MGT211 Saudi Electronic Developmental Strategies Towards Human Resource at Saudi Aramco Paper – No matches + 3 pages at least- All answers and references m

MGT211 Saudi Electronic Developmental Strategies Towards Human Resource at Saudi Aramco Paper – No matches + 3 pages at least- All answers and references must be in APA style HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT INTERNATIONAL, 2018
VOL. 21, NO. 2, 150–157
Gauging the unique developmental strategies towards
human resource at Saudi Aramco
Asha Alexander
Department of Business Administration- Female Branch, Jubail University College, Jubail Industrial City,
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Aramco’s unrivalled upstream oil operations over the years
would not have been possible without an unparalleled commitment towards the development of people. The human resource
department of Saudi Aramco was successful in creating a healthy
and productive environment by shifting the focus from ‘administration’ to being a ‘strategic partner’. The purpose of this paper is
to identify and illuminate the human resource developmental
strategies that are aligned with core business practices leading
to exceptional performance at Saudi Aramco. As an academician,
the author believes that this paper will provide an insight into
gauging human resource development strategies for any aspiring
firm and can be referred for further research.
Received 15 March 2016
Accepted 23 December 2016
Human resource strategy;
training; development; Saudi
Excellence at par
Saudi Aramco holds the privilege of being a reliable supplier of energy not only to the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but also to the entire world. During the course of its 81year history, Saudi Aramco has never failed to meet its commitment to customers for
any operational glitches. This untiring focus on operational excellence is based on the
three pillars, namely: technology, teamwork, and talent. These strongest competitive
advantages allow Saudi Aramco to serve the world with a high level of confidence.
Saudi Aramco’s long-standing and proud training heritage and investment in human
resource development are viewed as critical success factors in enabling the company
to meet its current and emerging business needs. Saudi Aramco’s success over the
years would not have been possible without an unparalleled commitment to the
development of people. Hydrocarbon resource is of little value without the people
who produce, manage, and deliver these resources to the world efficiently and
effectively. It is the people that make this company and hence, Aramco has invested
in strategic human resource development (SHRD) practices. SHRD focuses on the
creation of a learning culture as well as aligning training, development and learning
strategies with the corporate strategy (McCracken and Wallace 2000). The objective is
to attract and retain talent so that employees remain engaged with emphasis on
strategic workforce planning, leadership development and performance management.
CONTACT Asha Alexander
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
The company has 61,907 employees, of which 51,653 are Saudi and 10,254 are
expatriates. The refining capacity (in thousands of barrels per day) worldwide is
5375 and Saudi Aramco’s share is 3104 (SaudiAramco 2014).
The training and development history of Saudi Aramco (Saudi Aramco-75 years
2008) reveals that talent development models are constantly evolving to meet the
incessant quest of sharpening the new-generation workers’ capabilities and the business
needs of the day. The company’s aim is to emphasize the relevance of education in the
progressively digital workplace and to make learning an engaging and active process
associated with real life. It has been successful in transforming traditional training
centres into new learning environments which are supported by blended-learning
approaches with various delivery modes and a state-of-the-art learning environment.
The purpose of this paper is to study the training and development history, identify the
new millennium concurrent skill development programmes and illuminate Aramco’s
human resource strategies that align with core business practices leading to exceptional
performance at Saudi Aramco.
The training and development history
The 1930s: The Concession Agreement was signed on May 29, 1933, permitting Saudi
Arabia and Standard Oil of California (SoCal) to drill oil in eastern Saudi Arabia. The
Saudi nationals were employed in this project and on-the-job training of drilling crews
began at Dammam Well No. 1 in November 1935. In March 1938, the discovery of oil
in commercial quantities led to increase in SoCal’s workforce in few months who had
little or no industry experience from 600 to 3000.
