We are interviewing leading members of the CGMA community around the world to gather their insights into future ways of working within organisations.
Ammar Alhassan is CFO for BMMI, a Bahrain-based retail and distribution company. Mr Alhassan explains how his organisation promotes close collaboration within its workforce and how it will attract and retain the talent it needs in future.
What are the biggest challenges of an open workforce, in which talent and resources are spread across a complex mix of in-house teams and external partners?
One of the competencies we have identified as needing development is collaboration, so ensuring an open workforce can work efficiently together.
Are there any areas where collaboration between internal and external teams is not as strong as you’d like?
In Iraq we have been contracted to develop a business operating a hotel within a port, which is a big task. We’ve appointed experts within IT, finance and HR to support us and we have a joint venture partner. The project is being run from Bahrain so pulling all of these resources together in a coherent and effective manner is a very big challenge.
How are you improving that collaboration?
We use the latest technologies to communicate and hold conferences with one another. We also hold regular workshops to bring external and internal people together in a structured manner. We feel that with each project we undertake we get better at executing with a diverse team but it’s incremental improvement – I don’t think it’s a revolutionary change.
Will different demands be placed on CGMAs in an open workforce?
I think they need to employ slightly different tools in an open workforce environment, so this means tailoring the controls and the technology available to gain better oversight of performance. They need to come up with innovative remuneration structures to influence behaviours of staff and contractors. I think management accountants should work to develop knowledge and development not just within their organisation, but also within the contractor’s organisation, to stay ahead.
How will you attract the talent you need to succeed in future?
We have some very forward-looking initiatives to help us bridge the gap. We have a young leaders programme whereby rather than recruit people with significant experience and place them higher up in our hierarchy, we try to fill the lower end of the hierarchy with very good talent and we overpay to get the best in-house talent straight out of university.
How effective has this strategy proved so far?
We move our young talent around the organisation so they subscribe to our culture and shared values and gain the specialised knowledge that we need. These initiatives have worked out very well and since we began four years ago, all of the graduates from the programme have flourished in the company.
How will these university recruits serve your organisation in the long term?
They become very loyal ambassadors and high performers. If you talk to most organisations, their weakness is in middle management and these are prime candidates to fill middle management positions and progress to senior management in the future.