Shereen Shabnam interviews Hazel Jackson, CEO of Biz Group
Training and education is an integral part of team building and character building of staff. After 23 years of starting Biz Group, Hazel still loves coming to work every day. A variety of clients and projects keep her fresh, discovering how Biz Group can help change leadership approaches, team skills and business practices to accelerate their growth.
Hazel enjoys facilitating sessions to solve business problems, or delivering hard-hitting , energising keynotes to stimulate awareness and change. We get to know more about her work.
When was Biz Group established and what inspired you to set up in the UAE?
I first visited Dubai in 1992 to launch a product at an exhibition and was immediately struck by the entrepreneurial vibe and energy. The visit inspired me to believe that anything is possible. In 1993, I decided to leave my job in London and start a training company in Dubai. I found the market was growing and businesses were struggling to differentiate their service. Identifying a gap in the market for training and talent development I believed I could influence how the industry grew in the region.
Tell us a little bit about how you develop and implement professional programmes through training and team building?
The starting point is recognising a client’s business challenges and their expectations from training or teambuilding. Once we develop an understanding of the business impact metrics, we work backwards to determine what employees need to think and do everyday. The programmes are then focused on changing habits, skills and confidence, for which we have hundreds of different solutions developed over the last 23 years. By working and interacting with several clients throughout our business, we are also constantly adding to our portfolio and often tailor solutions specifically for each client’s needs.
What kind of activities do you do that help people maximise their potential in the workplace?
I love this question, as the first training programme I wrote 23 years ago was called Maximising your Potential.
Today, we believe the key to helping people make the most of their talent and time is by helping the organisation to become a happy and engaging workplace. We use a simple diagnostic tool to establish a business’s current engagement state, and then make recommendations on how they can improve. Our model includes 20 building blocks to creating an environment in which employees can thrive.
It is important for employees to have a clear purpose; why do they come to work? It needs to be for a motivation that is more than just money. If the organisation can provide a greater reason for working in that company, employees will naturally maximise their potential.
What skills do you help develop most during your training sessions?
We have identified that leadership skills and customer service are currently trending in the training and talent development sector. We focus on not only developing skills, but also building confidence so employees can apply their skillset in the workplace. Only 10% of learning happens in a formal workshop setting. From there, 20% of learning occurs between peers and social groups and 70% on the job. We place emphasis on linking learning back to the 20% and 70% so that everything employees cover in the workshop can be implemented in the workplace. There is also amazing new technology that supports post learning retention, which is making our mission as trainers much more streamlined.
What projects are you working on now for corporate team building?
The structure of teams in the corporate world is constantly evolving. In the Bersin Deliotte 2016 Human Capital Trends report, it states the rise of team and organisational structure is the primary issue for companies globally. Employees are required to work more in agile teams – by merging strengths and skills to solve problems quickly and then moving on to the next project. This requires a new way of thinking, both as an organisation but also as individuals. We need to form productive teams faster and work better with a variety of people. Biz Group is busy evolving new team building solutions to tackle this interesting challenge.
Tell us a bit about your expansion plans?
We have just completed one of our long term goals – we have moved into our new offices in IMPZ! We have created a WOW space in which our employees can work together, therefore enhancing our in-house teambuilding and collaboration and providing greater opportunities for innovation.
Moving forward, we plan to further integrate technology into all our training programmes and have developed new teams, which will be focused on Learning Technologies. We are also expanding our training design services and building a team to focus on culture and engagement. We are also looking to hire more Arabic consultants and support staff, as we launch Axonify (an employee knowledge platform) in Arabic at the end of July.