Q&A: Mohammed Al Kharusi: “HR strategies should be an integral part of organisations’ business plans”

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 2 Feb 2016

The CEO at Talent Development LLC explains why he is so passionate about HR transformation

Mohammed Al Kharusi, CEO at Talent Development LLC and chairman of Intersearch, Oman, says he is passionate about HR transformation and building people capabilities. He spoke to People Management about how he has helped some of the Middle East's biggest companies to develop their HR department and achieve next-level excellence.

You have helped organisations – particularly in the oil and gas industry – develop their HR practices. What strategies have you helped introduce, and why were they necessary?
When you embark on any change, the assessment process is extremely important. You need a good understanding of the business and HR’s contribution. It is essential to assess the maturity level of HR processes practiced by HR and line managers. The competences of the HR staff supporting the organisation require assessment too, as well as the structure that supports the business.
 
I have found that one of the principal changes needed is to convince management that HR strategies should be an integral part of companies’ strategies and business plans. I’ve had to make sure that a performance management system was put in place, which could move forward the business and people agenda in unison. The scorecard I have developed includes people targets for both human resources and the line managers, which informs the transformation process. The management team in each case assessed HR plans, such as succession plans, as an integral part of regular business reviews.
 
I have also helped to implement integrated talent management processes that comprised HR functional excellence, resourcing the business, performance and reward, competence development, leadership development, and engagement and communication. I’ve also used workshops to get line managers and HR practitioners on board with the changes.
 
What skills or knowledge do senior executive lack that would help them to develop?
This varies with the background of the line managers and where they come from, as most managers are parachuted into a company and have to get on board not only with the company but also the culture of the organisation, and local and expatriate staff. Many line managers are mainly technocrats and did not have adequate people management skills, so this has to be rectified through training and mentoring, as well as leadership development. Many executives also lack the ability to coaching and develop their staff properly.
 
What challenges does HR face?
One of the big challenges is the understanding of people management processes by the chief executive. CEOs need to appreciate what is considered best practice today and how it will affect their bottom line.
 
For example, if you have not identified the critical skills present in your company, and those skills suddenly leave the organisation and there no succession plan, then what will be the impact on the business? Most local companies in the GCC grew faster than their internal infrastructure and were unable to support that growth in terms of HR – but once they make the effort to correct this anomaly they will be able to enjoy sustainable growth.