Notre Dame University-Louaize North Lebanon Campus (NDU-NLC) students, enrolled in the HRM453 course at the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics (FBAE), visited on November 15, 2017, the INDEVCO headquarters (Human Resources, HR, and Organization Development Department) and were given a guided tour of the INDEVCO plants, producing Sanita and Masterpak in the company’s Zouk complex.
Two factors primarily inspired this trip: first, the need to encourage and motivate faculty members to take students on visits to organizations or invite guest speakers to connect them with the business world, and second, FBAE instructor at NLC Dr. Mariam Shebaya’s delightful obsession with relating theory to practice. She makes it a point to get students to think about work realities and the application of theoretical models and approaches in real-world scenarios.
The objective of the trip was to get students out of the classroom and give them a glimpse of real-world organizations (and specifically HR professionals within organizations). Although the subject matter is mostly theoretical with some examples from real industries and companies, Dr. Shebaya thought that it would be helpful for students to interact with real HR professionals in the field and ask them about the practical application of what they had learned in class. Typically, students think HR is mainly a desk job, dealing with people and technicalities in their offices; however, following this trip, she considers their attitude has changed.
INDEVCO’s Vice-President of the HROD Department Wissam Moubarak and Head of Recruitment Dr. Fadi Younes gave the students an extremely warm reception (and offered them cakes, cookies, and juice). The cordial welcome put them at ease. Moubarak and Dr. Younes then gave them a presentation, introducing them to the company, its divisions, where it is spread, the industries it represents, and a lot more info on their group of companies and products as well as on their organizational culture, philosophy, and values.
They focused on their global expansion and export strategies, mainly information that is relevant to global strategies. They then moved on to a thorough description of their HROD Department and its operations, focusing on areas relevant to global HR management. They also shared with them some of the challenges faced on a global HR level, from recruitment to compensation to culture and values, and various other topics. The floor was then opened for a Q&A session where students interacted brilliantly, much to the pride of their instructor. Their questions were relevant and pertinent, even surprising the speakers at times.
Following the Q&A, the company’s Head of Safety Dr. Gebran Karnaouni gave the students an interesting presentation, highlighting the importance of safety in the workplace, outlining their work toward acquiring the U.K. Safety Accreditation, and leading them through a discussion about safety in the workplace on topics such as how to make factories as accident-free as possible. This was important before the plant tour but also served to raise students’ awareness of these real issues in the workplace.
The tour around the Sanita factories was a unique experience. Students witnessed the process of hygienic pad production from the start right through to packaging, flexible packaging, agricultural products, etc.) and Masterpak (hygienic pad production from the start right through packaging, flexible packaging, agricultural products, labs, etc.).
Although one could question the value of a plant tour for HR students, it did serve the purpose of highlighting the fact that HR professionals cannot stay behind their desks and come up with policies. In order to make sound decisions, HR professionals must get as close as possible to employees and be able to see, hear, and understand their working conditions before taking certain actions, a fact that was highlighted in the presentation by Moubarak and Younes. During the plant tours, students met heads of operations, safety, and security managers, and workers on the factory floor. They even got the opportunity to see a machine glitch being dealt with on the spot - all that while seeing how tough factory conditions can be (the noise level was almost unbearable).