A construction company’s workforce is one of its most valuable tools. But more importantly, it is the human resources responsibility to successfully identify a potential talent that would make the overall processes less complex and more efficient. This year’s International Woman’s Day, we are interviewing Ms. Nourhan Wanis, Egypt Branch HR Manager, to get a closer look at how she utilizes her role within the construction industry.
What is your educational background? Is it mandatory for an HR Manager of a construction company to have a construction background?
I graduated from Faculty of Commerce from Cairo University, and have been working at ACC since April 2011. In my point of view, it is not mandatory for an HR Manager of a construction company to have a construction background as we are applying the general HR techniques whatever the work industry is. However, what is mandatory is to review the updated HR and construction courses as self-study.
Given that construction industry’s workforce is extremely diverse, the selection techniques for recruiting are essential. What methods are being used to attract skillful staff?
One of the main methods used to attract skillful staff in the construction industry is the internal recruiting, especially the employees’ referrals. One of its advantages that it helps the new comer to be familiar with our company, and it reduces the employee turnover then we select the most appropriate and talented candidates who can add more value to our company, learn more skills and fit our company’s culture. In addition, we are using Social Media tools like LinkedIn for headhunting and selecting the most qualified and best fit candidates for the required positions.
Being a female branch HR Manager in a multinational company, how do you assess your role and your management style?
My management style is democratic, which is a reflection of how I want to be treated and supported as I always feel supported by my managers and co-workers. We never have a gender discrimination or biases between us. Equality happens when the female manager is skillful, has a strong personality to lead people successfully, has enough experience to handle heavy-duty issues and has the ability to build a strong assessment on the technical values.
I always support my employees, appreciate their work and overcome any confusions that could happen and help them learn more skills of professionalism. I also like to hear more of what the employees are willing to say and think about different approaches to projects, jobs, and plans so I prefer meeting employees constantly.
What are the company qualities that you are promoting to potential employees?
That the company offers training and assessment for the employees, send them to a conference, showing recognition for professional accomplishments and milestones that help the employee to feel valued and appreciated for all of their hard work and contributions to the organization. We also care for a positive work environment that includes fun ways for employees to interact and have good relationships.
When you are interviewing male candidates, do you feel that you are given the appropriate recognition as a female manager?
Sure, I interview any candidate with the utmost professionalism to be able to full understand his/her professional background as well as personal characteristics. The real challenge is to ask all candidates the same questions and to recognize the different styles of communication. However sometimes in very rare situations, I can interview a male applicant who can act in an inappropriate way with less professional attitude. I attend such situations with a different, a more firm approach, and in turn this kind of experience gives me more courage to handle harder situations.
How are you up-keeping the internal human resources relations vis-a-vis improving the quality of work?
I believe that good workplace relationships and a positive work environment is critical for a successful business. We are trying to break the ice with all levels of employees, whether juniors or seniors. Either by communicating openly with them, setting periodical meetings with all the staff to make them feel much more at ease in the work space. We also apply the open door strategy of the Top Managers that allows for a more back and forth communication between the management and the employees for a better workflow.
A word of advice to the professional ladies with ambition: What can you tell them?
Be confident in your approach and believe in it, do not accept but the best out of yourself. The difficult situations always happen and they will teach you to be more qualified and more experienced to face the next challenge. Fight and work on yourself until you’re satisfied, learn and practice as much as you can, and never let hurdles slowdown your path.