Our Thoughts

To succeed, invest in your people

10 Apr 2017

According to the Hays Recruiting experts Salary Survey of professionals working in the GCC, 15% of employers do not have the talent to achieve their 2017 objectives. With regards to career development, 55% of GCC professionals feel that there is no scope to progress in their current organisation and the same number anticipate moving employers within 2017.

With challenging market conditions continuing, organizations must review their approach to talent attraction and retention, and improve employee learning and development.

I spoke to Gary Hazel (GH), Head of Learning and Development at the Injazat Institute, to understand the role his team plays in the learning and career development requirements of Injazat, which has fostered a ‘learning culture’ that has become a key asset to the company. We also discussed how digital is impacting businesses and employee development.

Tell me a little about the team.

GH:We are currently a team of 6 specialist learning consultants, encompassing a wide range of skills and experience within the learning field to deliver services that support both Injazat and our clients.

What does your department deliver at Injazat and how does it impact internally and externally on your clients?

GH: We have 3 critical learning and development areas that we support within Injazat:

1. Staff Learning

We manage all learning initiatives that support Injazat’s Business Operations. Our learning initiatives are based on the following critical areas:

a) Business Critical: Learning to support our current client operations and ensure that we have the skills and capabilities to deliver the required technical support. The fact that this is business critical means that if this development is not delivered to our employees there may be a risk that we will not meet our current contractual agreements and impact client satisfaction. This learning follows a ‘blended approach’ and is not only instructor led but also project related with knowledge transfer and operational experience. We also ensure that employees hold the right certification in technologies that support the business, such as ITIL at foundation, intermediate and expert level, supporting our ISO certification as an organization.

b) Technology Upgrade: Being a technology company we continually strive to maintain the latest software or hardware to support our clients business operations. This requires a focus that ensures our employees remain both technically capable and qualified to support new technologies and upgrades. We assist many client projects with infrastructure upgrades, this drives our team to continually improve and deliver a high quality service.

c) Future Service: A critical area is the support we provide to Injazat’s technology roadmap. As an organization we innovate and introduce new services into our portfolio, this was evident with our new Cloud offering, we also have partners who introduce their services through Injazat, this requires preparation to ensure that we identify and develop the right talent with the required skills and competencies to introduce these new services.

2. UAE National Development

As a Mubadala Company we are focused on supporting our UAE Nationals as part of our Emiratisation strategy aligned with the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision.

We have developed a unique set of assets, tools and processes that allow us to deliver an effective UAE National program that aims to support the development and career progression of our Emirati employees. We have assessment centres that identify talent and potential within the Emirati workforce and, based on these assessments, we implement focused career plans that aim to enhance their skills in their current role, as well as for future roles.

Our success is not just measured through the number of UAE Nationals we have in our company as a percentage of the workforce, but also through their retention, the career progression made based on their performance and, most importantly, the positive impact they contribute to our business.

3. Client Engagement

Over recent years we have supported Injazat by providing our unique services to current clients, as well as gaining new clients. We design, develop and deliver impactful programs that support the introduction of new technologies to upskill our clients workforce and the change management process when new software is introduced.

We work closely with our clients to deliver specific IT related programs that help transform their business and also assist with their Emiratisation strategy, giving them the tools and processes to manage this internally.

Our model allows us to deliver services through Ti2 where we work with clients on site to support their learning needs or we work with partners to deliver services based on those needs.

What is the main challenge you see in Learning & Development?

GH: Many organizations see learning and development as an expense. This outdated idea needs to be replaced with the concept of ‘investing in people’ to attract talent and develop the critical skills needed to meet operational objectives and long-term business strategies.

For us, as learning & development professionals, we know the importance of continuous professional development, particularly in the business of IT where technology changes are often frequent and very dramatic.

Investing in people, how do you do this at Injazat?

At Injazat we understand that to ensure high standards when delivering existing and introducing new services, our people need to be valued and their skills, competencies and qualifications continually developed and enhanced.

Working with key business stakeholders we are building a ‘Learning Culture’ within Injazat, where knowledge is valued and seen as a key business differentiator. Our clients recognize and appreciate this investment in our people and long term this investment will deliver returns as we ensure all our employees are experts within their fields from which our clients will benefit.

What are the biggest changes you have seen within the learning and development field, how has it embraced digital?

GH: The biggest change in recent years is around digital learning. At Injazat we have adopted the 70:20:10 rule where 70% of the learning is operational experience, 20% is formal coaching and mentoring and 10% is actual classroom learning. Traditionally this was instructor lead and, whilst this is still very important, there is a shift to online learning and virtual learning.

I myself am currently studying with the CIPD for my professional status through an online and interactive campus that covers all aspects of digital learning in an engaging way. Within the UAE this is an emerging trend and mobile platforms are also increasingly important to learn through self-study, websites and internet.

This trend will continue into the future and is one that we are adapting at Injazat, using gamification tools, online platforms and education and knowledge sharing hubs.

In your opinion, how much has the org chart changed in the past three years, given the impact of technology and big data?

GH: Technology has had an impact on the org chart, seeing many changes in key personnel. The IT Department has become critical to an organization’s operation and the Security Department’s role is also growing.

Big Data is a new area but one that is becoming more influential as organizations use data to gain a critical business advantage. I am sure, in the future, we will see a role in the org chart for a Big Data Manager, Analyst and Data Scientist.

Digital natives, how should we train them, given that they have grown up in a connected mobile environment?

GH: Each learner is different and their learning style should always be taken into consideration in order to get the best from them.

The younger generation ‘digital native’ employees respond well to a ‘blended’ approach to learning that has a strong tendency towards the mobile environment. It is also important that they experience hands-on practical operational experience that gives them real skills in the workplace, this is covered by our 70:20:10 learning approach that I spoke about earlier.

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