SABIC sees new human resource challenges with rising employee numbers, global business growth

514Over the past 10 years, the SABIC employee count has doubled to 40,000 employees located around the world, creating various challenges in terms of not only the company’s recruitment strategy and strategic workforce planning, but also the leadership skills required.

Speaking at the 12th International Arab Society for Human Resources Management (ASHRM) Conference and Exhibition in Dubai, Fahad Al-Sheaibi, Executive Vice President, SABIC Human Resources, said many company employees now need global leadership skills as they work with and direct employees who have a different life and work experience to their own. It is in this context that “getting the best out of our people and leveraging their cultural experience and embracing their diversity can be a major source of competitive advantage,” Al-Sheaibi said while addressing a host of academic thought-leaders, high-level HR professionals and leading authors.

On SABIC’s Talent Management Strategy to meet these growing challenges, Al-Sheaibi said that the company has adopted sophisticated talent management practices to identify what are the first, easy steps that the organization can take and to initially focus on those. “For SABIC this meant gradually implementing a global approach to performance appraisal through what we call the Talent Review Process.”

Al-Sheaibi elaborated that SABIC has identified four priorities for achieving its 2025 vision: focusing on the culture of the organization and the culture of its leadership to drive the changes needed; ensuring that each and every member of the staff has the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out that job to the best of their abilities; recognizing that the company is not just recruiting for its needs of today, but anticipating the needs of tomorrow; and to make sure that the HR team is fully equipped to meet its goals.

He emphasized that attracting the right people to join the company is critical. “When we are recruiting staff we take technical excellence and ability as a given. That’s what gets candidates through the door for an interview,” he said, while noting that SABIC recognizes the fact that most people do not come to work just for their pay check, but to make a difference. “So the offer of Career Development at SABIC is an important part of our Employment Value Proposition and so one of our key enablers.”

Al-Sheaibi cited the SABIC Early Engineering Development Program as an example of the company’s career development process. Under this program, fresh engineering graduates and those who are in the first two years of their career will experience a structured program designed to guide them transitioning from university education into the world of work. “The program aims to make the experience both enjoyable and rewarding for the participants and effective for the organization as we deliver on our promise of career development for these early entrants,” he said.

SABIC further recognizes the importance of learning and development. “The shining star of SABIC’s commitment to learning and development, is the purpose built SABIC Academy, opened about two years ago,” he said, pointing out that the company has also introduced executive development programs in partnership with world-class universities as well as leveraging internal expertise through the ‘SABIC teaches SABIC’ program.

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