The 1940s: Training began to move from the ‘job site’ to the ‘classroom’ called
‘Barasti’. These oil camps have structures made of palm leaf thatch stretched over a
frame of mangrove poles. In 1943, the company’s first training organization, ‘The
Education Division’, was founded. On April 8, 1944, the Jabal school for Saudi boys
under age 18 was opened in Dhahran classified as ‘Education Trainees’. The 1949
Aramco Production Training Programme was the first programme to qualify a large
number of Saudis for jobs, then held by expatriates and raised 12,000 Saudi employees
from unskilled to skilled or semi-skilled levels in a period of just five years. It was the
stepping stone of what became known as the Saudization process.
The 1950s: Separate training patterns for Saudi employees were introduced along
with an advanced industrial training programme known as General Industrial Training
(GIT). On October 1951, the company awarded its first college scholarships in cooperation with Saudi Government to Saudis, so that they can successfully qualify for college
entrance. In 1955, Aramco built the first modern, air-conditioned schools called
Industrial Training Centres (ITCs). The Training Department established a Saudi
development programme in 1956 to identify and oversee the training of Saudi employees with the potential to take over professional and management positions in the future.
Aramco television started broadcasting in September 1957 with a third of station’s
airtime devoted to teaching academic subjects, particularly English, Math, and Arabic.
In 1958, Industrial Training Shops (ITSs) were launched for trainees to learn the
mechanical skills needed for such jobs as electrician, repair person, machinist, welder
and maintenance mechanic.
The 1960s: Aramco produced curriculum materials such as the Aramco English
series to cover the first four years of ITC English-language training. Management
training for Saudis was actively promoted. From 1965 to 1967, the Training
Department produced the Aramco Basic management series, a range of textbooks for
supervisory and management training programmes and commenced the management
training centre.
The 1970s: Enrolment in Aramco training programmes jumped from 1000 to over
13,000 over a year. The company introduced its first Apprenticeship Programme in
1970. The programme was suspended in 1974 due to organizations hiring apprentices
as regular employees before they completed the programme. The Curriculum and Test
Development Unit (CTDU) was established in 1973 to standardize the ITC curriculum
at all levels and in all areas. A special Clerical Training Centre (SCTC) for Saudi females
was established in Dhahran in 1976. In 1978, Aramco Job Training Standards (AJTSs)
were prepared that became the standard measure of an employee’s training progress. In
January 1979, Aramco management formed the Saudi Arab Manpower Committee
(SAMCOM) with the agreement of approving policies and programmes for recruitment, training, and retention of Saudi employees.
The 1980s: In May 1980, the Career Development Department (CDD) was formed
for Saudis in Grade codes 11–14 with programmes such as the Professional
Development Program (PDP), and the Professional Development English Program
(PDEP). On May 1982, CDD merged with the Training Department to form Training
and Career Development (T&CD). Training and Career Development was made
responsible for all training programmes. Between late 1983 and early 1984, the company also opened new academic and job skills training centres in Abqaiq, Mubarraz,
and Ras Tanura. In 1983, Training and Career Development (T&CD) created the
Quality Assurance Unit to determine how effective academic and job skills training
programmes were in preparing Saudi employees for their targeted jobs. The College
Preparatory Program was launched in 1983 to prepare high-calibre Saudi high school
graduates to attend U.S. colleges on company scholarships. In 1986, the company
approved the College Degree Programme for Non-Employees (CDPNE) with an objective of hiring them as Aramco employees on successful completion of their college
education. In 1988, the Intensive English-language training programme, based on newly
defined academic and job skills requirements, was introduced in an attempt to reduce
the time needed for language training.
The 1990s: As per the government’s direction, in 1993 Saudi Aramco merged with
Samarec (the Saudi Arabian Marketing and Refining Company). The company
absorbed about 10,000 Samarec employees, Samarec’s refining, and distribution facilities. A new training department, Central Region/Western Region Training Department
(CR/WRTD), took responsibility for training ex-Samarec employees. By the end of
1993, there were 1565 former Samarec employees enrolled in Saudi Aramco training
programmes. In the same year, a team of evaluators from the prestigious Accrediting
Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) evaluated Saudi Aramco’s
academic and job skills training programme and described the company’s training
standards as ‘superior’. In 1997, training and career development opened a series of
Corporate Learning Centres equipped with computers that gave many employees their
first hands-on experience.
