The 10th annual Human Assets Expansion Summit (HAES) took place on 20-21 May at Sofitel The Palm in Dubai, with speakers, delegates and sponsors debating the theme of HR innovation and transformation.
Delegates were treated to a series of keynote talks and panel discussions with HR and business leaders, as well as interactive workshops led by practitioners.
One of the key themes to emerge from the summit was the importance of developing HR so that it is seen as strategically equal to senior leadership in business. Matt Ayoub, associate director human capital at Mubadala, called for HR “to shift from a service mindset to an equal business footing”, something it can “only achieve by developing itself as well as its organisations” in his panel discussion on rethinking the role of HR.
A secondary theme was sustainable nationalisation, with delegates sharing ideas on how to move past quotas by focusing on employability. With the average age of an Emirati being just 23 years old, how can we attract and retain young talent in the Middle East?
According to Dr Ayoub Kazim, managing director of Dubai Knowledge Village, we can achieve this by focusing on industries important to young people: “Oil and gas contribute just 4% to UAE’s GDP. Technology and tourism are much more important drivers for future talent, so embrace them,” he told delegates in his Q&A on nationalisation.
The importance of empowering HR through technology and analytics was the theme of day two’s keynote address from Vance Kearney, vice-president for human resources at Oracle’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division.
He detailed how Oracle has acquired more than 10,000 employees from over 50 companies in the past five years, integrating their pay and benefits into Oracle’s structure. He shared his single-best decision – simplifying and standardising more than 65 HR systems into one fluid, technologically agile structure.
The event closed with the 7th annual MENA HR Excellence Awards, which recognised those individuals and organisations who have advanced HR in the Middle East over the past year, with honours presented by Naseba’s CEO Sophie Le Ray and event compere Shane Phillips.
MENA HR Excellence Awards
Best nationalisation initiative:
Champion of change:
Akbar Moideen Thumbay (Thumbay Group)
Champion of change –public sector:
His Excellency Mohammed Al Hadhari (Securities & Commodities Authority)
HR professional of the year – private sector:
Younis Abdel Aziz Al Nimr (Etisalat)
Employer of the year – private sector:
The Saudi British Bank (SABB)
Employer of the year – public sector:
Excellence in employee engagement:
HR professional of the year – public sector:
Ray Gammell (Etihad Airways)
Excellence in learning and development:
Excellence in talent management:
HR team of the year: