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Listen; Think; Challenge; Strategise; Transform; Innovate.

These actions and behaviours all demand time - quality time.

By Chris O'Brien

Chris is Oakwood's Associate Consultant and works in our Associate Team
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 Business Leaders and to have energy to be creative, develop insights and be future.  And yet, in so many conversations with many HR students across the GCC it seems a lot of HR professionals (and most probably other professions as well) are focusing on tactical short-term solutions, volume work and administrative processes.  And this all takes time – too much time.  So, many HR professionals do not have the capacity and energy to think beyond the immediate and every day.

Yet, probably more than any other Region across the globe, the GCC is experiencing unparalleled rate of change, as epitomised by Saudi Arabia’s ambitious 2030 Vision.  If you look at any aspect of P.E.S.T.L.E (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, Ethical / Environmental) the GCC is changing before our very eyes. 
However, according to research, GCC countries work 18 hours more a week than in Germany, with residents of Dubai working among the longest hours in the world and up to 30.9 more days a year than their European counterparts.  

At the same time, according to a recent KPMG Report, the GCC region has developed an increased appetite for innovation and digital transformation.  With the growth of a digitally-inclined workforce and improved employee engagement, the HR sector is going to have to start taking a leading role in driving cultural and operational change (including, collaboration, diversity of thought, a shared vision and sense of ownership; leveraging innovation and potentially rethinking how business is done) within organisations, bringing in a new digital age and more flexible working patterns.  But does the existing HR Leadership, across both the Public and Private Sectors, have the appetite to take the lead and embrace these changes – to be leaders not followers – and do existing HR professionals have the capability and capacity?

The answer to both questions is probably not.  Global research repeatedly highlights, HR has fallen short in showing organisational leaders that it is able to consistently deliver any real strategic value and that its contribution tends to be limited to improved efficiencies and increased effectiveness.  This is no longer good enough!  People are the heart and brains of all organisations and therefore should be treated as resources to nurture and grow rather than commodities to trade and discard.  HR has the potential to position itself within organisational life as the ‘people experts’ and through the development of such expertise find ways to actively create organisational value rather than limit itself to merely adding value.

There is no easy ‘quick fix’.  So many good things are being done across the HR Profession in the GCC, including increasing Professional Development.  However, the intensity and focus of HR’s transformation from HR Management to HR Strategic Partnership needs to be accelerated and investments made in HR technology in order to free-up the highly capable HR Professionals so they can start delivering on our HR promise.  This transformation can only come from within HR if we are stay in control of our own destiny.