Fair workplace practices for all in Oman

Oman Saturday 30/January/2021 21:33 PM
By: Times News Service
Fair workplace practices for all in Oman
The Ministry of Labour has worked out an action plan that aims to introduce standardised work practices for all firms in the country.

Muscat: Proper workplace practices and employee evaluation programmes need to be adopted by companies in Oman to get the best out of their workers and keep them motivated, the Ministry of Labour has said.

As part of the ministry’s agenda for this year, it came up with an action plan that aims to introduce standardised work practices for all companies in the country.

The 2021 Action Plan includes efforts to increase efficiency of employees by classifying them on the basis of the quality and nature of the work they do. These standards aim to increase the quality of work done by employees, company departments, and entire organisations.

Promoting human capital and developing plans that address future growth, as well as instilling in workers the desire to continuously innovate to find solutions to problems, and display a willingness to change according to circumstances are other steps in the ministry’s plan.

The human resources sector is among those that needs to adopt proper policies and operational strategies, with its development directly contributing to better employee morale in companies. A regulatory system that ensures companies implement these practices must also be present, so that they operate in accordance with international standards.

“This was a step that was necessary for the Ministry of Labour to take, especially under the current circumstances, and with Oman very keen on inviting foreign investment,” said Dr Ahmed Al Hooti, the head of economic research at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI).

“The ministry had suggested the importance of putting these controls for companies in Oman, so that they meet global practices, but for a long time, companies were not willing, or refused to follow these directives, because they were happy with the way they were running things on their own,” he said.

“But this cannot continue now. All companies need to work together so that we can help expand the economy and generate more jobs. If one company has one standard of working, and a second company has another, then how will the employee from one company adjust to the ways of the other?” said Al Hooti. “It will cause a lot of problems if all the companies are not on the same page.”

A key objective of the Ministry of Labour is to create more than 30,000 jobs for Omani nationals this year, Al Hooti said, adding  the private sector would need to help the government to make this happen.
“We have more than 60,000 jobseekers right now, and the government cannot help create jobs for all of them,” he said. “If there are no jobs for these people, then they will not contribute to the economy, either in terms of the work they do, or through spending.”

“Times are very tough right now. Global economies have been damaged because of the coronavirus pandemic. If one company wishes to operate in one way, and another in a different way, we will take a lot longer to create employment opportunities,” Al Hooti added.

“It is also important to educate the Omanis who will take these posts about the importance of these workplace procedures, particularly if they are in managerial roles,” he revealed.

“When an expat worker who has the same skills and a similar amount of experience comes in to do these jobs, he already knows these rules because they are followed in his home country, so the Omani nationals must take an interest in knowing these procedures. They are being brought in for the good of everyone,” Al Hooti further added.

These proposals were made by the Ministry’s Human Resources Development department, which is tasked with bringing in sound employment practices and addressing related local concerns.

Among the other tasks of the department are drawing up career development plans, methods to qualitatively measure employee contributions, conduct a review of company functions and projects, identify and look into employee complaints, follow up on plans and training programmes for workers, provide technical assistance to public sector bodies where required, periodically renew policies related to manpower hiring, based on the needs of the country and the financial situation, and coordinate with the relevant authorities to prioritise the development of the local workforce.