Hr Strategy At Al Ain Distribution Company Commerce Essay

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Our project HR Strategy at Al Ain Distribution Company - AADC highlights the general 5 years Strategy of AADC and studies in depth the HR Strategy for that company.

The aim of our research is to study the HR Strategy at AADC and analyse how it can contribute and is linked to the overall AADC strategy.

The methodology of our research was based on face to face interviews with the concerned staff from AADC. We met with Eng. Nader R. Al Shawa, Business Planning & Performance Specialist from the Business Support unit, Mr Ahmed Khalil ………….. from HR Department, Ms Shamma Al Humairi HR Specialist, Ms. Shatita Al Ameri & Ms. Maryam Al Mazroui From the Marketing and Public Relations department. The team was exceptionally friendly and helpful with us. Further information was gathered from the AADC newsletters issues 2, 3 in 2010.


We have faced a number of difficulties when conducting our research. One of which involves the HR Department whose doors were closed to us and we were rejected to meet with the HR Director who mentioned that everything is written on the website however it was all under construction. The interviewed staff were involved in meetings and training courses that made them unavailable and if so, in a harry to finish our interview to catch up with their meetings and trainings. Our project involves mainly the HR department and we were only able to meet with one of our student college Ms. Shamma Al Humairi who thankfully has helped us with what she could do.


Before we begin to talk about the company of our research, let us first define the basic concepts about any strategy.

According to Armstrong (2006), the strategy is simply about knowing where you want to go and how are you planning to get there. It's a declaration of intents "This is what we want to do and this is how we intend to do it". The effective strategy should be the one that works, guides purposeful actions to deliver the required results (Armstrong, 2006).

The HR Strategy

Often the terms Strategic HRM and HR Strategy are used interchangeably but there are distinctions between them. Strategic HRM defines the organization's intensions and plans on how its business goals should be achieved through people. While HR Strategy is the results of the Strategic HRM process, i.e. the stream of decisions over time, which forms the way the organization is managing its human resources and defines which areas in the HR strategy needs to be developed. HR strategy focuses on what needs to be done and changed (Armstrong, 2006).

HR strategies set out what the organization intends to do about its human resources management policies and practices, and how they should be integrated with the business strategy and with each other. They enable the company to measure it progress towards its goals and evaluate outcomes against the objectives.

Now that we have defined the HR Strategy and understood its meaning, let us proceed with the company of our study: AADC.

AADC background

AADC (Al Ain Distribution Company) has been flourished in Al Ain in 1999. AADC is a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (ADWEA). It is responsible about the water and electricity distribution in the western region on Abu Dhabi.

AADC under the supervision of H.H Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nayhan, Chairman of ADWEA operates with more than1900 employees. AADC seeking the quality of provided services through the documented quality management system that covers the quality objectives, quality policy statement, procedures quality and flow charts and quality records.

AADC has revised its vision to assure its alignment with the vision of Abu Dhabi Executive Council and ADWEA to be applicable for the next 5 years that helps to target the success of AADC core business areas which is distribution of water and electricity in a safely manner from Transco termination point to all the residents of Al Ain City.

AADC Objectives

Al Ain Distribution Company aims to develop and improve the customer service and the quality of service to gain the customer satisfaction and develop the best utility infrastructure in Al Ain. Also AAD works to improve the financial return of investment and increase the revenues

AADC Vision

AADC aims to be one of the best water and electricity distribution companies

AADC Mission

To distribute water and electricity in a reliable, secure, safe, environmentally responsible & cost-effective manner

AADC Values

AADC is a public joint stock company; therefore they have commitment to their shareholders to deliver the expected return on investment and give AADC a good reputation in the market. And since AADC is a service company, they are seeking the customer satisfaction by distributing the water and electricity in a high level of quality. AADC ensures the quality of services to their customers and shareholders through its commitment to the employees who perform the core functions by treating them in a highly respectful manner and focusing on developing and retaining outstanding staff. AADC reward its employees periodically to recognize their achievements and also to empower them and their contributions through the honest communication. AADC takes care of their employees by providing the safe working environment along with the periodic training courses on the Health, Safety and Environmental programs (HSE).

