Corporate Connect Series | Organizational Development and Change Management

February 20, 2020: Mr. Shuja ul Haque was invited to lead a guest speaker session, in collaboration with IBA Faculty Member, Mr. Sabir Syed, as part of the Corporate Connect Series segment by the IBA Career Development Center.

The theme of this session was Organizational Development and Change Management, which was initiated with an introduction and background of the speaker. Mr. Shuja's career began from Pakistan Petroleum Limited as a Management Trainee Officer. Afterwards, he worked in British Petroleum Limited and United Energy Group Limited, and was therefore associated with the Oil & Gas Industry for 12 years. He is currently the Head of Rewards and Shared Services at Khaadi Corporation Pvt Limited.

The transition of British Petroleum to United Energy Group (later known as United Energy Pakistan, or UEP) was a massive shift in the culture, management style and working practices. Mr. Shuja talked about how different the British and Chinese working styles and cultures are, especially in terms of open communication and friendliness amongst coworkers, and the hierarchical boundaries. As part of this merge of cultures, trainings were conducted in Beijing during the talent acquisition process, to help potential employees understand the cross-culture attitudes, communication and management style. This made it easier for them to step into and adapt to this environment.

Mr. Shuja discussed the oil crisis that took place a few years ago, which caused the hiring to freeze due to lower budgets. "Any good company aims to be at the 50th percentile, that is, the median, in the compensation philosophy or market. They want to attract potential employees based on their brand name, and the culture, exposure and opportunities they offer instead," explained Mr. Shuja. During this crisis, United Energy Group went from the 50th percentile to the 75th, which made a significant difference to the salary and resulted in loss of talent. Even so, the damage control and change management was done in a way that companies now aspire to match the benefits offered to the UEP employees.

He identified the merge of cultures that took place again when UEP acquired OMV and Kuwait Energy. They arranged detailed month-long orientations, with welcome sessions and activities in groups of people, to familiarize employees with the culture right in the beginning. He also identified that all O&G companies are now shifting or diversifying into renewables as well, rather than working with fossil fuels only; this is part of a technology change for the industry.

"I've worked in Oil & Gas for about 12 years, and have explored all areas of HR there. It felt like a home industry to me, which made me realize that I needed a change and step out of my comfort zone. That's when I joined Khaadi. It's a relatively new company and I see opportunities for it everywhere. It required some change management within myself to adapt to the Retail Industry," informed Mr. Shuja, when asked about the drastic change in his own career.

Khaadi currently has 55% of the market share in the retail sector within Pakistan, and the management is clear about where they want the company to be. He mentioned that the recent developments within Khaadi may seem spontaneous to an on-looker, but they're well thought-out by the management, who are all visionaries and have their minds set on their dream of Khaadi becoming a corporate entity. The management is open to what it will take to reach where they aspire to be, and is supportive of the new ideas for policies and restructuring that is required.

Mr. Shuja talked about Khaadi's work environment and workforce as well. It's a relatively young company as the average age of employees is relatively low (approximately 28 years). The workforce majorly consists of women, which accurately reflects their target market, who have slightly different timings compared to the male employees. This session proved to be quite insightful for students, and was kept interactive throughout.