Talent Show

Human Resources —
In a move to meet the challenges of the future, TAQA has rolled out a new series of initiatives for employees. The TAQA Talent Acceleration Programme will help develop “expertise within our business”, says Carl Sheldon, Chief Executive Officer

The concentration is etched on their faces. As Ken Boyle, Group Vice President, Human Resources, starts his opening address, the anticipation is so visible you can nearly touch it.

Clustered around a table, the group of young achievers listens intently as Mr Boyle outlines the latest initiative in the TAQA Talent road show. “This group sitting here could be the leadership team of the future,” he tells them in a conference room on the 25th floor of the company’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi. “It is up to you to seize the opportunity.”

Mr Boyle opened the five-day forum and workshop for the TAQA Talent Acceleration Programme (TAP) by offering a glimpse of the future while anchoring his comments in the present. “This is very exciting,” he says about the initiative designed to help the career prospects of high-performing employees who are prepared to live and work across our global business operations.

“First of all, I want to congratulate you all on getting into this programme. This is the one that everyone is going to be watching. In the next few days, you are going to see what TAQA is all about. In the next few months, we are going to have career conversations with you, which might open your eyes a little in terms of future options.”

One person who attended the forum certainly had an eye-opening experience. “I felt I was surrounded by a great deal of talent. We all have high expectations for this programme and we all know it will push us to our limits. I feel very privileged to be involved in this and I look forward to future workshops.”

Another participant was also impressed and delighted to be part of the group. “It was great to be involved in the first sessions of the Talent Acceleration Programme. This was the ideal opportunity to meet colleagues from all around TAQA, and to understand and experience what is required to fill a leadership role. We have the privilege to work on an exciting assignment that will discover TAQA’s identity.”

Top-quality staff

The acceleration programme is part of the TAQA Talent initiative that was launched in the spring by Carl Sheldon, Chief Executive Officer. “TAQA Talent will help us develop the abilities and expertise of everyone within our business,” says Mr Sheldon.

In a move to help create the distinctive “One culture” theme, a global team from the company’s human resources division worked for several months to come up with the TAQA Talent plan, which is designed to develop the skills of our employees.

“For every employee, the initiative offers opportunities for them to focus on their ambitions, learn new skills, and shape behaviours that can lead us to new levels of performance and achievement,” says Mr Sheldon. “Not only will this be a focal point for professional development across the company, but it will play a larger role in helping us create our distinctive ‘One TAQA’ culture that is rooted in value-based leadership.”

“The TAQA Talent initiative offers opportunities to focus on our ambitions learn new skills and shape behaviours that can lead us to new levels of performance.” Carl Sheldon, Chief Executive Officer, TAQA

Leadership forums

In January, the TAQA Talent Leadership Programme (TLP) was rolled out globally in Calgary, Canada. That was followed in March by a two-day forum in Abu Dhabi. Executives from the UAE, Morocco, Iraq and Ghana gathered at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel to sharpen their management skills.

In the first of four workshops spanning a year, key areas covered were "Mastering Emotional Intelligence", "Essentials of Leadership" and "High Impact Feedback". "It was a great opportunity to develop my leadership skills, focus on best practice and meet colleagues from around the world," says Stuart Cooper, Vice President, Business Development, Oil & Gas.

Susan Poulson, Associate General Counsel for TAQA’s North American operation, found the experience refreshing. Ms Poulson took part in the pilot TLP forums in The Hague and loved every minute of it. “To have the time to think about what I really can, and do, contribute to TAQA has made a difference in how I approach my work,” she says. “I have no doubt you’ll see an impact in performance and leadership from those who attend.”

Back in the UAE, a TLP forum for the global leadership team was also held in Abu Dhabi. Managing directors and senior executives from across the group, including Mr Sheldon, attended the two-day event in April at the Park Hyatt Hotel on the resort island of Saadiyat. This programme will continue into 2014.

"This 12-month TAQA Talent programme will focus on advanced leadership skills and behaviours," says Mr Sheldon. "This is an important development in the company’s future."

Open doors

At the TAQA Talent Acceleration Programme, Mr Boyle echoed those views when he pointed out that the "doors were open" for people to succeed. But he made it clear that hard work, dedication and team spirit were vital ingredients to being a future leader.

“The programme will help this group challenge for all the senior roles in TAQA,” he says. “But it does not guarantee them a senior job. If they don’t perform or if they show arrogance, which bedevils other programmes like this around the world, they will not get their shots. What we have done is open the door for them."

Looking ahead, TAQA Talent will continue throughout 2013 and beyond as more development initiatives are launched. "Together we can discover new talents and reach new horizons," says Mr Sheldon.