AADC Organization Chart

Managing Director

Asset Management Director

Electricity O&M Director

Customer Service Director

Water O & M Director





Business Support Dept.

Deputy Managing






Projects Delivery Division

Supply Department

Laboratory Department

Figure 1: AADC Organization Structure.

Source: Adapted from AADC, 2010

From the organization chart, the HR department is under the managing deputy along with the other management departments. Being under the managing deputy gives the HR department the base role for assessing and creating the efficient working environment in AADC.

AADC Overall strategy

AADC's Business Support unit and top management have worked together for the past year to develop the current 5 years strategy plan (2011 - 2015). This plan is consistent with the ADWEA (Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority) plan which in turn consistent with the Government of Abu Dhabi 2030 plan to become one of the best five governments in the world.

AADC is concentrating in three main values within their strategy that leads to the contribution to ensure sustainable distribution of water and electricity in Al Ain city. The first value concerns about sustaining the growth in the city, by effectively optimizing the company's assets. AADC should maintain the internal processes to ensure the network capacity that covers the expected growth in the city. The second value cares about the customer service where AADC works to enhance the customer experience to deliver a defined and acceptable level of customer services. The third value concerns about the operational and technical excellence by efficiently optimizing the operational procedures, of delivering and supplying water and electricity, and this can be achieved through improving the programs lifecycle and complying with the HSE (health, safety and environmental programs) to streamline the work processes.

The values of AADC strategy cannot be achieved without a solid base that support and work to maintain those values. AADC calls those support units as enablers. Those enables include HR practices to sustain organization evolvement, strengthen the employees, aligning the behavior with the corporate values, contributing to the government's emiratisation goals. Those enablers are the human resource department responsibility that strive the HR strategy that should be implemented. There are other two enablers which are improving the communication governance, which is under the business support department responsibility, and optimizing the technology to improve customer interaction and internal operation which is under the IT responsibility. Figure 2 shows the overall AADC strategy.

Figure 2: AADC Strategy: Adapted from AADC, 2010

AADC HR Strategy

AADC have five enablers that will enable AADC to be a performance driven organization. Each of these enablers has Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) that should be achieved to reach the plan goals. Table 1 shows these enablers.

Our main concern is the enablers related to the HR Department which are:

Evolve HR practices to enable the organization

Strengthen our people development framework

Align behavior with work core values

Contribute to the government Emiratisation goals

Table 1: AADC Enablers for a Performance Driven Organization

AADC Priority

Priority Description


Priority Owner

Evolve HR practices to enable the organization

Improve employee's recruitment, turnovers and developments process ( talent, career, succession etc)

Improve the appraisal system and incentive scheme

Effective HR policies and Processes

Maximize Productivity

Develop a system for performance management

Turnover Ratio

% Vacant positions

% employee occupancy

HR Department

Strengthen our people development framework

Define career paths

Improve employee skills, knowledge and behavior

% of Employees who received a minimum accepted level of training

% of training absenteeism

HR Department

Align behavior with work core values

Establish a performance driven culture

Customer oriented mindset

Enhance teamwork

Create an attractive work environment

% satisfied employees

HR Department

Contribute to the government Emiratisation goals

Maintain UAE nationals and women in managerial positions

Support Government Emiratization goals

Develop local talent

% of Nationals in the workforce

% of National Women in the workforce

No of special needs employees

HR Department

Improve Communication & Governance

Develop a system for knowledge management

Improve knowledge and best practice

Enhance internal and external communication, as well as collaboration for knowledge sharing

