RUWAYDA BEGG: Human Resources Officer at CGI Creative Graphics International

#AutomotiveAllies: Ruwayda Begg, nominated by Shaun Rosenstein, is the Human Resources Officer at CGI Creative Graphics International. Her journey started with the company in 2007 as a Payroll Officer. Thereafter, Ruwayda slowly took on duties in the HR department and found herself enjoying the growth, challenges and changes of the job. She then decided to delve into the key responsibilities of this role to kick off her career in HR.

Ruwayda has recently redefined her role and added COVID-19 Compliance Officer to her title. She felt it is her duty to safeguard her colleagues as best as she can during these challenging times. As the company’s COVID-19 Compliance Officer, she has learnt that being proactive and implementing communication tools are key. CGI’s most effective communication tool is their “Hotline”, a tool that Ruwayda instituted. This is by means of a cell phone, and serves as an open communication between staff and the HR department.

Additionally, Ruwayda drives the daily COVID Task Force meetings, which look for ongoing improvements and tackle any concerns related to COVID-19. The task force team does daily plant walks to ensure that all staff members are exercising social distancing, wearing their masks correctly, and make certain they know that the Task Force cares. They also have a screening team, who arrives early in the morning to make sure that no staff member or immediate family displays signs and symptoms of the virus by doing temperature checks and a self-assessment before entering the workplace.

The Health & Safety of CGI’s staff and their families are a priority and Ruwayda and her team strive to make sure that they not only support their staff members, but that they feel safe when coming to work, in these unprecedented times.

Ruwayda’s #ThingsIWishIKnew before embarking on a career in HR:

I’ve heard several graduates state “HR seems like a lovely career path” and I look at them in horror, thinking…WHAT??

Some points I wish I was prepared for:

  1. Expect to be judged – from what you wear to who you keep company with. You viewed as an ‘Arch angel’ and that you should not be engaging in fun related activity.
  2. You would not be a favourite – If you are used to being Miss Congeniality, this won’t be anymore.
  3. Expect to be in the middle – HR is the representative of the company as well as the employee and when some unfavourable decisions are made, HR normally takes the backlash from employees.
  4. Your time Is no longer yours – Depending on your level of HR, your phone will ring 24/7 at work, on vacation etc.

HR is one of the toughest jobs, as it requires immense responsibility and dedication towards the company, as the company’s strategy is a continuous moving target.

Often HR Officers are seen as “boring”. HR is definitely not a boring job. In fact, it is one of the most incredibly fulfilling careers as it allows you to help other people. Your day is not set in a routine but becomes demanding to people needs.

Ironically, the hardest part of HR is dealing with people too. One bad experience with HR in the lifetime of an employee, can colour the overall view of HR.  It can be challenging to win over trust and loyalty.

Ruwayda’s insight into #TheFutureIsFemale:

It comes as no surprise when people are shocked to hear I work in the automotive industry. It is after all, known as a “man’s world”.  What is the secret to becoming a leader in this industry as a woman? There is no secret. It is simple. I take my role as HR Officer seriously. I strive to learn more about all aspects of the company so I can step up my game and work among the leaders. I am, after all, the communicating voice for, and between every single person at CGI. The fact that I am female only adds value in my role as I instinctively exercise patience, fairness, value relationships while adhering to the labour law, and, I spoil the office now and then with my famous eats. As long as you have a vision and drive you can claim your spot in any type of industry in this world. Maintain your passion, show an interest in each employee, take a positive approach and focus on the bigger picture, exercise patience, tolerance, stick to the labour law and always be just. I believe that a woman can be as tough as a man.