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Highlights from SHRM TECH 2019 Conference, Dubai

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Written by: Amira Haytham

In a matter of two days, SHRM Tech has succeeded to shed light on various topics from the effect of artificial intelligence on the HR world, to the transformations we need to endure and a glimpse of the technological future that is not so far away. David Green opened up the start of the conference mentioning the topics we’ll discuss and the importance of networking in the upcoming days.

Mark Levy

The Evolution of Employee Experience in a High-Tech World

Mark Levy steered the Employee Experience in Airbnb as the former CHRO and spoke exclusively on the benefits of ‘treating your employees how you want your costumers to be treated’ and the actions needed to be taken to accomplish a satisfying workforce. Levy started his talk with a question he was addressed by 5 years ago at the start of his journey at Airbnb, “Are you ready to change the world?”

 An essential factor is: “making your employees feel like they belong in the workplace.” Levy discussed. Attaining the mindset that you’re approaching your employees to do things with and for them, not to them, is the first step to satisfaction. From the most simple applications such as listening, co-creating and setting strategies with the employees to bringing the workplace to live by re-designing and even ‘creating a city branched into neighborhoods’ for your employees, brings the workplace to life. Through an illustration of a call center before and after re-designing it to the workers’ comfort, it demonstrated significantly the effect of the livelihood of the workers as well as the workplace.

For practicality, Levy suggested ways to answer the question, “How do we make our employees feel like they belong?” He further explained the ‘Life Dojo’ method, where a survey is sent specifically to each worker, asking them first, “What keeps them at night?” And subsequently provides them with a journey of self-improvement.

Zahid Mubarak

Making Sense of Data Analytics to Drive an Organization’s Value Creation

“How do we make sense of the data?” A question Mubarak focused his topic on. Data is the base of supporting fats, whether it was financial or non-financial. Zahid Mubarak stressed on the importance of dealing with the statistics rather than obtain it.

Mubarak explained how we need to condense the data into a form where we can extract necessary information. By engaging with the audience, Mubarak gradually asked a few questions involving statistics about the employee workforce, employment required, profit, and losses of a company. Eventually, through various stages of analysis, Mubarak shows how small differences in statistics cause an obvious gap in the finance and how it can cause recession and losses.

Dr. Anna Travis

Dr. Anna Travis focused on the role of agile leadership in a digitizing world. In the case of when Amazon retailed a ‘whole foods’ chain, Dr. Anna discussed the whereabouts in this successful organization.

Two main rules were laid out; experimenting and teaming up. To move fast, the organization needs to experiment, however, the experiments needed to happen within the team to succeed the organization’s upbringing. “The number of the team should be no bigger than the number of people we could feed with two pizzas,” Dr. Anna stated.

A challenge all organizations face is that no one is willing to suffer a string to get to the goal; a series of failing experiments is demotivating.

Referring back to a study in February 2001, Dr. Anna discussed how they reconsidered the way software needs to be developed so that people can work better. as hardware has been the recurrent usage, software has been in constant development, and quoting Mark Andreesen, Dr. Anna said, “in the future every company will become a software company.”

Dr. Heba Makram

Transformations are a make or break for any organization. As the word transformation is an overused term, Dr. Heba defines it as, “when a snake sheds its skin it changes. When a caterpillar becomes a butterfly it transforms.”

Transformation is as difficult as it seems, and for HR to transform into a beautiful butterfly, the managers must be prepared to overcome the obstacles.

“Be prepared to be disrupted,” Dr. Makram laid out the difficulties any transformation process would face. It is absolutely normal that the director will have moments of doubts, however, a supportive leadership should compensate. Another complication to put in mind, is the possible divide created in the organization. A diverge between the ones who support the change and the ones who are stuck in their comfort zones is inevitable.

Dr. Heba concludes by the importance of having a clear vision of the output desired out of the transformation process. To be able to withstand the obstacles of the journey, the first step is to find your ‘why’. And for further endurance of trusting your planned process, don’t mistake someone else’s vision for something you can borrow. Creating your own tactics and visualization for the future of your company has a much higher benefit than following the crowd.

Randa Farah

A world where everything is monitored and most jobs are replaced with Artificial Intellegence, where do humans and happiness stand? Already, technology forms a big part of our lives. Simple tasks such as sorting emails and searching a file name is accomplished in only a few seconds due to the evolution of technology. But how fast is this evolution growing? And how can Artificial Intelligence aid HR?

Randa explained how Volvo used artificial intelligence to recruit technicians using a car. Instead of a normal one-to-one interviews, the car can choose its own engineers.

It is no doubt that many jobs will disappear due to this evolution, such as bookkeepers, however, new jobs will evolve too.

Happiness leads to success, so how do companies achieve happiness at work? Maintaining a pleasant connection with the employees and receiving the outcome of hard work allows the employees to experience positive emotions in a repetitive way. 

