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Solving the People Management Confusing Equation: Freedom within Control

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As HR professionals in Egypt; we have been recently facing the dilemma of how we can balance between the Employee welfare while applying a sound management system able to control my people by different means; tracking their attendance, their performance, their behaviors & their attitudes.

I have recently met with, whether management professionals or employees who have a misleading interpretation for the concept of “Employee Welfare” in their minds, which unfortunately results in: or a wrong application of management systems, in the case of management professionals, or a non-justifiable dissatisfaction, in the case of employee.

Now let us go in more details for the above case.

The misleading concept I have recently found for the “Employee Welfare” in the understanding of some of, whether management professionals or employees, which is most probably inspired from “Google” as they strongly assume, is that they believe that opening the utmost limits for flexibility is the right application for a “Google” working environment that will perfectly lead in a better employee satisfaction.

The problem is that just hearing “peels” about a workplace or a management style without going in details tackling what goes in the background of such application, will definitely lead to shocking ends.

It is quite known to all of us that “Google” was named for four consecutive years as the Best Company to work for, “the Employer of choice”, relevantly as a result of all the efforts they really exert to customize all suitable perks they can give for their people, and how they can foster a work environment capable of energizing people to give their best ever.

However, let’s go deeper in examining the “Google” Employee Welfare concept. Is it all about giving employees an utmost flexibility & bestowing them with swank perks? Could this be my only perception, whether as an employee or as a manager for the wished work environment I hope to work in or apply?

My dear employee, please don’t just take the story from outside ignoring the inside details which most probably represents the golden threads that mainly lead to the final destination you are limiting your view to it.

In 2015, Laszlo Bock, Google’s People Operations Department Head, issued the “Work Rules” book in which he explains with more details a lot about Google internal work rules & their people management perspectives.

If you just went in reading this book you will initially learn how much do they force a very strong system for hiring aiming to maintain the quality of people-in “Google” so that not to affect the “Google” life/work quality inside, to the extent that “Google” at a time became infamous for asking prospective candidates to endure lots & lots of interviews.

They do believe that focusing intensely on hiring processes, helps them in choosing people well and reaping the rewards from its selectivity. The Company is incredibly choosy with who it picks to become “Googlers”.

My dear Manager, a moment here please, aspiring to apply the “Google Environment” in your work place, are you pretty sure that you first have inside all the people fitting in to the maturity of the freedom you will be granting?

If yes or no, do you have an internal well-designed system capable of tracking whoever could abuse whatever freedom you will be granting?

Another example from “Google Operations” is that, they apply a goal-setting performance management system deliciously complicated to make sure that if the rating of an employee is a hair higher than someone else’s he would be rewarded, as a result, with a slightly higher raise.

My dear Manager/My dear Employee, I think we shall not debate anymore the necessity & the effectiveness of applying the right performance management system in place, with the claim of fostering a flexible work-environment. You can rather change your perspective for how you are going to manage the results of your people ratings and how you will relate them to impact on other HR functions, so the debate now is different! It is no more about applying or not the performance management; it is how to just apply it in the way that can most benefit the main stakeholders of the process: the Employee & the Company.

Don’t ever misinterpret the Google concept by having loose internal systems in place for people management, claiming that you are applying the “Google” flexibility style.

It was really astonishing to me to see this in reality, to the extent of refusing in some cases to implement an internal attendance tracking system, failing in this way to track any record by any means for the basics of employee systematic tracking.

I chose only those two functions as slight examples to support my idea, I don’t want to go in more details about their internal processes & policies, but I just wanted to indicate the complicated systems in the background that apparently seem to who doesn’t study well the case, as if it is only about applying flexibility without exerting all these efforts in the background for the control.

The main characteristics we can simply deduce from Google’s People Operations policies then, it is not the uncontrollable flexibility that can realize the “Employee Welfare” in its right meaning, but rather partnering the employee as much as possible in every perspective related to his well-being this is number 1, in addition to making all people decisions informed by data which definitely requires,  first of all, implementing the right systems in place that can track consistently & accurately employees’ output by all means and in all functions, and thus foster fairness in each and every essence.

This is the title I chose for my article “Freedom within Control” it is neither an utmost Freedom nor a rigid Control; it is rather the art of balancing between giving your people their freedom within a mature essence of control, contributing effectively in formulating a such amazing and fair work environment.

I am totally with fostering every aspect of freedom & flexibility in the workplace, but I am against the illogic application of it, and the incorrect myths built in the minds of some employees about the “Freedom” concept applied in the most famous Companies highly rated internationally as “Employer of Choice”.

Written By: Mariham Magdy

Articles

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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