Ron Thomas

Ron Thomas is CEO of Great Place to Work-GCC countries, based in Dubai. He formerly was Chief HR Officer of the RGTS Group in Saudi Arabia. Ron is also a senior faculty member of the Human Capital Institute. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as a Master Human Capital Strategist (MHCS) and Strategic Workforce Planner (SWP). Ron's prior roles included senior HR positions with Xerox HR services, IBM, and Martha Stewart Living. Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia. Contact him at ronaldtthomas@gmail.com or on Twitter.

Articles by Ron Thomas

HR Insights

If You’re Building Your Brand, You Can’t Escape Your Capabilities

personalbranding2

“She said that she remembered me from my last job. I remembered her but did not think she even knew who I was since she was very senior to me.”

As I listened to this conversation the other day, it just confirmed what I always tell everyone. It’s this: someone is always watching your work. By watching, they are creating a vision for you and the brand of you — how you work, what you deliver, your attitude, and the list go on.

Regardless of how you feel about your work, even if you know you are no longer going to be there, always do top-notch work. Read more…

Global HR, HR Management

What Work in the Mideast Taught Me About Building Business Relationships

123RF Stock Photo

“I heard you had a tough time getting back to the airport after the HR Leaders Conference in Lagos.”

That was followed by at least a half-hour of further discussion concerning our recent travels. There was no rush to get to the “meat” of the meeting or what it was about.

The next time we got together, the discussion centered around housing and where to live in Dubai, which was followed by a conversation about tuition payments and our past experience working together on an HR panel.

It took a half-hour to actually get to get to the crux of this meeting. Read more…

Culture, HR Insights

A Message From the Mountaintop on the Value of Work-Life Balance

Photo illustration by Dreamstime

“Work efficiently during office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends, and get proper rest. 

Value has a value only if its value is valued.”

I came across parts of this speech the other day and was floored by its simplicity. The main object of my excitement in reading this was that it came not from someone down in the depths of the organization, but from the CEO of a major company.

In other words, it came from on the top of the mountain. Read more…

Recruiting and Staffing, Talent Management

Would One of Your Former Employees Really Want to Come Back?

From istockphoto.com

Would you want to go back?

I was just asked for references, so it looks good — right?” read the text message. This young lady was in the throes of interviewing, and yes, I told her this is a good sign.

However what happened next caused both of us to do some thinking. As she reached out to her old boss and another former team member, the trajectory changed. Sure they would give her a reference, but more importantly, would she consider coming back? Read more…

Global HR, Leadership

Hello Goodbye: It’s Critical to Connect and Build Trust With All You Meet

trustyourheartsample

As I looked into his eyes, I could see them welling with tears. As he began to speak, his voice cracked, “Mr. Ron we’ll will miss you so much. It has been my honor to know you.”

As I listened, my eyes teared up in synch. These guys had no idea what they have meant to me over this past year.

As I walked from department to department, the reaction was mostly the same — we were saying our goodbyes. Having spent close to 15 months in a new environment with a workforce that could rival the United Nations — including multiple languages and customs — I was proud of myself for having connected with them. Read more…

Leadership, Talent Management

The Lesson From the Microsoft Cuts: Don’t Mix the Message on Layoffs

Microsoft layoffs

This is not good. One of the guys on the marketing team I work with just got fired. OMG, they just fired another one. It is just crazy around here now.”

As I read the text messages, I could feel the tension that must have permeated this workplace.

The text was from someone who had been in the world of work for four years out of college. This situation with them went on for two days, and as I got the blow-by-blow, it felt like being in a war zone. Read more…

Global HR, HR Insights

What I Learned From My Life as an Expat HR Leader in Saudi Arabia

123RF Stock Photo

I recently received a note from my good friend Sharlyn Lauby (aka, the HRBartender) in reference to a question that she received from one of her readers:

How did you prepare for your new human resources role in Saudi Arabia? The country has different cultures, business traditions, and labor laws.

What I realized is that the story behind me making the move from New York City to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia could possibly fill a book [to be announced at a later date]. Read more…

Culture, Leadership

Leaders Get More Out of People When They Don’t Wear the Crown

Photo by istockphoto.com

“She said to me… you might be president of PepsiCo, you might be on the Board of Directors, but when you enter this house you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother… so leave that damn crown in the garage.’

You have to admire the older generation. They will always speak their mind. When I read this, I thought of my parents and how their plain-spoken ability to cut through all the BS and hit the bullseye with their message.

The above statement was from Indra Nooyi’s mother in reaction to her daughter’s election to the Pepsi Board of Directors. The 58-year old Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo and mother of two daughters delivered some surprisingly frank and candid insights on work-life balance in an interview with David Bradley, owner of the Atlantic Media Company, at the Aspen Ideas Festival this week. Read more…

HR Insights

Workplace Communications: Yes, Sometimes We Still Need to Talk

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I’ve been picking up the phone and calling my most important clients,” he said. “You can’t stop because there’s no email.

This was a quote based on the outage of MS Outlook this past week. The Washington Post headline blared MS Outlook outage brings offices back to the 1980’s.

For the people who were working in corporate, this was an era when there was no email to speak of, and for that matter, no computers. I had an office on Sixth Avenue in New York at that time and all I had was a phone on my desk. That was it. Read more…

HR Insights, HR Management

Getting Beyond the Echo Chamber: Selling the Value of HR Outside of HR

123RF Stock Photo

“I’m fine, thanks. I’m enjoying in my major. Actually, I love HR. Thanks for your attention. If I need help, I will let you know.”

This note from a student at one of the universities here in the Middle East, someone who is majoring in HR. He reached out to me over LinkedIn, and in my response, I told him if he needs me in any way he should feel free to reach out.

As I was responding to that note, I smiling thought of my upcoming lecture at the University of the Emirates in Dubai where I will be a guest lecturer to the class of students that are working towards their Bachelor of Science in HR. I was invited by the dean, Dr. Singh, who I met on a panel she chaired at a recent conference in Dubai. Read more…