HR drills down to helping people realize their potential and dreams: Samer Jalal of Hikma
Founded in Amman in 1978, Hikma has steadily evolved as a leading multinational pharmaceutical company with operations and sales in four continents and a steadfast reputation for quality. Based in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region where it is a market leader, Hikma also caters to the United States and Europe, and is listed on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Dubai. Hikma was the first Arab company to obtain a United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) approval. We met with Hikma’s Corporate HR Director, Samer Jalal, who shared with us how he works to extend Hikma’s corporate culture and values across its various divisions.
Who’s Samer Jalal?
Samer Jalal is the Corporate HR Director of Hikma Pharmaceuticals, the leading multi-national pharmaceuticals company dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of people through the development, manufacturing and marketing of a broad range of pharmaceutical products.
Samer is a pioneer in Global HR Management with more than 15 years of experience in leading strategic Human Resources and organizational development interventions meant to improve organizational capability and competitiveness.
Equipped with multi-HR and business credentials along with a vast experience in different business sectors, Samer knows how to partner with business executives to align strategic HR perspectives with business strategy.
1. How do you like living and working in Jordan?
Living in Jordan provides one with different choices in terms of lifestyle. What’s great for a family living in Jordan is that it is considered a safe country and has a strong education system.
On a business level, Jordan has a strong talent pool in almost all business fields which helps in taking any business into the global perspective to be able to compete with other world-class companies.
2. What is your average day at work like?
Every day is different than the day before. I believe this is a result of the ever-changing business environment in which we operate these days, and such unique environments create intense and challenging objectives and mandate more alertness and proactivity.
3. What is the biggest challenge you face in hiring talent?
In my opinion, the biggest challenge is the engagement of talent after hiring rather than the hiring process itself. Engagement requires the organization to provide a suitable business environment that encourages talent to stay and add value to the work they do. In most of our organizations in the MENA region, this would require a culture shift and maturity in leadership. Different organizational interventions may be needed and require the management’s support and collaboration to create the right environment for talent to get engaged and provide the business with the utmost productivity.
4. What is your advice to someone looking to start their career in the human resources (HR) industry?
Anyone starting an HR career should always aim to understand a company’s business and find the HR value-added practices that can impact business results positively. This is necessary, as HR should be able to stand among the business community and prove its strategic value. Many successful leaders realized their business potential through their people and this was because such leaders acted as “HR” leaders; leaders who motivate talent to produce. The HR industry is not new; it’s rather being reinvented.
5. What has been the highlight of your career?
Different milestones have added value to my career growth and my eagerness to learn, change and adapt. Such milestones have made me more competent in facing challenges, and I’m still learning every day. As an HR professional, it all drills down to helping people realize their potential and dreams, and I feel proud whenever I touch people’s lives positively.
6. How do you think the Middle East has evolved when it comes to HR policies and practices?
I think that most of the HR practices have evolved in the Middle East because of globalization.
Many forces have led the HR transformation journey in our region; some companies have seen it coming before the others and this helped them in acquiring a better competitive edge.
Overall, HR in our region needs more efforts from all parties to propel it into world-class standards, and our HR champions still have a lot to do in this arena.
7. Anything else you would like to share with our Bayt.com community of employers and jobseekers?
For employers, finding the high potential talent requires more than recruitment personnel to search and select; it requires improving employment branding and more investment in the employment value proposition. I highly encourage employers to consider all aspects that could improve their brand and act as entrepreneur, in addition to living up to a set of values and being more socially responsible towards their communities.
For jobseekers, and in addition to having personalized career objectives, I encourage them to define and maintain a set of values and seek companies that have the same values. I also encourage jobseekers to always keep professional and open communication with their management and peers.