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


Reporting Analytics, or Why You Must Help Interpret It For Your Audience


“Every month, I send an analytics report to senior management. What is disheartening is that not once have they asked me what the numbers mean. They never show any interest.

This past week I gave a presentation on workforce planning and analytics in Dubai at the Workforce Planning & Analytics Conference.

The quote was from one of the participants who was expressing her frustration on her deliverables. She was basically asking why is nobody was taking her work and role seriously. Read more…

HR Insights, HR Management

Progressive HR: It’s All About Policies That Truly Engage Today’s Workforce

HR Progressive

“[Cough, cough] I can’t come in today, I am very sick,” she said.

I told her no problem; see you when you feel better. However, when she came in the next day, I pulled her aside to talk. Drop the cough, and the sick voice —  if you need to be out just let me know, we can always work it out.

That was the end of the fake calls and everybody lived happily ever after. This employee was not an early riser but I would always leave her at the office when I departed. She normally worked to 8 pm every night. Read more…

Talent Management

It Usually Pays Off to Help Employees Follow Their Dream

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I became an accountant because accountants are the career choice of my family. We are a family of accountants. But when I spent my first week for one of the Big 4 firms, I knew that I could not do this for my entire life.”

“I became a lawyer because my mother and father were both lawyers. I never gave it much thought, only that I knew I would become a lawyer. I enjoyed law school and it was only when I got my first real job as a lawyer that I knew that this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I just could not fathom doing this for 30 plus years.”

Both of these conversations with friends over the years came back to me this week when I read an article in Arab News concerning Saudi Arabian youth and their career choice. The title of the article was Young Saudis pursue career dreams despite the odds. Read more…

HR Insights, Talent Management

Giving Up Control: It’s Key to Unleashing Your Workforce’s Power


And the walls came tumbling down.

Last week I read the article about Zappos doing away with all job titles and replacing them with what is called Holacracy.

Developed by entrepreneur Brian Robertson, Holacracy is a system of governance that takes things like managers, job titles and bureaucratic red tape out of the equation, distributing leadership and power evenly across an organization.

Instead of a standard hierarchy, companies in a Holacracy are comprised of different “circles” and employees can have any range of roles and responsibilities within those circles. Read more…

Classic TLNT

When Rudeness Dominates Your Work Culture, Everyone Pays the Price

bad manager

Editor’s Note: Sometimes readers ask about past TLNT articles. That’s why we republish a Classic TLNT post every Friday. 

You’re rude because your boss is rude.

WOW! That was an article in my feed from the Harvard Business Review. I could not wait to click over and absorb that one.

What happens when you have bad behavior and you do nothing about it from an organizational perspective? Read more…

Culture, HR Insights

The 2014 Agenda: Cracking the Culture Code and Embracing Change

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I had no idea that they took my candidacy seriously since I did not have a background in TV or Film. However, I was told by the board president that they wanted talent and that it was hard to find.

That was music to my ears as the story was relayed to me at a New Year’s Eve party. My friend had gotten a job as the Senior Vice President at a major non-profit organization.

An attorney by training, a lecturer at an Ivy League school, and a philanthropist with no background in TV or film — yet he was the chosen one. Read more…

Best of TLNT

See You in a Month: Why Americans Need to Get Serious About Vacations

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Editor’s note: TLNT is continuing an annual tradition by counting down the most popular posts of the year. This is No. 5. Our regular content will return on Monday.

“See you in a month!”

I was told that by one of our executives as he stopped by HR to complete paperwork for his impending 30-day vacation. My thought was: what would it be like to take an entire month at one time for vacation?

I told him jokingly that I would not know what to do with myself if I had a WHOLE month off. He admonished me and told me that vacation is for rest and relaxation. Read more…

Best of TLNT

“Industry Experience Required” Is a Mindset We Need to Get Out Of


Editor’s note: TLNT is continuing an annual tradition by counting down the most popular posts of the year. This is No. 17. Our regular content will return next Monday.

“Industry experience required. Industry experience preferred.”

When I see these type of requirements listed in a job ad, they cause my eyes to glaze over.

I have had friends call and ask, “do you think I should apply if it says this?” My response is that clicking submit only takes a few seconds. Read more…

HR Insights

Can You Get Away From the Job and Relax? Finding the Key to That Puzzle

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So Dad, now you can relax since you have all this time off. I am taking my vacation the same time so we can both hang out.”

On my 12 hour flight from Saudi Arabia to New York last Friday, I thought of what am I going to do for close to four weeks off. In the Middle East, it is not viewed favorably if you are doing company work while away on vacation unless it is an absolute emergency.

I wrote a TLNT post that broke records in views and readership a while back about vacations: Americans vs. other expats. I know of so many people who have taken 30, 40 days of vacation and do not give it a second thought. But here I am in the solitude at 50,000 feet altitude wondering what I am going to do for the next month. Read more…

HR Insights

Managing Your Career Before the Ambush Comes

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I worked all those years, coming to work every day, doing a great job. Each year there was a raise and eventually more responsibility.

I went home at the end of the day and came back the following day. I repeated that cycle all those years until one day, I came in and was let go.

During all those years I had received numerous inquiries from outside headhunters, but at each call was kindly rebuffed because I loved what I was doing. My resume had never been updated in all those years, and I had not interviewed in 24 years. Read more…