Faiza al Rahmatullah is People Director at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), and the department is considered as the heart beat of the organization as they ensure the culture and values of the entity are truly represented through its employees.
As the Sultanate of Oman celebrates 50 years of renaissance she reflected on how human resource as a profession has gained momentum in Oman, “His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, peace be upon him, was visionary as he identified and actually elevated the HR profession. There was a surge in youth opting to take this field as a profession. We understood that HR was the heart and core of development and that is why you would see that many of the actions which are even taken during Covid-19 are shifting toward becoming more agile and set for the future because that is what an organization would need in terms of supporting employees – agility and flexibility and adapting to the new norm.”
The year 2020 brought a new twist to human resources where people had to work away from office. According to Faiza this is how they tackled the changes the working culture has faced during the pandemic, “What we have done is to bring an understanding of how to deal with individuals who are working remotely. We try to keep our engagement as much as possible. We have established a culture of engagement. The supervisors have been continuously given tool kits to understand how to reach the hearts and minds of the employees. We have statistics as we have conducted surveys to ensure that our employees are actually engaged and when needed we have taken action to address the areas of concern.”
The other elements that continue to have prominent place are good leadership, engagement as well as collaboration and putting people first is going to be crucial as we move forward.
Meanwhile gender equality is also something that PDO has succeeded in establishing. Where there was a time when women engineers felt they may not stand an equal chance with their male counterparts, now it is a thought of the past.
“At PDO we treat all our employees equal – male and female get equal opportunities. PDO does not discriminate between men and women and it cares for all its employees. For example, when we offer learning or development we actually look at the business needs, knowledge, as well as what experiences an individual needs. Women work in our oilfields too, they can get up to the executive level and there is no gender pay gap between the male and female employees. Additionally we support women through various networks, which are widely available such as Hawa, Young Professionals, Engineering Society, Mentoring Circles and so on,” she pointed out.
PDO also took major steps in investing on female friendly infrastructure, “There is couple of elements to the infrastructure – one is tha actual structure that has been built to cater the needs of women in terms of privacy, safety and comfort both in the interior and our post locations. For example, in the interior the accommodation is in a separate compound. And we also have a mother’s room in every building of PDO. But for us the female friendly infrastructure is not just about walls and beams but it is more about inclusion and this is our next step in our journey. By shifting our focus to culture and inclusion which supports us to think about all the things we need to do to ensure that women really feels as part of the community in the interior. With inclusion we will be bringing about more collaboration, we will leverage the strength from both men and women and bring it to the table.
This is what Faiza would like to say to the youth about the changing dynamics of the job market and economy – most importantly to qualify oneself with extra skills to secure a job, “Youth are the leaders of tomorrow. So my advice to them would be to please gain exposure to different areas as possible. Focus your efforts on both hard and soft skills because this is where they will become more agile and set for the future. Additionally, we of course hear about artificial intelligence, digitalization and robotics all these are skills that would be required in the future. Be calculated risk takers in a positive manner and most importantly – network, network, network, nationally as well as globally. Last but not the least – read. Lot of our youth has lost reading capability, and I want to say read – read to learn and understand nation and global context. One thing that had helped and I would like the youth to pursue is to find a mentor who can guide and support you,” advised Faiza Rahmatullah, People Director, PDO.