Q&A: Hossam Haggag: “We want those with high potential to flourish”

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 17 Aug 2016

Jumeirah Group’s vice president of talent and leadership on the organisation’s development opportunities – and how it trains 4,000 people every year

Hossam HaggagA lot of time and effort has gone into luxury hotel chain Jumeirah Group’s extensive training programmes for staff on all levels, which is probably why they’re so well-regarded among the business’s peers. And now it is also leading the way in Emiratisation, with a 'National Graduate Management Programme'; the first national leadership programme launched in the UAE hotel industry. Hossam Haggag spoke to People Management about how employees are educated and motivated, and the opportunities available to those looking for a long career with the organisation.
Jumeirah Group’s philosophy when it comes to employees is based on ‘guiding principles of continuous growth and people focus’. What does this mean in practice?
Our people-focused approach is not only based on ‘guiding principles’, but also on our service philosophy known as the ‘hallmarks’. These encourage a foundation of mutual respect and a can-do attitude to all service, including internal customer service. This philosophy is also part of our approach to talent management. Our internal succession planning encourages internal transfers, promotions and access to a wide range of learning opportunities. This process, together with a focus on key hotel positions, has provided a foundation for those with high potential to flourish, which in turn has paved the way for a global talent pool to support our growth plans.
 
What’s the business’s approach to career and self-development training?
Our self-development programme begins with an internal talent management process (previously called ‘Praise Me’). This newly refurbished course, now called ‘Be The Talent’, provides colleagues with the ability to manage their own performance and ultimately, their rate of growth. This is achieved by ensuring their performance is correctly recorded and that adequate feedback is received so they can clearly identify their strengths and agree on developmental areas.
 
How do you help people who want to climb the career ladder?
We provide course opportunities on five different levels, by way of a recently renewed development framework. We develop our programmes internally at our newly formed Jumeirah Learning Centre. A team of 10 provides a global service, to ensure the framework is shared with all our international properties. The biggest challenge is finding the balance between time spent on new curriculum development versus delivery and the speed at which trainers need to be coached in order to deliver these programmes.
 
More than 4,000 colleagues in the UAE attend training programmes each year – on everything from orientation to advanced leadership skills. We have also partnered with eCornell, who offer online courses led by Cornell professors.
 
Tell us about the programmes in place to help develop Emirati leaders within your organisation.
UAE nationals are among the top three nationalities in the management population, which equates to 13 per cent of Jumeirah’s UAE employees. There are six UAE national programmes designed for the development of the local population and two of them are dedicated for the development of future leaders in business.
 
The Future Leaders Programme (FLP) is a fast-track programme for UAE nationals that helps them to become future hotel managers and general managers. They join a three- to five-year immersion programme involving on-the-job learning to enable them to lead a hotel team in the future. We provide them the opportunity to have international exposure during the programme.