By 1999, the company operated 20 Learning Centres and counted 22,000 visitors to the
centres as internet became available on desktop computers. In 1998, training and career
development (T&CD) launched a training initiative called ‘Transformation 2000’ (T2000)
to help the Saudi Aramco workforce adapt to the new digital technology. One of the
premises of T2000 was that training programmes would be faster and more cost-effective if
employees took greater responsibility for their own learning. This concept became known
as self-development.
The new millennium concurrent skill development
The year 2001, of the new millennium was declared as the year of self-development at
Saudi Aramco. The training courses, as well as practice tests were made available to the
employees on their office and home computers. Aramco also launched a Contractor
Training Programme in May 2002 and created a full-fledged training and career
development (T&CD) division for that purpose. That programme was designed to
bring the job skills of Saudis working for contractors up to Saudi Aramco standards.
In 2004, training and career development (T&CD) entered into ‘partnership’ projects
with local vocational and industrial colleges and institutes and adopted Saudi Aramco
training standards to prepare Saudi students for jobs with companies in the Kingdom.
In May 2005, Saudi Aramco apprentices issued uniforms consisting of a blue shirt with
the Saudi Aramco logo on the left side of the chest to instil a sense of unity and pride
among the apprentices.
In 2006, Saudi Aramco opened the popular College Degree Programme for
Non- Employees (CDPNE) to women. In 2007, ACCET extended the accreditation of
training and career development’s (T&CD) academic and job skills training programmes for five more years. At the same time, ACCET accredited the SAP (system,
application, products in data processing) Training Delivery Division, the Micro
Computer Training Unit, and the Staff Development Group for the first time. More
than 5000 people visited the 2008 Corporate Training & Development Forum and
Exhibition, highlighting the role that training has played in the company’s 75-year
history. That same year, T&CD’s Academic Curriculum & Testing Unit (AC&TU)
made a major upgrade to the company’s English-language programme.
In July 2009, Huda M. Al-Ghoson was named General Manager of T&CD. She
became the first woman to head the company’s Training organization. In June 2009,
Saudi Aramco and the Technical & Vocational Training Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the National Industrial Training Institute (NlTl)
as an independent not-for-profit institute in the AI-Hasa area. In 2009, the first group
of Knowledge Transfer Specialists graduated from the training and career development
(T&CD) programme. The Women in Business Programme launched in 2010, accelerated the development of Saudi females in the workforce. The programme gives women
tools to excel in the corporate workplace. It received certificates of merit under the best
HRD practice category from the globally recognized 43rd World Conference and
Exhibition of the International Federation of Training and Development Organizations.
In 2010, the impressive new Leadership Centre in Ras Tanura was inaugurated. With
a user capacity of 1200, the new centre is nearly five times larger than the 30-year old
Leadership Centre and Annex in Dhahran. Over 1000 ITC students entered the
Restructured Apprenticeship Programme for Non-Employees (APNE) which addresses
selection and screening, programme content, instructional delivery, policies, guidelines,
and assessment, as well as all components of the training programmes. When leadership is strongly engaged and committed to developing and implementing people
management practices then such a relationship can positively influence organizational
performance (Alagaraja and Egan 2013).The Global Risk Awards recognized the
‘Leadership and Human Resource’ at Saudi Aramco in February 2014 with the
‘Commitment to Learning and Development’ award, which recognizes companies for
their commitment to improving enterprise- wide risk management practices.
Organizational performance is affected by the combined effect of leadership and people
management practices. McLean (2004) suggested that the field of human resource
development (HRD) should extend beyond organizational boundaries to have larger
societal and even national impact. There is certainly no doubt that Aramco’s initiatives
have contributed to national human resource development (NHRD) in the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia.
