Ron Thomas

Ron Thomas is a Chief Human Resource & Administrative Officer currently based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He formerly was Director, Talent and Human Resources Solutions at Buck Consultants (a Xerox Company) and is certified by the Human Capital Institute as a Master Human Capital Strategist (MHCS) and Strategic Workforce Planner (SWP). He's also worked in senior HR roles with Martha Stewart Living and IBM. Ron serves on the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy. He also serves as a Faculty Partner and Executive Facilitator at the Human Capital Institute. He has received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence by the World Human Resource Development Congress in Mumbai. Contact him at, or on Twitter at

Articles by Ron Thomas


Living the Brand: Infusing Employees With a Greater Purpose


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


“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…

Talent Management

Feeling Like We’re Stealing: It’s How to Know When You’re Really Engaged

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Every time I get paid, I feel as if  I’m stealing. I just can’t believe that I am getting paid to do this.

I was watching an interview last week, and when I heard that statement,  I immediately stopped what I was doing to listen more. Unfortunately, the interview was basically over, and not only that, I didn’t catch the person who said it.

But that sentence stood with me throughout the day. Read more…

Global HR, HR Management

Confessions of an Expat HR Leader: It’s All About the Networking

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Mr. Ron, we would like your insights on this issue.”

This happened throughout the conference until it got a point that I just wanted to be left alone to listen. “Let me just take it all in,” was my thought.

Last week, I was a keynote speaker at the 2nd Annual Human Resources Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. My topic: HR at the Crossroads of Business & Leadership.

One of the main pieces of advice I have for any expat is to get involved right away in your industry. The learning experiences that I have gotten from attending these conference are incalculable. Attend as many conference as possible and learn, learn and learn some more. Read more…

Global HR, HR Management

The Challenges of HR Management in a Global Workplace

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“Mr. Ron, I want you to send me to some training.

Sure, I said. Tell me about what you do and what are some of your duties in your department? After listening to him or a while, I finally asked: what type training do you think you need?

His reply floored me — “I do not know. Just send me to training.”

The exasperated look on my face told the story. Another of my colleagues was in my office and he said that is a normal reaction in this country. People look to be directed; they are not into self-direction. Read more…

HR Insights, Leadership

One Decision That Clearly Shows Just What Leadership Looks Like


It is “inconsistent with our purpose.”

And with that, the ball dropped. CVS President and CEO Larry J. Merlo used that phrase to make an announcement that rocked the health care and business community.

He said:

The significant action we’re taking today by removing tobacco products from our retail shelves further distinguishes us in how we are serving our patients, clients and health-care providers and better positions us for continued growth in the evolving health care marketplace.” Read more…

Recruiting and Staffing, Talent Management

The Seahawks Showed It Pays to Hire People With a Chip on Their Shoulder

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“It gives you more of a college environment, because guys are having fun. It is pretty cool. But I did sense that guys were hungry. I would say that the majority of guys are hungry.”

The gentleman that made this statement, Cliff Avril, is a veteran NFL defensive end who had just joined the Seattle Seahawks, and he could tell he was in a different place. He’d just spent five seasons with the underachieving, overhyped Detroit Lions, a team filled with first-round picks [his words].

Seattle is a team made up of retreads and rejects who are motivated to prove everyone wrong. Aside from quarterback Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, and running back Marshawn Lynch, there’s a good chance you hadn’t heard of most of the other Seahawks before last week’s Super Bowl game. Read more…