In this interview with Naukrigulf.com, James Farrell, People and Culture Director Middle East at Hempel Paints, located in Bahrain, talks about company culture, employment in Covid – 19 times, and a little about himself. Here’s what he had to share:
Please share your professional journey with us and how did you reach where you are.
I qualified in 1998 as with a Diploma in Business Studies in Hotel and Catering Management from a university in Ireland and worked in the business in various leadership roles until 2005. During this period, I also studied for my degree in Human Resource Management and joined a large Paint company in Ireland and the UK (Crown Paints) where I worked as a Human Resources Manager for almost 12 years.
In 2012, Hempel A/S acquired my former company Crown Paints. In 2014, I was selected by my leadership team to take part in a Leadership development initiative, the programme was called Explorer.
In 2017, I was given the opportunity with Hempel Paints to move to the Middle East as a regional People and Culture Manager, based in Bahrain I was responsible for five countries across the Middle East, following a merger of two Middle Eastern regions.
In 2019 I took over my current role of People and Culture Director of eight countries across the Middle East and overall responsibility for the People and Culture function for over 750 employees.
Which aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?
Developing talent is the best part of my job, forming career paths for those with potential is extremely rewarding and it give a great sense of self satisfaction. I have had the pleasure of seeing many colleagues rise at many levels throughout the organization locally and globally, as we are a global company and have a presence in almost 85 countries across the world.
What is the best part about working in your company?
Hempel Paints is a Danish company and the owners are the Hempel Foundation. This means that there is no one person that is benefiting from the success of our company, our success means that funds are provided to areas across the world that are underdeveloped and specifically children where educational opportunities are not available.
At present Hempel Paints helps over 60,000 children (That is 10 children for every employee working in Hempel) in many countries to gain an education and also provides the support so that they can have a bright future. Other areas that the foundation support include many activities to do with sustainability of our planet including protection of the Amazon jungle, this is super exciting and all employees have a great sense of worthwhile working for our great company.
What is your favorite way to de-stress after a long day at work?
I enjoy an active life outside work, I have completed many multi-sport adventure races, I cycle most weekends across the island of Bahrain. I intend on taking part in the 70.3 Iron Man here in Bahrain this year, inshallah.
Please share your favorite books or authors with our audience.
Reading is not one of my strongest points but the last book I have read which was inspiring was “Dare to Care” a book written by George Kohlrieser. The basic idea of the book is that behind each high- performing team there is generally a caring climate and a leader helping employees to see what is possible and encouraging them to get there whilst showing concern for their well-being and developing bonds.
Do you live by any particular motto?
Most definitely I do, it comes from our founder in Hempel Paints J.C. Hempel, and it is something that I have used again and again in presentations and coaching.
“It’s the will to want that creates the skill to do”, think about it, this quote has true meaning for all of us.
What advice would you like to give to the jobseekers who are struggling to find a job during the times of COVID-19?
Keep trying, its difficult out there at present but don’t take risks, the recruitment market is very fragile at present in the Middle East, if you are in a job and looking to transition make sure that you are moving to a solid base.
For those who are struggling just make sure that you pin point the organizations that you would like to work for, make sure your CV is presented really well in its layout and content (No spelling mistakes). Follow up with recruiters and Human Resource Departments, don’t just hand the CV in, call them (but don’t pester) to make sure its still on their desk and have a pitch prepared for the telephone call you make on follow up.
Any suggestions for jobsites to help them become more relevant in the post Covid -19 world?
Keep doing what you’re doing.