30/12/2010

Why There Is A Need To Omanise?

Let us go on this hypothetical and imaginary ride and route for a change. There is life and a lot of oil, gold and other resources available in Mars. It is now 2020 – and Branson has made it all easy for all to travel in space. You are asked to form a Company that will take you there and establish your own operations there. Let us say the Mars Government has given you the Big Contract to tap in these resources – but one of the conditions and stipulations are that you have to give jobs and job opportunities to Martians – many that are poor and unemployed – and give them also an opportunity to be responsible for their own future, fate, destiny and prospects. You know that you will mint a lot of money there – do you go – or refuse and put your foot down to say that you will not employ any Martians – because this is your Company – and you call the shots?

The same logic and principle would apply if I as an Oman were to open a Company in India, Pakistan, Philippines, UK, Europe, USA etc – so why should it be different for you as an Expatriate to understand and appreciate that this also applies here? If you are an Omani, I would consider that the stakes and responsibilities are even higher as part of your citizenry and social responsibilities – not the same or lesser! Anyway, as part of many Companies nowadays (including NGOs – Non-Governmental Organizations) worldwide adhere to the same focus, outlook and principle – and forms as part of the CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility – Mission and Vision Statements of many such companies and corporations worldwide.

In all my career life as a Human Resources Professional, there is nothing that has hurt and pained me more than the negative perception and stereotyping that goes all the time about Omani employees. One such perception among especially Expatriate Managers is that the Omanis are lazy and not capable. Admittedly there are bad eggs (fish) in each basket – but this too applies back home. I must stress here not all of the expatriate managers are to blame. Some Omani managers also want to act ‘foreign’ to their own. Most of them expatriates are impartial and indifferent. But there is this tiny section that still today has a low opinion about local recruits. Though they are few in numbers, the damage they cause is tremendous!

This also applies to the Omani employee as well. As part of the workforce – there is a great need to reciprocate to be more tolerant, understanding, patient and prove their capabilities, competencies, talents – and also to understand the other point of view, outlook and priorities – that are usually different from their own. Many of them just switch off instead of addressing a problem or a strained relationship and interface with the expatriate manager mainly – and this only makes matters worse.

When one such expat manager leaves, he passes on the message to his successor and others that those locals are difficult to handle and deal with. Those who actually work hard (and are dedicated, loyal and committed) suffer most because of this perception. Many Omanis given the respect, esteem, chance and opportunity have excelled themselves – and proved themselves.

In my Job aspects, I have seen live examples of Omani staff ‘written off’ (or not that good or high potential or future prospects) as not being capable and competent – and lack the right attitudes and approaches – and ethics and professionalism – and the same people are today General Managers, Senior Managers and Directors in other Companies – or even the same Company when the ‘Good Managers’ willing to listen and give a break in chance and opportunity have come in. So what had gone wrong before and how has gone different? Could also be with the new boss – who threw them at the deep end and they had to learn to swim fast! Some of the others who went Public would now be called first by their titles – faced by the same crowd that had looked down on them before. That is the twists and ironies of life!

We must also not ignore the new worldwide and global trend, arena and ‘developments’ in that the current generation is very impatient, intolerant, want results fast, and can be easily rebellious. When both these generations – expatriate and local – meet and collide vis-à-vis younger and older generations – let them be between even locals for that matter.

The jobs of Human Resource Professionals have never been easier as the days go by – in addition he or she is expected to be ‘The Corporate Conscience Keeper’ and the vanguard of CSR – in addition to not just do his own job aspects within the company and staff handling – but also outside – including customers, clients, the Governmental parties and Society as a whole – and to ensure ‘The corporate fabric’ is not torn up – or the Company is allowed to suffocate from inside. By profession,

I have authored five books and two of them are in Management – Psychology of Arab Management Thinking and A Cry For Help. I invite you to read more of today’s topics in these books – more details you can find in my website www.alsuleimany.com

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