Believe it. Live it! Being an employer of choice by Marwa Rasti

Following a ten-year career at BMMI, Marwa Rasti was recently appointed as the Human Resources Operations Manager, GCC. The Corporate Communications & CSR team sat down with Marwa to learn more about her thoughts on HR trends and BMMI’s vision when it comes to managing its most crucial asset: its people.

A modern role for Human Resources (HR)

As much as the world of business has witnessed growth and major shifts in recent years, the HR field has also been evolving. Yet, perceptions take time to change, and HR teams have to work to redefine their role and how they are regarded in the organisation.

Gone are the days when HR was regarded as the team to manage transactions, said Marwa. “Yes, HR is a support function, but we are also more than that, we are truly business partners, advisers and advocates for our people. It is our responsibility to guide through decision-making processes and to nurture leadership,” she added.

Today’s HR team plays both an operational and a strategic role and is intrinsically linked with each aspect of an organisation. From budgeting, to recruitment, to performance management, employee satisfaction, career and succession planning and more, HR works to guide employees on how to make the right decisions. “We aim to support by guiding and consulting, as well as being there to promote coaching, mentoring and improved productivity,” said Marwa. “HR must be a hub of constant innovation, always looking for the newest technology and solutions to make sure we are providing the best working culture and environment for people to thrive.”

Yet, perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter how the role of HR changes, there is one constant: human resources is all about people. “It is crucial to always remember that we are dealing with people, and that we all go through various circumstances in life that can affect us or even our performance at work,” Marwa said. “It is about creating the right balance of truly trying to understand others, having empathy, seeing things from different perspectives and also trying your best to support and care for them so that they can have the right tools to get back on track. Because if you are not there for people personally, especially when they need support, they will not be there for you professionally and will not be as engaged.”

This is why Marwa believes it is necessary for HR to be approachable, personable and visible to employees. “Of course we do have expectations that concern discipline, following our code of business conduct and being professional in the work place. However, we also need to be there for our employees. We try to socialise, celebrate the small and big wins together, encourage great performance and behaviour and interact on a deeper level, we do not want barriers between us,” Marwa added.

Advocates of culture

Perhaps one of the most important roles that HR has a major hand in is promoting and protecting the organisation’s culture.

“When we hire the right cultural fit and we have employees who truly live our culture, it increases job satisfaction and productivity, with positive consequences on employee loyalty, engagement and retention,” said Marwa. BMMI’s Winning Hearts culture programme is celebrated every day and truly sets us apart from our competitors.

One part of making sure that employees will thrive in the organisation is to make sure that it hires the right cultural fits, with the individual’s values linked with those of the organisation’s. “If you are in an environment where you feel comfortable, you are much more likely to be proactive and to love what you’re doing,” said Marwa. “Feeling at home when you’re at work, and that you belong there, encourages people to be innovative and be more comfortable sharing their ideas and to collaborate.”

However, recruiting the right fit is not enough on its own. When you have a concrete and diversified talent pool you need to focus on long-term strategies that will ensure a sustainable workforce, said Marwa. “To attract and retain people of the highest calibre and potential talent, you need to build on programs that will support them in various ways, such as through knowledge sharing, new and relevant benefits and importantly, having open and transparent communication.”

Furthermore, another important factor is making sure that an organisation’s culture empowers its people. “Empowering people is an essential element of a great company culture,” said Marwa. “This is the way you can support people’s development, enlarge their roles and responsibilities and give them confidence to represent the company.”

Being an employer of choice

“We have been working along the years to bring new initiatives to BMMI, a lot of the programmes we have today are global best practices and innovative within the market,” said Marwa. “If we compare BMMI with where it was 10 or 15 years ago, we can see a massive amount of change but there is also a lot to be done.”

BMMI continues to invest in its people, focusing on a holistic approach to development and learning which includes coaching, mentoring, technical and academic programmes, and soft skills training. Marwa believes that HR plays a crucial role in providing employees with the right tools and support to ensure their success and satisfaction.

One of BMMI’s other top priorities is creating a sense of belonging for employees; so that they feel like they are an important part of the BMMI family. “As we continue to try our best to improve our initiatives and offer more, we hope to also increase employee loyalty, which will have a direct effect on the quality of productivity, performance and services,” said Marwa.

Furthermore, another important dimension that is integral to retaining top talent is work-life balance. “Creating a culture of balance, professionally and personally will retain good performers, increase loyalty, dedication and positively affect our bottom line. This is a win-win situation which incentivises talent to approach us even before we approach them,” she added.

Ultimately, the HR team works towards one main goal: ensuring BMMI is an employer of choice. By focusing on our Winning Hearts culture, the team prioritises making sure that our current employees love working for the Group and that prospective talent would be attracted to a career at BMMI.