WITH AN HR HERO:
BADAR KHAN, SHRP
Proving that HR is a profession with no borders, Badar Khan
has built an internationally acclaimed career on world-class
HR strategy and development. From his native Pakistan to
Qatar, the United Arab Emirates to Europe to the U.S., he’s
worked with some of the biggest global companies, transforming
fledgling HR departments into veritable leadership academies.
Khan tells HR Professional about life in the HR fast lane and
why Canada is his toughest challenge yet.
HRP: When did you decide you wanted a career in HR?
BK: In 1984, I graduated as a mechanical engineer in my native
Karachi, Pakistan. While working as a project engineer on two
large construction projects there, it became clear to both me and
my colleagues that I have a natural flair for managing, communicating
and relationship building. As a result, I was introduced to
the training and development manager of Aga University Hospital
in Karachi and my career in HR began.
HRP: What was your first HR job?
BK: I started as an education coordinator in the training and
development department at Aga University Hospital. My initial
responsibilities included designing, presenting and coordinating a
new staff induction program. I also developed job specifications
for all the engineering functions of the hospital and coordinated
and presented employee development programs. It was during
this job that I learned facilitation and presentation skills, training
evaluation and design and how to develop and write job specifications
After a year, I was selected as one of 15 HR professionals to
take a vigorous three-week master’s class from the Academy of
Education and Development. It was a unique and rewarding opportunity
and I was privileged to be one of the few who had that
distinction in those days.
HRP: Tell me about your job now. What are your main
areas of responsibility?
BK: I am based in Canada, but at the moment I am working as
senior advisor and internal consultant to the HR department for
Ashghal, the public works authority for the state of Qatar. My
responsibilities include setting up the HR strategy and roadmap
and conceptualizing and initiating strategic programs and policies,
such as leadership development, succession planning, competencies
profiling and performance management. My role is to set up
these programs and develop internal capability to sustain these
programs when I leave the organization.
HRP: What do you love about your job?
BK: I love being able to be a positive influence and shape the organizations
and careers of the people I have worked with. Most of
the organizations I have worked with were in their infancies when
it came to HR systems and processes when I started, including
Union Texas Petroleum and Qatargas. The feeling and recognition
that I have contributed to their success is a joy.
Also, some of the young graduates I have coached and trained
in Qatar are now government ministers, CEOs and senior professionals
of large companies. It’s rewarding to see people you have
helped reach a certain level of competence.
HRP: What are the challenges you experience in your job?
BK: The greatest challenge for an HR professional is to give quality
support to the core business and ensure that you have the right
culture and programs in place to support the overall direction of
the company. HR professionals need to fully understand the business
and its needs and develop collaborative partnerships. We also
need to develop credibility to ensure that employees trust us and
see us as facilitators rather than policemen of the organization.
By Heather Hudson
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ JANUARY 2014 ❚ 49