Strategy Execution index

Internal communications index

# of top leadership communication sessions

Business Support Department

Optimize technology to improve customer interaction and internal operations

Optimize technology to improve customer interaction and internal operations

Maintain high technological standards

Maximize utilization of exiting technologies

IT system availability and integration

Outsourcing management

Closeout Project on time

Budget projects performance

IT Coordinator

Evolve HR practices to enable the organization

HR practices are the core success element of the HR strategy expected by AADC business strategy. HR manager participate in the strategic planning of the company to analyze the expected manpower requirements and develop a strategy to reach the required manpower competencies to achieve the business goals. AADC Human Resource department had set their objectives to help the company achieve their goals. Those objectives are:

To be one of the best HR departments in Abu Dhabi

Increase nationalization percentage within the employees

Upgrade the skills of the employees

Recruit qualified employees

For AADC HR department to be one of the best HR in Abu Dhabi, they are working to improve the recruitment process by acquiring the best skills and develop the available skills. AADC has a strategic policy to recruit the best available candidates from UAE or outside, and therefore the HR department pays effort for the recruitment processes to add valuable skills that serves the company mission.

The knowledge management and HR strategy is linked to the recruitment practices and retaining employees (Boxall & Haesli, 2005). At AADC, the knowledge management is linked directly to the recruitment process and also to the training and development and appraisal management systems. The recruitment process starts by advertising the vacant positions in the local newspapers and if the required skills are not available in the local market, the advertisement goes outside the country. Then the received CVs are filtered to select the best then the selected candidates are introduced to written exams that test the English and computer skills in different levels according to the educational degree of the candidate, and who passes the exams are introduced to the interview to assure only the good skills with good knowledge has been selected. After the recruitment, AADC maintain a two weeks orientation and for the fresh graduates they remain as developee for two years to get training and development programs that enables him/her to perform the work duties.

AADC HR departments work to decrease the turnover percentage and retain their skillful staff. According to the statistics of 2009, AADC has a 5.05% for the turnover which is considered a reasonable percentage for a company with 2000 employees where the monthly average of turnover is 8.4 staff (refer to appendix x). According to a study conducted by Guthrie (2001), there is a positive relationship between high-involvement work practices and employee retention and productivity. And based on that, AADC established a teamwork spirit working environment that helps employees to work in a friendly environment and feel their importance for the company objectives as stated by Mr. Mohamed Al Shamsi, Deputy Chairman.

HR department with cooperation with the line managers and supervisors maintain the appraisal system that covers 8 criteria which are punctuality, competencies, decision making ability, communication skills, cooperation with others, team work, stress and pressure control and HSE compliance. The HSE compliances assure that the employee has been trained on the job hazards and first aid procedures and have knowledge about the job safety rules, and this shows how the HR strategy of AADC cares about the employees' safety and satisfactions.

AADC works to improve the productivity of their employees and encourage them to work efficiently using a good incentive and rewarding system. AADC HR department maintains a bonus system and promotions based on the line manager recommendations and the appraisal results. Also the HR maintains appreciation program for the distinctive performance of the employees that is advertised on the internal portal, Emails memos and periodic AADC magazine in addition to a financial reward and this rewarding strategy encourages the rest of employees for better performance and maximize their productivity and also this strategy strengthen the staff loyalty and helps to decrease the turnover rates.

HR department follows a transparent strategy with the incentives, rewarding system details and also the disciplinary actions are mentioned in the employee's handbook which assures their credibility and transparency.

Strengthen our people development framework

Align behavior with work core values

AADC strives to establish a performance driven culture and enhances the teamwork spirit by rewards and recognition. AADC holds honoring ceremonies on weekly basis to honor those who have achieved something or those who are leaving the company. The news and photos of the ceremony are sent to all employees by emails and is mentioned in the monthly newsletter and the national newspapers. Evaluation of the achievers and thanking the employee whose employment is finished is a matter that features the consideration of AADC to its employees, to leave a good impression about the company even if they are no longer employees there. During the ceremony, the supervisor sheers an appreciation and thanks expressions to his recognized employee which enhances the employee's self confidence and develops the desire to provide performance beyond the expectations. That also will motivate the others to seek the approach for such honoring and ignite the competition and team spirit for excellence.

