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The HR Issues and Challenges in the Middle East To where from here?

1st AUB/OSB Middle East Conference March 1-2 2007

John S Maxwell,

Director General

The Middle East Today Political Climate Business Climate

Recent Middle East History

Discovery of oil in the 1940s & 50s caused an inflow of Company tied expatriates, mainly oil production & services Development of sustainable infrastructure in the 80s & 90s caused inflow of non-aligned expatriates across construction, energy service industries.

Principal Influences
Economic history and trends Governments Laws and regulations Regional Activities (MENA) Culture Religious influences

No current Income tax GST-possible

Benefits - Mandated Transparency ? Nationalization of workforce Labour law Revision?


Business Climate
Robust growth in Gulf Countries
Driven by Oil Price & Growing business hubs & Tourist growth Air traffic growth (Dubai- 70 Million per year capacity) Substantial proportion of Expatriates providing both the skilled and unskilled Labour force

But Why do they come?

No personal Taxation thus an opportunity to obtain a higher disposable income while having many goods & services supplied. The opportunity to achieve a higher level position than may have been possible in home Country. The spirit of adventure Which leads us to

My Personal view
The Middle East where HR Cultures Collide

What are the Issues they create?

Differing level of professional education resulting in
Differing approaches to challenges Differing level of creativity Differing level of ethical behaviours Differing work ethics Differing willingness to help nationalization Differing cultural adjustment

It is not enough to take practices existing in one country and apply them in another country.


Because the underlying basis, i.e.

varies substantially across expatriates


Cultural Implications
Cultural differences
The meaning of time Individual vs. team Work life vs. family / social life Career expectations Gender roles Personal recognition


Manifestations of Culture
Symbols Heroes Rituals

Core Values

Collective Activities Models of Behavior Language, Dress, Food


Motivating and Rewarding

Management by Subjectives Effective Motivation and Reward Systems Implementing Change Attitude to Co-workers and Authority Typical in: Intrinsic satisfaction in being loved and respected Father changes course Family members Parent figure China Middle East Turkey Management by Job Description Promotion to greater position and larger role Management by Objectives Pay for performance and problems solved Shift aim as target moves Specialists and experts Group members Norway Great Britain U.S. Management by Enthusiasm Participating in the management of creating new realities Improvise and attune Co-creators Individuals Sweden Silicon Valley, U.S. Australia

Change rules and procedures Human Resources Superior role France Argentina Japan


Evolution of an Overseas Operation

Number of Employees Expatriates Local Nationals

Local Nationals become TCNs


Source: Organization Resources Counselors, Inc.


Our Professional Opportunities

Leverage Culture Sensitivity Co-operation & Commitment


So what do we do?
Embrace the Cultural difference For us to stay vital, everyday use of new technologies and information pathways is critical. We also need to recognize that our profession is changing.


Use Technology
Software applications allow HR & Line managers to
Rate employees Model salary increase budgets Grant salary increases Enroll employees in training programs Outsource payroll


The systems being used are

Internet Intranet Bulletin boards E-mail Electronic conferencing


Our Success is in
New ways of operating to promote work force effectiveness Changes in the workplace are driving changes in work force structure


Prepare People for Tomorrow becauseJob responsibilities are shifting, as are lines of authority. Responsibility, power and authority are being pushed down to the lower levels.


Enhance Communications
Communications across all parts of an organization are vital but just consider, not all cultures communicate the same way So despite what IT thinks, enabling people to share their ideas does to ensure they will do it, they will not unless it is compatible with their culture and in their best interests."


Your Success is dependent upon

Your ability to tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty will serve you as a critical skill We must constantly retool ourselves, become perpetual students, or we risk becoming obsolete.
As Woody Allen once said: We live in a world with too many moving parts


What is needed?
Organizations need people who can take care of problems, not merely point them out.
Our work processes are always cleanest when we design them to be solely in service of outcomes.


Dare to be different!
Its your contribution that counts. Not the hours (or years) you put in. Or how busy you are. Make a difference. Add enough value so everyone can see that something very important would be missing if you left.

Your Future
In todays world, career success belongs to the committed. To those who work from the heart.who invest themselves passionately in their jobs.and who recommit quickly when change reshapes their work.


Final Thought
Commitment is a gift you should give to yourself.