work/life balance challenge. The concerning issues around it must be regularly visited to try to ensure that teacher burn out, disillusionment and despair can be recognised early and remedied effectively.  For all staff, both new and existing, regular progress reviews are calendared where professional, wellbeing and personal issues can be aired and addressed. It is important that I, as a leader, spend as much time as is humanly possible at ‘the chalk face’ actively listening and engaging with our staff.

Through my interactions I have found that our industry leading salary and benefit are important to teachers. However, it is rarely their number one priority; job satisfaction, professional development and the mapping of a progressive career path for them often outweighs pure fiscal gain. Their sense of wellbeing is fostered from the knowledge that we as an organisation are actively engaged with them and strive to recognise their worth. We are fortunate that being a large organisation, we can take a holistic view for and of our staff, to enthusiastically plan with them to achieve their personal and professional goals. We are proud that many of our middle and senior leaders have ‘come up through the ranks’.

3.Chris Cummings: What trends or strategies have you seen developing over the past 12 months when it comes to wellness at work? 

Alan Williamson: Firstly, we have increasingly acknowledged that well being and mental health in the workplace are recognized to be of key strategic importance for a successful business. We also recognize that being a teacher is a stressful vocation. To this end we have embedded in our schools, structured support and guidance through peer support, line management and an external employee counselling service. Taaleem partners with an external employee assistance program provider to ensure the mental health and well-being of our staff is protected. Employees who face immediate, concerning personal or professional difficulties can ultimately contact me personally and in confidence.

4.Chris Cummings: What are you most looking forward to about Well-Being at Work Event this year?

Alan Williamson: I always look forward to listening to inspiring speakers and learning from the panel discussion sessions to hear of what works in organisations and industries different to our own. The latest research on staff engagement, satisfaction and productivity is always fascinating; also, the initiatives that are working well for others. Who wouldn’t want to hear the latest research that shows that ‘Ping Pong is a proven, cost effective approach to wellbeing in the workplace’? 

5.Chris Cummings: What’s your vision for the workplace of the future, in terms of employee engagement, culture and well-being?

Alan Williamson: It is fascinating to speculate what the workplace of the future will look like in terms of employee engagement, culture and wellbeing. We can be certain that there will be many jobs in the future that don’t exist today. We can also be certain that AI will play an increasing part in all of our lives, hopefully to relieve us of the more mundane tasks and robotics of the more physical repetitive tasks.

In terms of employee engagement and as more time is available for critical, reflective and innovative thinking, mental and physical health will be crucial to a positive and productive life. For wellbeing, I hope that in the culture of the future workplace, more and more people will be encouraged to share their feelings and experiences in a positive and supportive work environment. A major future challenge I see is how to facilitate this when increasingly the workspace is not physical and future workforces are engaged remotely on virtual, collaborative projects.

6.Chris Cummings: Any tips on how delegates can get the most out of the Well Being at Work Event?

Alan Williamson: Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people you don’t know or engage with people you find interesting and inspiring. Forge a relationship and keep in contact with them!

7.Chris Cummings: Why do you encourage other professionals to attend Well Being at Work Event this year?

Alan Williamson: The FOW Wellbeing event will be an incredible opportunity to expand your network and knowledge as well as inspiration for new initiatives in your organisation.

Articles

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

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Testimonials from Certified HR Professionals in the Middle East

Journalism: Menna Hamdy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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HRCI Assumes ISO International Secretariat Role for Technical Committee 260 on Human Resource Management

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May 04, 2021 07:00 ET | Source: HRCI

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — HRCI®, the premier HR credentialing and learning organization, is honored to announce that the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has appointed HRCI as the International Secretariat for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 260 on Human Resource Management. ANSI is the U.S. member body to the ISO.

ISO TC 260, formed in 2011, is responsible for the development of a series of standards for human resource management processes and practices. There are 19 standards and technical specifications published, with 13 more under development. One of the most noteworthy standards from this work is ISO 30414, Human Capital Reporting, which many Chief Financial Officer’s believe is a safe harbor for the recent ruling from the SEC requiring Human Capital Management Disclosures. The forthcoming ISO 301415 standard will also be an important standard for organizations, helping them create a culture of Diversity and Inclusion.

HRCI looks forward to providing effective leadership and continuing the development of additional standards to guide and optimize organizational performance, value creation, sustainable development and workforce productivity/satisfaction/engagement.

“In keeping with HRCI’s role as the global leader in certification programs, we are excited to be selected as the ISO Technical Committee on Human Resource Management. Leading this initiative to develop standards and practices for global human resources management is a natural expansion of HRCI’s responsibilities to the HR community,” said Dr. Amy Dufrane, SPHR, CAE, HRCI Chief Executive Officer.

“We are proud that HRCI is at the helm of standardization efforts that focus on human resources, which is often a vital factor in an organization’s success,” said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. “We are excited to see additional progress unfold that will protect and support the interests and vitality of companies, and their employees, on a global scale.”

About HRCI®

HRCI®, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is the premier credentialing and learning organization for the human resources profession. For over 45 years, we have set the global standard for HR expertise and excellence through our commitment to the development and advancement of businesspeople in the people business. HRCI develops and offers world-class learning, as well as the administration of eight global certifications and is dedicated to helping professionals achieve new competencies that drive business results. Learn more at www.hrci.org.

About ANSI
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity. Its membership is comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations. The Institute represents and serves the diverse interests of more than 270,000 companies and organizations and 30 million professionals worldwide. ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). For more information, visit www.ansi.org.

About ISO
ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 165 national standards bodies through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges. The Central Secretariat in located in Geneva, Switzerland. Learn more about our structure and how we are governed.

ISO is the Organization for International Standards. It is a non-governmental global entity founded in 1947 and is comprised of 165 countries who come together through National standards bodies to develop proprietary, industry, and commercial global standards. The most recognizable and noteworthy series of standards is ISO 9001 Quality Management.
www.iso.org

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/05/04/2222124/0/en/HRCI-Assumes-ISO-International-Secretariat-Role-for-Technical-Committee-260-on-Human-Resource-Management.html

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

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Interviewer: Mariham Magdy

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

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

ICS Learn Student:

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

THANK YOU

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