Written by
Karam Filfilan

Published
29 Nov 2017

How is BUPA Arabia transforming healthcare in the GCC?

29 Nov 2017 • by Karam Filfilan

Bupa Arabia is the third-fasting growing organisation in the GCC. So how is newly-appointed OD director Rawan Jalal managing growth?

How is Bupa Arabia's rapid growth affecting the organisation and what is the impact of Vision 2030?

While our ambition is to be the Arab world’s greatest healthcare company, we also seek to be the region’s talent magnet.

We take the wellness of our employees seriously. We believe a happy employee is a stress-free and healthy employee, which is why we created facilities to help them manage their time and personal health. For example, we created agile work programmes that help people work from home.

Other examples include daycare services for children aged three months to three years, in-house gyms and personal trainers, a health lounge for health assessments, and a canteen serving healthy meals to employees.

Bupa Arabia is considered one of the top employers in the country, really leading cultural change in the Kingdom, where we have 600 female and 1,200 male employees.

Can you give examples of the successes you have had that have helped you gain your promotion?

Back in 2014, Bupa Arabia HR took a quantum leap in its journey. Business growth was massive and we had to step back and reflect on the people platforms we needed. We designed a capability framework to attract, train and manage the performance and career development of our people based on one recipe for success. I designed a training and leadership academy and transformed our performance and talent management framework, creating a portal to breed leaders from within.

In 2015, Bupa Arabia won the best Talent Management Award and the Best Training and Development Award. It won the Great Place to Work award for three years and ranked 7th among participating Saudi companies in 2016.

What will the future look like for HR and BUPA Arabia?

Technology and innovation will accelerate exponentially. This will require HR to plan and monitor proactively. It impacts human capital in areas such as employee productivity, capability building, deployment and acquiring talent in the business, to enable continuous innovation.

Getting to grips with workforce data, metrics and analytics will increasingly be required to assist leaders in making informed decisions about where to prioritise and allocate their resources.

On the other hand, talent development and acquisition continue to be the critical differentiator for strategic achievement. Pressure on our HR team will increase as the market grows more complex. There will be an increased need for two types of workers: highly specialised clinicians, and high potentials who can be deployed cross-functionally and into leadership roles.

Challenges facing HR are constantly evolving, but Bupa Arabia’s learning agility, coupled with the solid people platform in place – and competent and passionate leadership – will surely transform growth interventions.

Why did you choose HR and organisational development (OD)?

I‘m passionate about making a difference to others’ lives and being in a position where I can help make policies work for their wellbeing. I wanted to take my career to the heart of the business and see the enormous potential for driving business performance through people – this is when I decided to focus on OD.

I enjoy working with people, driving organisational change and finding creative ways to build a workplace where people want to work hard and feel loyal.

What advice would you give peers?

The business world is changing and so is HR. The profession is growing beyond being just a strategic business partner to focusing on long-term business success and sustainability. HR analytics will be critical in designing insightful HR interventions that support business growth.

There remains an opportunity to develop specialist skills in training, benefits or organisational development. HR professionals manage the employer/employee relationship, and align an organisation’s culture with its people. When done well, this is a highly effective way of promoting sustainable performance.