Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Sven-Olaf Vathje, left, and Klaus Kessler of The Boston Consulting Group International, say HR departments have scope to improve. Silvia Razgova / The National
Sven-Olaf Vathje, left, and Klaus Kessler of The Boston Consulting Group International, say HR departments have scope to improve. Silvia Razgova / The National

Vital to be socially aware

The Life: It seems everyone is on Facebook these days, which is exactly why HR departments should do more to monitor social media sites, say experts.

A man applying for a clerical position with the US police was recently shocked to find a section in the form requesting his Facebook login details.

This may be a step too far, but experts warn that human resources (HR) departments in the Middle East need to do more to monitor social media.

"At the top level it really starts with being aware of forums in which the company is being discussed, because that is the image which is being shaped," says Sven-Olaf Vathje, a partner and co-managing director of the Abu Dhabi office of The Boston Consulting Group International.

Companies need to be aware of what is being said about them, because if they do not know, they cannot address misperceptions or answer bad press, experts say. And to do that they need someone dedicated to the task - a position that is not so common in western organisations.

"Why is it so critical to move ahead and find the right solutions for the challenges of these days? Western organisations which have a 50 to 100-year history when it comes to HR management are very much doubting whether they have the right tools in place," says Klaus Kessler, a senior partner and co-managing director of the group.

Companies in the Middle East have two choices: either copy and paste the western HR model, or learn from its inadequacies.

One area that Middle East HR departments can improve on is the search for talent.

Companies typically target the same candidates, such as an MBA or master's degree holder. But in the future HR departments will need to consider other skills to attract talent.

"I do believe we will see much stronger diversification in terms of what people will end up in business positions in the years to come compared to what kind of people end up in business positions over the last 20 to 25 years," says Mr Kessler.

"That also means the internal programmes, the leadership programmes, the training programmes, need to diversify as well."

However, HR departments in the Middle East must also overcome their own shortfalls.

"How to recruit, the recruiting interviews and recruiting programmes, how to check abilities up front at the beginning and more importantly, the whole career development, is one of the most important things in organisations that just needs further fine tuning and enhancement," says Mr Kessler.

HR departments need to work on creating clear job descriptions to make the most of the talent in the company and create positions that people want to go for. And they must also support collaboration in organisations.

The consulting group says most departments know what they are supposed to do, but many are much less clear on how units support one another.

"HR has to work on training people to collaborate. That is the dimension of training programmes which is not yet sufficiently addressed," says Mr Kessler.

Of course, they also need to pay more attention to social media, particularly as new apps are being launched all the time. Just this week, Monster Gulf released BeKnown, an app designed to allow Facebook users to establish a professional network on the social media site.

"The biggest risk that many of the organisations out there are facing is that you have employees without even knowing that they are doing it, providing information to social media that is very much related to what the profession of the job is about. And that is not yet addressed by many organisations," says Mr Kessler.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The Greens, villas: Q1 no change. 3BR - Dh210-250,000. 4BR - Dh210-260,000. 5BR - Dh220-300,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 5% rise. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Dubai have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

 The cooling towers of the Temelin nuclear power plant near the Tyn nad Vltavou in Czech Republic. The country wants to continue expanding nuclear energy capacity despite cancelling a tender to build two new units. David W Cerny / Reuters

In pictures: Best business images for the week to April 17, 2014

Here are some of the best business images for the week to April 17, 2014.

 Three generations of the Hakimi family tend to their stall Crawford Market in Mumbai. Subhash Sharma for The National

In pictures: Shopper’s delight at Crawford Market in Mumbai

Crawford Market is an old British-style covered market dealing in just about every kind of fresh food and domestic animal imaginable. Later on renamed Mahatma Jotirao Phule, the market remains popular among locals and visitors by its old name, taken from Arthur Crawford who was the first municipal commissioner of the city.

 The Wind, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition takes place from April 14 to April 16. Above, the Dewa showroom during last year’s Wetex. Jaime Puebla / The National

April corporate and economic calendar for the UAE and overseas

From Cityscape to Wetex to stock-market holidays to nations reporting first-quarter GDP figures, here is our helpful calendar of April's business events in the UAE and internationally.

 Get the latest information on credit cards, bank accounts and loan products in the UAE. Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

Rates report: Latest on UAE loans, accounts and credit cards

Souqamal.com brings you the latest interest rates on banking products in the UAE.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National