The Aramco’s human resource (HR) strategy
Scholars and practitioners have recognized the critical role that HRD can play in
helping organizations identify and combat challenges (Tseng and McLean 2008). An
analysis of human resource development trends facing Saudi Arabia highlights the
challenges of human capital in the Gulf Arab countries in general and Saudi Arabia
in particular (Mustapha 2009). Saudi Arabia is facing several challenges in its economy
and human resource development (HRD) programmes. The main challenges are high
dependence on oil, petrochemical industry and foreign labour, low rate of female
employment, weak link between educational system output and the needs of the
economic sectors and the changing expectations of the young generation. The young
generation is characterized as ambitious, demanding, outspoken, and confident. They
want to be associated with leading companies, respected brand, strong work ethics,
diversity and social responsibility and consistent performance record. They also want a
work environment that is empowering, rewarding and values creativity and diversity.
Studies on strategic management of human capital in the energy sector (Mercer 2012)
depicts that business cannot just give lip service to the notion that human capital is
their greatest asset. They need to manage workforces as the lasting source of competitive advantage. One strategy for rapid transformation of Saudi Arabia is leveraging of
intellectual capital and knowledge management (Bazuhair, Khan, and Khursani 2011).
Aramco’s HR strategy reflects the vision of the company’s transformation programme. It is based on three viewpoints: business strategy, market trend and internal
assessment of organizational health. It is important that HR functional strategies in
areas of recruitment, training, and development, leadership and engagement are supportive of the overall business strategy and consistent between themselves. HR functions in organizations are key drivers of organizational strategy. HRD partnerships
increase organizational performance in specific ways such as collaboration, information
sharing and partnering with key stakeholders to meet business objectives (Alagaraja
2013). At the core of the Aramco’s strategy is corporate HR vision to create people
advantage for Saudi Aramco by keeping the demands of prospective talent into
consideration. They have identified workforce planning, performance management and
leadership development as high-priority action areas to address over the 2014–2016
business plan.
Work force planning
Aramco created a company that employees are proud to work for and to be associated
with which makes them a popular employer of choice. For a company that spans such a
vast scope of responsibility, ensuring the constant availability of a talented workforce to
support its operations requires systematic workforce planning methods, investments in
education and training, and expansive talent mobility programmes. The workforce
model helps to get a clear picture of the number of fully qualified employees each
business line needs annually and to project the needs in the next 5 or 10 years (Change
board 2015).The recruitment strategy is maintained by a workforce planning model that
assesses internal and external talent supplies, forecasts talent needs, anticipates knowledge gaps, identifies effective strategies to close critical talent gaps and develops talent in
critical areas. To ensure diversity among the talent, it maintains approximately 85%
Saudization level as their goal. Expatriate employees are always needed for knowledge
transfer and to fill gaps in critical industry skills. Women’s recruitment has increased by
approximately 20% over the past few years. Saudi Aramco works closely with the
government of Saudi Arabia and key academic institutions to secure a steady flow of
talent in the company and also throughout the country (World Economic Forum 2012).
To confirm that training is meeting expected standards and graduates find appropriate
places to study, Aramco has affiliated itself with about 32 universities in the world.
Aramco spends $1.2 billion annually on developing and training staff, scholarships, and
on operation of 25 training centres and leadership programmes. 60% of the Saudi Arabia,
population is under the age of 35 comprising of a deep talent pool in the Kingdom. In
the year 2016, the challenge is about dealing with the existing 65,000 employees and
identifying 400 fresh graduates for a 10-month crash-course before they pursue admissions to the world’s top universities. As a part of strategic workforce planning, the human
resource department at Aramco ensures that an additional 6000 students complete
vocational training annually of which 40% are female students. Aramco is certainly
doing more than many other Saudi firms in terms of employing women.
The training and development strategy is considered as an attraction and retention
factor. Aramco has an extensive range of development programmes for employees at all
levels. Rigorous assessments are conducted annually to identify the development gaps
that are then addressed by targeted development programmes and field assignments in
and out of Saudi Arabia. The career developmen…
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