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Triumph over Tragedy



Written by: Dr. M. Amr Sadik

Edited & Published by: Mariham Magdy

This is a real case demonstrating the strategic worth of Human Resources Management, which took place in a manufacturing organization.

One day in the early August 2006, the phone rang in my office. I was asked to go to the Chairman’s office along with the Vice President for an important meeting. As a matter of fact, those types of meetings most of the time are useless and end with no conclusion, and I hate to attend without pre-meeting agenda and/or without knowing what I’m supposed to contribute with or get out of it. All speculations went through my head, as I have just started this new assignment in early July, what went wrong?

At the Chairman’s office and over a cup of espresso, he addressed this question:

What would you do if the performance evaluation system does not work the way it is supposed to be, taking into account that we have tried to adopt several evaluation systems in the past years, but they all failed to produce the right results. Moreover, employees are frustrated with the results, morale is very down, many of our good people are thinking to resign, and of course, their performance is at the bottom level.”

There was no right or wrong answer to that question in my mind, but simply I have to think, act and evaluate differently. However, I have to provide some sort of provoking statements so they can give me time to investigate and analyze causes.

In straightforward answer to the Chairman and his Vice President I said:

There are no magic answers! And, I do not have a bag full of magic tricks, and most probably the systems have failed because you were copycatting other systems as is! Instead of imitating systems from here and there, you should have adopted and adjusted them first to your own environment and culture or even perhaps develop a complete new system“. A period of silence from both of them.

Anyway, we left the Chairman’s office wondering what we are going to do to overcome this tragedy.

We know that nobody likes performance evaluation systems too much. Managers find them unworkable and uncomfortable. Many experts think we should scrap them altogether. Employees do not hate the evaluation, but they hate how we evaluate them. Performance evaluation is often perceived as a technique of personnel administration, to a great extent this is a fact.

Back to my office and sitting with the HR team trying to understand what went wrong, and after a full investigation about the reasons of failure, I came to know that the implementation of 360 degree Performance System was very much wrong and as well as other performance evaluation systems they have used in the past.

I am a great believer that HR can do far better things rather than just copying systems from different companies, and that was the main reason behind the failure of performance system in this company.

As the company was going into a mega project to move from family business approach to corporate approach, we thought to create something unique that will differentiate them from other competitors.

I called for a meeting with the Chairman, VP, and the executive directors to get their reaction and then commitment on what HR is going to do. Before that, I came to know that the Vice President is a fan of the late Peter Drucker principles of Management by Objectives, so called MBO, and therefore I have decided to gain his vote during the meeting by adopting MBO in the performance evaluation criteria.

We have decided to create an in-house Performance Management System so called Panoramic Evaluation System using several concepts from all different approaches, and will involve everyone in the development of such system. It is a crazy idea, but I was convinced of its applicability!”

In a brainstorming session, we have agreed to evaluate our people on the following five (5) levels parameters:

Each level will be assigned a different weight factor.

A new question aroused, who will going to develop the company values and the core competencies? Spontaneously I said we will do it ourselves, our employees; as the principle idea to develop the Panoramic Evaluation System, is that all employees, labors to directors will participate in developing the system in which they will be evaluated on. The Chairman and all directors agreed.  

Furthermore, we agreed to use the company’s brand name as a catalyst. Through the employee competition, we have requested all employees to provide the best phrases that represent every letter of our trademark. Best statements was financially rewarded during annual staff party.

On a later stage, middle and top-level executives came together in a full-day workshop to convert these statements into actions and behaviors, so that we can measure them numerically.

In order to come with the core competencies we went further. We have decided to engage local business school, particularly those students who are interested in HRM and doing their postgraduate thesis. The result was overwhelming.

The core competencies that were developed by one of the students were approved by the business school to be the module for the similar manufacturing organizations in the country. Moreover, that student was hired in the company to manage the Performance Management System after the graduation.

So far, we have established our values, core competencies, and only five (5) major and critical job tasks was refined and agreed upon from the job descriptions, we called them job effectiveness description, in which we will use them on evaluating our people. 

As for MBOs’ and Projects, we further agreed that every member will have (3) annual objectives and one unique project, and in order to have consensus from all employees, HR have conducted employees’ opinion survey.

It took some time and dedication to develop this comprehensive program, but the results were magnificent as follow:

  1. Saving of a substantial amount in consultation that was estimated above US$250’000
  2. Achieved two distinctive awards; Organization with Innovative HR Practices & Best Continuous HR Strategy at Work

Remember, every accomplishment starts with the decision to try, and ability is what you are able to do, motivation determines what you do, and attitude decides how well you do it.


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



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:

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



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



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

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

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:

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:        Contact:   #WSDM_BI
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