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Triumph over Tragedy

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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.

Magazine

Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

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“Continuous Learning, adopting innovation & creativity and teamwork are among the guiding principles of success and excellence in the government sector” Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

Winner Name: Eng.  Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

Winner Title: Director Assistance for Control & Inspection for Economic Activities at Ministry of Industry & Trade in Jordan

Winning categories:

  1. The Gold Stevie Winner in the category “the most innovative Communications Professional of the year “
  2. The Silver Stevie Winner in the category “Innovation in Community Relations or public Services Communications”
  3. The Bronze Stevie Winner in the category “Innovative Management in Government – Organizations with 100 or more employees”
Brief Biography about the Winner:

Abeer Ramadna is the Director assistant of control and inspection unit at the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MIT) in Jordan, she has a Master Degree in Industrial Engineering- Engineering Administration / University of Jordan with “excellent degree”. Abeer has 20 years of experience in private and public sectors, and is a focal point for UNIDO at MIT in Jordan. Abeer is a certified Management development Expert from ITC/ Vienna in 2005, a certified Export Consultant to EU from CBI/Netherland in 2007, certified Lead Auditor for Quality Management ISO 9001:2015, a certified Engineer Expert in Quality and Environmental Management systems in 2018 and a certified EFQM Assessor from EFQM in 2019. Eng. Abeer has a wide professional expertise in many fields that allow her to provide consultations to the organizations in various fields including Quality Management, Environmental Management, preparing industrial polices, strategies and plans, Inspection polices, Monitoring & Evaluation systems, implementing the ISO9001, ISO14001 ISO14040s standards, and conducting technical industrial sectors studies.

Eng. Abeer won three Stevie Awards from three different categories after participation in Middle East Stevie Awards in 2020, these are:

  1. Gold Stevie Winner in a category:” The Most Innovative Communications Professional of the Year”. These categories honor the most innovation in communications practice, management, and use of technology.
  2. Silver Stevie Winner in a category: “Award for Innovation in Community Relations or Public Service Communications”. These categories honor innovation in communications practice, management, and use of technology in the public sector.
  3. Bronze Stevie Winner in a category: “Award for Innovative Management in Government “. These categories honor innovation in executive management including the Award for Innovative Management in a number of industry sectors.

Abeer has been published scientific papers in one of the world accredited journals in E-government. Titled “Barriers to E-Government Adoption in Jordanian Organizations from Users’ and Employees’ Perspectives” in 2017, the link is:

https://www.igi-global.com/article/barriers-to-e-government-adoption-in-jordanian-organizations-from-users-and-employees-perspectives/181280

and published another scientific paper titled: “SEM approach to determine factors affecting e-government success in Jordan”,  the link is:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333488499_SEM_approach _to_determine_factors_affecting_e-government_success_in_Jordan

She was selected as a Judge at the Best Jordanian chemical product Award in all three cycles of it during 2015 to 2020, Judge in the 2019 management & entrepreneur Awards categories judging committee Stevie Awards, and Judge at the best industrial engineering project for the Jordanian universities in 2019. She participated in several national and International conferences, meetings and presented papers, as a representative of the MIT / Jordan.

https://www.facebook.com/abeer.ramadna

http://linkedin.com/in/abeer-ramadna-msc-ie-pe-cbi-em-itc-mde-66928170

https://stevieawards.com/ar/mena/eng-abeer-ramadna-2

http://jordanembassyus.org/news/jordanian-engineer-wins-three-middle-east-stevie-awards?fbclid=IwAR2iBj4P8uHERE_Q2Yf-hatk2yJ-bGeq1g8MaYPIz_HJ42HqUyA6UCPehdM

Stevie Award winning Case Study:

  • Developing action plans of inspection development to governmental institutions (Inspectorates) work in fields of health, Environment, labor, safety for economic sectors in Jordan.
  • Supervision of developing Electronic Inspection System for governmental inspectorates.
  •  Conduct many awareness workshops for governmental inspectorates and for private sector institutions.
  • Conduct many workshops and training sessions as A National trainer of trainers in the shaping of future studies.
  • Secretariat of higher committee for Inspection development of Economic Activates that consists from high level management in governmental inspectorates.
  • Abeer is trusted as a competent team leader and confident expert in Quality management & Inspection systems
  • Abeer conducted in 2018 a study titled the Industrial engineering in the government sector in Jordan, current situation and future opportunities and present it in the 2nd International Conference on Industrial Systems & Manufacturing Engineering (ISME’19) Nov, 11-12, 2019 in Amman.
  • Abeer was chosen after a series of selection process as one of the National participants in the Civil Service Development Program in Jordan and attended all phases including the leadership and developing high performance teams at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst UK during 2019.

Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna “Continuing to contribute achievements and make positive impacts are goals that are achievable with the presence of strong & positive attitude, self-motivated character & determination.”

