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This month we have a spotlight from Oman. Mutheer Al Kalbani is Senior Manager of Organisational Development in the HR department of the Bank of Sohar Oman.

1) Tell us about you, your experience and time as a senior HR/L&D/Business professional in Oman?

I have been working in the banking field for the past seven years with a focus on organizational development activities; such as, performance management system, talent management, succession planning, organizational communication and learning and development. During these seven years, I have undergone through various human resources training programs to develop my skills further and increase my HR competence. I am currently certified by EFPA (European Federation of Psychologists' Associations) to conduct psychometric assessments. I am also an associate member of the CIPD (Charted Institute of Personnel & Development). I am currently holding the position of Senior Manager – Organizational Development in Bank Sohar.

2)    How do you maintain awareness of the organization’s performance and culture, its business direction, strategic developments, HR processes and practices in Oman?

Every organization has it unique way to maintain the awareness of organization’s performance and culture, its business direction, strategic developments, HR processes and practices in Oman or out of it. In bank Sohar, we are a true believers of the practice of communication. We know that it is a key to always be up to date and stay in the same loop. As a result, the bank devised a communication tool  called “Team Briefing” which basically connects the organisation through, from the apex of the organization all the way down to the clerks and drivers through gathering the team, discussing the message, and bring up concerns and opinions. The whole process is featured with transparency and sincerity where employees are engaged and are not hesitant to speak and tell their concerns. There are ,of course, other means of communication in the bank, such as posters, social media,  e-mails, employee activities and gatherings where all such subjects are being highlighted and discussed transparently.

3)     What in our opinion are the challenges in the area of HR in Oman?

I believe that one of the challenges facing HR in Oman is maintaining employee engagement in such a changing world. To sustain high levels of employees is very difficult nowadays due to  new economic realities, continues changing of international business landscape, continues innovations emerging, new technologies are brought to the markets and more. Such a trend of life will force organization to always be up to date, thinking continuously of how to engage and satisfy, and to be as flexible as much to meet the work life balance. This role does not only pertain to HR, it should be played by the apex team of the organization. However, HR plays a significant role to facilitate such a an approach and aim to achieve the required levels of  engagement through collaborative teamwork.

4)    In what direction do you see HR and L&D moving, in the next 5 years?

Most of the world is now moving towards something called the E platforms. Social media, academic degrees, professional qualifications, government transactions, E-shopping and more. This implies towards HR and L & D as well. Nowadays we can see that the trend in organizations is slowly growing towards e-learning and e-platforms. And this goes perfectly with the world’s march towards the electronic initiatives. For example, we have introduced in our bank an initiative of e-blended learning. We saw that it is more reachable to employees in the rural areas rather than risking bringing them to the capital in cars. It is blended in the way it delivers the information (videos, exercises, reading..etc) to suit the different learning styles of employees. It also has social discussion platforms to foster peer discussions, and finally we try to meet face to face from time to time to facilitate application of learning. In conclusion, I can see the role of trainers will reduce very much and e-learning will fill the gap in a tremendous growing rates.

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