Rana Askoul

Empathy in the time of technology

“The H in HR stands for human”

As our world evolves technologically, we direct all attention to adapting and utilizing the technology to our benefit, we tend to forget the essence of “human resources”: empathy. Rana started her talk by brilliantly reciting a story she wrote to her father after he passed away. Her story revolved around “eternal love”, which is a love that lasts forever.

She succeeded in projecting her emotions onto the minds of her audience, and when she was done, the entire crowd was breathing in unison, but a single emotion wandering among them, filling the hall with her story – not in words – but this time, in experience.

Referring back to Adam Smith, the father of economics, when he described empathy by, “Empathy is exchanging places in fancy with the sufferer”, and how empathy doesn’t contradict with our self-interest, which lays in the heart as a priority. Actually, empathy is critical for the survival of the human race.

Through some stories, Askool projected how empathy helped save the world; through Steven Pinker’s book: The better angels of our nature, where it embarked a great movement, the 80th century revolution, concerning ignored issues in its eras. Also, ‘uncle tom’s cabin’, the second bestselling book after the bible at its time, shed a light on the struggles of African-americans, and this novel carved out the civil war. Finally, a story all eyes glossed upon: Alan Kurdy. A young Syrian refugee who helped save a lot of lives. And through empathy, all this was possible.

As we strive to utilize technology, we must stay aware of its effect on our empathy.

“I feel your pain as long as you’re from another race.”

“The young are less empathetic.” Both of these statements are consequences of the overload of technology. Rana showed us statistically how generation Z are far more exposed to technology and social media, but still feel lonely and scared and might lose their emotional intelligence and their ability to connect and relate.

How do we claim our empathy back? Reconnect, assume positive things about the people and workplace, be kind to ourselves and care.

The SHRM Tech conference has not only been an eye-opener, but a source of new ideas and networks made. Even though I was the youngest to attend, I still found the talks both beneficial and fascinating. HR is not only a way of running your business, but it is an attitude and a lifestyle in your work-space.

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Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here: https://fowinsights.com/

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021

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The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s trends and opportunities

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

www.decodinghrevent.com

The world in 2020 has changed to a ‘new normality’ but what’s that ‘new normality’ everybody talks about? Is it here to stay? How is it affecting us in our daily lives in the different versions of ourselves? As a customer, an entrepreneur, a parent, a friend…a worker…

Our job is a key part of our lives and we are indeed living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and other HR challenges. It has become clear that few organisations are likely to revert to pre-pandemic practices even after a vaccine is found.

Decoding Future HR 2021 is bringing you the ideology of how today’s challenges are becoming tomorrow’s trends and opportunities resulting in HR excellence.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the trends and best practices shaping future HR
  • Get valuable insights from expert speakers
  • Share ideas and research to help your organisation reach its goals
  • Understand what do employees want in ‘New Normal’
  • Develop new vision for HRBP and Centre of Expertise
  • Identify, integrate and understand stakeholders to create an intentional employee experience
  • Approaches and elements to leadership development.

Some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Tshepo Yvonne Mosadi , Human Resources Director, The HEINEKEN Company
  • Sarah Tabet, Global HR Director/ D&I Leader | Author for “Inclusion Starts with U”, Schneider Electric
  • Wadah Al Turki, Country Talent Manager KSA and Bahrain, IKEA
  • Lesha Chakraborti, Head of HR – EMEA, Travelex
  • Shaban Butt, Director HR & Administration, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sajjad Parmar, Head of Rewards – APAC, eBay
  • Katey Howard, VP, Talent Management AMESA, Pepsico
  • Chen Fong Tuan, HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics
  • Prerna Ajmera, Senior Director, HR Experiences and Solutions, Microsoft
  • Václav Koranda, Vice President Human Resources / Member of the Board of Directors, T-System
  • Amy MacGregor, VP Employee Experience, Global HR, Manulife
  • Adwait Kashalkar, People Analytics and Programme Management Leader, APAC, Mastercard

Click here to view all speakers: www.decodinghrevent.com/speakers

At Wisdom we remain positive that ‘normality’ will soon return and that we will be able to physically meet together once again as speakers, delegates and sponsors at our beautiful venues around the world. But meanwhile, life continues and we need to keep in touch and learn from each other. This 24-hour virtual event will be of great benefit and value to your businesses and its continued development during these challenging times. While this virtual event comes at a lesser cost, it provides for now a wider reach into an international audience, with flexibility of access to content as well as allowing you to have the same opportunity as at a face-to-face session for one-to-one business meetings. We look forward to welcoming you in January.

Date and time: 19-20 January 2021Where: Virtual engaging platform
  Further information and bookings: www.decodinghrevent.com        Contact:
marketing@wisdom.events   #WSDM_BI
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