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 Management, Talent Management

A Management Essential: Helping Your People to Do It on Their Own

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He gives me the assignment and then proceeds to tell me step-by-step how to do it.” In my previous role before coming here, I managed successfully much larger projects than this. Just let me run with it and stay out of the way.”

That comment was from a budding marketing whiz who I have mentored over the years. Her frustration was with her manager who wooed and hired her from one of the big advertising firms.

The problem with this scenario is that he micro-manages her every move. He gives her an assignment and then essentially says, “here is the way I want you to do it.” Read more…

HR Insights

Are You Ready For the Constant Change in Today’s Working World?

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Like a lot of you, I constantly get emails from search professionals asking for help in locating talent. I always help because you just never know.

This week I got a note about a Vice President for Learning & Development role that was located in the New York City metro area. I immediately thought of two professionals I have known for years. One of them has been with his company for over 10 years. The other was just starting her assignment as VP as I was leaving New York to come to Saudi Arabia over a year ago.

I contacted them both in the hope that they knew of someone in their circles who could help. I assumed that they were gainfully employed but may know of someone in their network.

Their notes back to me came like a slow drip. Read more…

Talent Management

Customers Are Key, But Employees Are the Most Important Value Proposition

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Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customers. I think you build one with your employees first.”

That statement was from Angela Ahrendts, former CEO of Burberrys and now headed to Apple as new retail and online leader. She joins them this week.

Employees First, Customers Second was the title of a book a few years back by CEO Vineet Nayar of HCL Technologies. He wrote that by putting employees first and his customers second, he was able to build the world’s largest IT Firm.

I have always marveled at how leadership within a company always extols the value of building the customer value proposition. They eat, breath, and sleep it. Everyone on the team is striving to make it happen every day. Read more…

Talent Management

How Working in the Mideast Made Me Get Serious About Work-Life Balance

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The official workday here in Saudi Arabia begins at 8:30 am.

When I turn the corner headed to my parking spot, there are the usual suspects waiting for the gate to open. The time is around 7 am. The majority of the people coming in around this time are Americans.

The other day I was standing in the guard house around 8:15 and I noticed the rest of the workforce coming in. The majority of these workers were non-expats. Read more…

HR Insights

Need a Career or Job Change? The Keys to Change Are In Your Hands

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“You are so right! I do own the keys to my career! Love it!”

One of my most pleasurable activities is following up with people who have read a blog post that caused them to send a note. This response was from a Chief HR Officer who is striving to be a new style senior level HR person.

The problem is her leadership team is stuck in the old ways of HR and can’t see the forest for the trees.

In our email exchange, I used the expression “you own the keys to your career; no company ever owns that.” Read more…

Culture

Living the Brand: Infusing Employees With a Greater Purpose

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This is from China Gorman:

I love Southwest! ‪#‎SWA‬. The pilot of our flight to Orlando just approached them sitting next to me with two extreme special needs boys (4 and 6 years old) to ask if the boys wanted to board first and get their pictures taken in the cockpit before everyone else boards. The pilot was just walking through the boarding area, noticed the family and asked. Really. One of the many reasons I give Southwest my corporate and personal business.”

And this was one of the comments in response, from Gerry Crispin: Read more…

HR Insights, Talent Management

Growing Your Career: Let Your Goals Be the Rudder That Guides You There

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A headhunter called this week and their client is interested in me for a CEO role. Never really thought of myself at that level. I don’t know if I should call back. I want your thoughts. Current role VP, Operating Committee member, etc.

Need to discuss this opportunity. I have a job offer but it would require me moving to Charlotte. Current situation: working as HR Manager for six plus years, no movement and none in sight.

Received a resume which showed 4-5 roles with same job title: Recruiting Manager.

This past week was career advice week. This is how it started. Read more…

HR Insights, HR Management

Yes, It’s Time to Finally Bid the HR Generalist Goodbye

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I do not have time for LinkedIn or any of that, but I DO make time for my pedicures. Super serious HR lady at #gbrshrm.”

This was one that I saw posted last when someone was asking what HR could do that would create more employee engagement. The big answer: “company picnic.”

Robin Schooling’s posted the comment the other day concerning an HR person who told her that she does not have time for LinkedIn and other stuff, but she makes time for pedicures. Both these Facebook comments give insight into the mess that HR finds itself in today. Read more…

HR Insights, Talent Management

Building a Brand By Building a Culture of Positive Reinforcement

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“All their training is based on positive reinforcement. We keep fish throughout the area and as part of our training routine, we reinforce and reward with a fish. This is how we train them to master a maneuver.“

This comment was from the trainer that trains the sea lions at Disney. I’m a big fan of certain channels such as Animal Planet, Discovery and my all time favorite, National Geographic.

This episode was centered around the trainer and how he puts these animals through their paces for the shows at Sea World. As foolproof as this positive reinforcement is, some will wash out and will not make it. However, the vast majority of them perform their routine flawlessly Read more…

HR Insights

Networking in the Internet Age: It’s Still About Building the Relationship

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“Hello sir this is XXXX. I just completed my engineering degree. If you have any opportunities, please let me know.”

“I would like to have a job with your company, please help me.”

“Mr. Ron, please review my resume and give me a job.”

In the course of a week, I get numerous emails of this type. Sometimes it feels as if people think I can just create a job for them even though their skill set does not match up with my company. I also feel that they think I have the time to filter their resume and advise them.

But what amazes me most is the lack of forethought in reaching out to someone, especially on LinkedIn. Read more…