Training the nation

Hanan Nagi, CEO of HNI Management and Administration Training
Hanan Nagi, CEO of HNI Management and Administration Training

Hanan Nagi, CEO of HNI Management and Administration Training, underscores the steps taken by her firm to ensure seamless transmission of learning during Covid-19

By Mitchelle D’Souza

Published: Thu 29 Jul 2021, 12:00 AM

A prominent regional player in training and development, HNI Management and Administration Training is a UAE-based blended learning and an HR consultancy organisation. The firm delivers a portfolio of people development programmes to organisations in the Middle East, North Africa and the USA, focusing on interactive and experiential training. Participants of its programmes stand to gain hands-on skills during the sessions, with the knowledge to staying in power.

Nagi discussed the company’s scope of work, and how it has transformed its learning solutions to meet challenges posed by Covid-19.

Professional journey to being the CEO

Nagi moved to Dubai from Egypt 20 years ago to gain international exposure in business. After initially taking up an HR post, the entrepreneur began working for the semi-government organisation TECOM Group. This was followed by Nagi achieving her Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) diploma followed in short order by a level 7 CIPD Master’s degree from Middlesex University, UK. It was at this point that Nagi shifted gears from being an employee to an employer.

Her company HNI was founded 11 years ago and now works with some of the biggest clients in the region including His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai’s office, UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Mubadala, DEWA, RTA, SABIC, to name but a few.

Core area of business and services

The firm primarily offers professional development programmes in the spheres of HR consulting, soft skills learning, and leadership development. HNI also provides short courses with international certifications, having affiliations with renowned institutes from Europe and the USA.

Going virtual

With the world having moved online during the Covid-19 pandemic, e-learning and virtual training have also come to the fore. Explaining how the company coped with this shift, Nagi remarked, “There’s always a silver lining to everything. We were shocked when Covid-19 struck, but I am proud of how quickly and effectively we adapted to meet our clients’ needs and virtualised our portfolio. The current situation has pushed us to look at new resources and technologies, and new ways to make virtual training as interactive and engaging as face-to-face.”

Overcoming challenges through VR

For Nagi, that challenge of ensuring that its delivery has staying power even when delivered virtually has catalysed new ways of approaching old problems.

Talking about dodging the Covid-19 curveball, Nagi said: “Right before the pandemic, we established a whole new department for virtual reality (VR) training, something we accelerated as we digitised our programmes. We are now actively looking at how we can move this from being only part of a training course to a whole new training module. If you want to learn, for instance, about setting objectives, instead of attending a course, you could put on a VR and learn.”

Biggest milestones

Expanding the business from local to international has been one of the most important touchstones for the trailblazer. In 2019, HNI delivered training courses in the USA for the first time outside the MENA region to become truly an international learning provider. Another highlight has been branching into technical training, expanding beyond soft skills, business and HR. Early on in her Dubai career, Nagi was bestowed with a prestigious government award by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, which she considers a turning point due to the recognition and visibility that brought.

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