AADC also organizes sports events as a competition between departments to enhance the teamwork spirit and collaboration. Last November AADC held the first volleyball tournament that was between four departments and the Customer Service Department took the first place followed by the HR Department in the second place.

In order to achieve the customer oriented mindset, AADC holds customer service training courses that focuses on attending to the customer demands and acquiring customer service skills to better serve AADC customers.

And to enable the employees to focus on their work, AADC maintains an attractive working environment with fully equipped offices, lightening, conditioning and also greenery in every corner.

The KPI for this section is to achieve the employee's satisfaction. The HR department conducts satisfaction surveys that is sent to all employees by emails ( Appendix x). This survey aims to identify the shortcomings and to solve them. The areas of this survey include general performance of the HR staff, such as meeting inquiry deadlines, being friendly and helpful, knowledge of their work, and the efficiency of the HRMS system. The second area is about the Employee Relations, where it asks about the benefits, allowances and the grades if they are up to the expectations or not, the efficiency of the appraisal system and the disciplinary measures. The Training part asks about whether the offered training courses meet the employee's demands and helps to enhance the productivity of the employee or not. The latest survey results show a satisfaction percentage of 85%. The HR Department aims to increase this percentage and as a step towards this mission they place a suggestion/complains box at every floor so that employees can write about their complains or suggestions. There is a Suggestions and Complains Committee that looks at all submitted forms and studies them then takes actions. It's at the desire of the employee to write his details or leave it anonymous. Appendix x shows the complain form.

By achieving this priority, the HR department helps to have satisfied employees that in return establishes customers' satisfaction.

Contribute to the government Emiratisation goals

HR Strategy Evaluation


Observations and Recommendations

During our research, we have noticed that the newsletters have few spelling mistakes. The marketing and public relations department must double check the spelling mistakes and the English grammar in order to come up with an error free newsletter which reflects the image of the company.

We have noticed that the newsletters were printed on an environment friendly recycled papers which is a good step that reflects the aim of the company to be environmentally friendly.

The reader of the newsletter can actually sense the culture of AADC, it has many stories and staff contributions that reflects the sole of AADC environment. It is an excellent piece of work.

At the reception desk which was full of male customers, we were the only females standing between the male customers in order to get the entrance ID to visit our interviewees. Instead of attending to our needs fast so we will not stand with the males as usually the culture suggests, we had to wait until the employee attended to the male customers' needs then to us. It would have been better to have a section for the female customers or attend to their needs first.

On the other hand, the reception employee at our first visit has shown an appreciated great sense of UAE culture and respect when he did not look directly to us "eyes down" while taking our inquiry and on the way out the replacement employee handed to us our IDs faced-down so no one else would take a look at our ID pictures. These steps deserve our praising.

AADC works hardly on the CSR programs towards the community in different fields such as education, healthcare, charity and leisure activities. Although the business support department, publish relation department and media section had helped and assisted this research, the HR department manager which the study is about had refused to meet the research team and one the HR personnel tried to help and answer to the team questions.

The first two years period for a fresh graduate staff to be a developee is considered to be long period, which may affect him/her negatively.


Armstrong, Michael (2006). Strategic Human Resources Management: A Guide to Action. 3rd Eddition, London, , GBR: Kogan Page, Limited

Boxall, Peter & Haesli, Astrid (2005). When knowledge management meets HR strategy: an exploration of personalization-retention and codification-recruitment configurations. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Volume 16, Issue 11 November 2005, pages 1955 - 1975.  Retrieved on July 2, 2010 from:

Guthrie, James P. (2001). High-Involvement Work Practices, Turnover, and Productivity: Evidence from New Zealand. The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 44, No. 1 (Feb., 2001), pp. 180-190. Retrieved on July 2, 2010 from: