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    The Great HR Revolution: Reshaping the Future of Work in the Middle East

    December 13, 2022

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    The Great HR Revolution: Reshaping the Future of Work in the Middle East


    In a survey published by PwC Middle East in 2022, 50% of respondents believed that the role of HR professionals needs to transform into that of a talent champion and change catalyst. 

    However, this was not always the case. For a long time, the role of HR professionals was confined to that of a service provider and custodian of company policies. This was in no way unique to the Middle East alone but prevalent globally.  

    In fact, the unique challenges borne out of COVID-19 played a major role in changing the traditional perception of HR functions. As the pandemic disrupted the normal way of working, both businesses and employees found themselves turning to the HR functions to help them navigate the unknown landscape. 

    The Changing Role of Human Resources 

    It can be said that the transformation of HR was already underway before the pandemic. While factors such as urbanization and a change in demographics played a role, the rapid pace of technological development and widespread proliferation of mobile phones also set the tone for the digitalization of the HR function. 
    In this landscape, the arrival of the pandemic and the subsequent widespread disruption of normal life put HR in the driver’s seat of change. From 2020 to 2021, HR professionals operated in crisis mode. On the one hand, they had to work with the C-suite to implement their strategies to keep the operations running, and on the other hand, they had to figure out a way to provide mental and physical health support to employees. The only way this was possible was through radically reinventing the function itself and embracing digitalization like never before.  

    In essence, while the digitalization of HR as a function had begun, the pandemic accelerated this transformation. 

    Fast Tracking the Digitalization of HR  

    There’s no doubt that the Middle East is heading toward a digital revolution. In fact, according to Gartner, IT spends in the MENA region is set to touch $1.7 billion in 2022. In a recent power lunch hosted by Young Arab Leaders (YAL) and Darwinbox, the fastest-growing HR tech unicorn, members from various industries, as well as the Darwinbox team, came together to discuss how digital and Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation can transform employee experience and efficiency at workplaces across the UAE.  

    A few of the suggestions for HR that emerged were: 

    Encourage a Culture of Innovation

    One of the YAL members and a business leader at IBM, Ms. Heba Syed opined that the key is to create a culture of innovation and problem-solving within the organization. According to Ms. Syed, companies operating in problem-solving mode are the ones who find the best solutions to emerging problems. Here’s Ms. Heba Syed hearing her views.

    Keep an Agile Mindset 

    According to H.E. Khalfan Belhoul, in order to adapt your business for the fourth industrial revolution, agility is crucial, along with a mindset of acceptance for new technologies. While every technological advancement comes with a bundle of advantages, we must also prepare for the associated challenges of adopting the latest technologies.  

    Invest in a Digital Strategy and Reskilling

    YAL member and HR leader in the banking industry, Ms. Dua Al Toobi shared her opinion that in today’s world, digitalization of HR is not a luxury but a vital requirement to ensure the survival of your business. Businesses need to invest in a sound digital strategy. From a talent perspective, Ms. Toobi says that reskilling the workforce is the way forward. Listen to her full interview below. 

    Key Takeaways 

    While the HR function has traditionally not commanded the lion’s share of an organization’s technological budget, this is changing quite rapidly. As organizations progressively discover the positive correlation between HR metrics and business metrics, the role of HR will change dramatically. HR will assume its position at the core of a sustainable business strategy, empowered by technology. What’s required now is a mindset to build a digital organization and embrace the future of work in the Middle East. 

    Find out how can digitize your HR functions and redefine the future of work within your organization with Darwinbox, book a demo today! 

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