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Articles

Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Asiacell

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“Winning such an award requires hard work and we encourage other companies to focus on their customers and local communities in order to excel”

Winning Organization: Asiacell

Nomination: Award for Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries (including Telecom)

Brief about the Organization:

Asiacell is a leading provider of telecommunications and data services in Iraq. As part of international telecommunications company Ooredoo Group, Asiacell was Iraq’s first mobile telecommunications provider to achieve nationwide coverage. Asiacell is also a leading internet provider with its 3.9G data services, offering the best network coverage in all of Iraq since January 2015.

Stevie Award Winning Case Study:

As part of its commitment to expand network coverage in Iraq, Asiacell has continued to support the redevelopment of the country’s infrastructure and economy and the provision of high-quality connectivity solutions. It has enhanced its “Hot Zone” restoration strategy by putting 200 sites on air and connecting over 500 sites to 3G.

Focused on improving the quality of life for communities, Asiacell’s CSR initiatives are focused on key areas, such as health, education and culture. Asiacell has equipped several higher education institutions with computer labs and supported the renovation of schools, with the aim of providing quality education infrastructure. It also partnered with the Chibayish Environmental Tourism Organization to build the first Iraqi Marshlands heritage museum in Ahwar as part of its efforts to revive Iraq’s Marshland, while generating a positive effect on tourism and jobs creation. 

Recognising that its people are its key asset, Asiacell continues to roll out initiatives focused on engaging and empowering employees. It has invested heavily in digital transformation, including digital upskilling for employees, and streamlining of various internal processes in order to nurture a digital-first culture that embraces innovation.

We are so glad to be recognized as a successful and innovative telecommunication company in Iraq with a Stevie Award for “Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries”. Recognition from the Stevie Awards means a lot to us and motivates Asiacell to continue to serve the community with professionalism. Winning such an award requires hard work and we encourage other companies to focus on their customers and local communities in order to excel.

THANK YOU

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Articles

Qisaty Project & Developing Talent in Children with Special Needs in Egypt

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Edited By: Mahmoud Mansi

Qisaty Project – founded by Mona Lamloum – was launched on 26th December 2019 to support children talents through a series of storytelling, writing and drawing workshops.

The total number of children who participated in the storytelling workshop is 60 including the most talented 20 who were selected to the story writing sessions, 16 children ranging from 6 to 14 years old got their stories selected to be drawn by 19 children with special needs.

The drawing workshops were held in 3 cities in Egypt with cooperation with 2 special needs associations; Nida Society Rehabilitation with both branches in Cairo and Luxor. 14 children, and Ashab El-Erada Association in Alexandria. 5 children.

The children have different disabilities, hearing loss, partial blindness, movement disability, learning difficulty disability, mental disability and increased electricity in the brain.

Of course such an interesting project needs proper preparation and an intellectual plan. Mona Lamloum shared some of the challenges that she and her team have faced during the project:

1-The global pandemic and the sudden lockdown.

2- The fact that most of the children with special needs suffer from many chronic diseases which lowers their immunity, in addition to the huge responsibility that lies on the team while holding the workshop during the pandemic.

3-The fear of the parents of the children with special needs participation at the drawing workshops due to the pandemic and the lack of their immunity. Which was managed to concur with the help of the project partners in drawing workshops. 

Eventually, Qisaty Project was held at exceptional circumstances and according to deadlines set up before the global Corona pandemic. However, the team did their best to get the project done within the lockdown with a quality that is aspired from the beginning, and that was done simply by teamwork, sharing a unified vision, and collaborating to find new solutions.

The result is 16 short stories in addition to 64 drawings by hands of talented children with special needs and with variable disabilities from three cities: Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor. Each drawing tells a different scene from a short story inspired from the children themselves to be published as a grand book that gathers the short stories and the drawings of all the talented young participants.

Acknowledgements:

Qisaty Sponsors:

– Amideast: Hosted the story telling, story writing workshops and the day that gathered the writers and children with special needs mixed day.

– Nahdet Misr Publishing House.

Media Sponsors:

– Marj3 Platform

– HR Revolution Middle East

– EBBY

– Arablit Quarterly

Children with special needs Associations:

– Nida Society Rehabilitation with both branches in Cairo and Luxor.

– Ashab El-Erada Association in Alexandria.

Qisaty Trainers:

– Hanan El-Taher.

– Mona Lamloum.

– Zeinab Mobark.

Designing Storytelling and writing workshop:

-Mona Lamloum

Writing workshops:

– Mona Lamloum

– Yaqoub El-Sharouni

Drawing workshop:

– Under the supervision of Shoikar Khalifa,

 – With the help of respectful team at Nida Association at Cairo and Luxor.

 – Ashab El-Erada Association at Alexandria by Sahar Zaiton with the help of Aliaa Abd-Elsalam.

Team Members:

– Rawan Said

– Ahmed Ismail

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