AI-Enabled HR: taking talent management to the next level
The 41-year-old CEO of Kuwait-headquartered human resource consultancy PROCAPITA and founder of HR artificial intelligence startup ZENITHR says he wants to “lead the disruption of HR and make an impact on the industry”using data about factors such as performance level, age, gender, and work function.
“We’re aiming to provide decision-makers with a more profound understanding of employee behaviors, such as why people leave their jobs and which types of individuals are resigning,he said.
“By doing so, we can identify patterns, such as whether an organization loses predominantly average employees or high-value team members, allowing for more informed decision-making. This will also illuminate whether an organization has a good culture or adequate compensation.”
Abu Al-Rob began his journey to running his own technology firm at Jordan’s Hashemite University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in international business administration in 2003.
Over the following decade, he forged a successful career as an HR consultant at Jordan-based Philadelphia Consulting Group, in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh with Ernst & Young, and then in Kuwait as an internal HR advisor for a prominent multibillion-dollar family business group.
“That initial phase of my career equipped me with great practical and operational experience,” says Abu Al-Rob. “But being an HR consultant wasn’t my passion. Instead, I always wanted to work in strategic management advisory.”
“That initial phase of my career equipped me with great practical and operational experience”
– Mohammad Abu Al-Rob
To realize that goal, in early 2013, aged 30, he partnered with Kuwait-based Al-Bahar Group to launch PROCAPITA, a consultancy offering HR advisory, outsourcing, recruitment, and automation enablement services.
Today, PROCAPITA’s more than 100 full-time consultants, professional experts, and affiliates serve more than 1,200 clients across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions. It has added offices in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, and is looking to expand into Egypt, the UK, and India.
Abu Al-Rob’s international ambitions were one of the key reasons for his decision to enroll in IMD’s EMBA course in 2019, six years after launching PROCAPITA. “I wanted exposure to a multinational group of like-minded individuals,” he says.
“The diverse blend of discovery expeditions, global perspectives, and business cultures from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America truly enriched the IMD curriculum. This unparalleled variety and diversity made it the perfect choice for me.”
The same year that Abu Al-Rob started his EMBA, he also founded ZENITHR Intelligence Solutions. Its purpose, he says, was to find ways of applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to human resources functions by developing advanced tools for optimizing workforce management.
“We aim to assist established organizations enhance their performance by offering insightful data to gauge employee experiences, which they can then utilize to drive improvements,” he says.
“Soon, once we have enough data points from our employee experience surveys and have databases in place across every sector, region, and country, we’ll start applying artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to predict behavior by pinpointing similarities.”
Technologies now being jointly by PROCAPITA and ZENITHR will offer ways of assessing work environments in ways which will be able to predict whether overall employee happiness is rising or falling. That in turn should open the way for a company to assess the efficiency of its retention strategies and so whether decision-makers should be acting proactively to retain their most important staff.
Abu Al-Rob’s ambition has already positioned his business at the forefront of HR in its home region. “My competitors are all multinational giants. Instead of competing with local firms, I’m taking on the big names such as Mercer, Korn Ferry, and Gartner. Despite our smaller scale and their established legacies, we’re making significant strides,” he says. “My vision is for my company to not only become a leader in the HR spectrum but to serve as the trusted reference for all aspects of human resources in our region.”