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14 for 14: My 14 Key Takeaways from My Last 14 Years at SHL

At SHL, we challenge ourselves every second, as we know what we do changes lives and livelihoods. Read Mohamed Farid’s blog on his 14 key takeaways from his 14 years at SHL.

14 years ago last Friday was my first day of work at SHL. Looking back all these years, I have been through many company's transitions, and you bet we have had our ups and downs. Like any company, there are some things that are done very well but there are also opportunities for improvement, but I have come to realize that all these are just growing pains. If a company stays in its comfort zone, without any wishes to improve or take risk to make major changes, it becomes stagnant and eventually loses it competitive edges in the market. And as a market leader, we challenge ourselves not every day, but every second, because we know that what we do changes lives and livelihoods, and we always have to be the best at it.

Mohamed Farid business cards


So reflecting on my last 14 years at SHL, here are my key takeaways:

1. Partnership
It is all about true partnerships, where “we” is more important than “I”. Move past simple business agreements and foster reliable, strong partnerships with the companies who rely on us. By establishing this, we can achieve so much more compared to when you build a mere business relationship.

2. Recognition
Building a strong culture means rewarding our valued team the way they deserve. Recognize those who have done well as well as room for improvement—and learn from them. Use the accomplishment and learning point as the catalyst for success and to strengthen your team as a whole.

3. Unity
Overcoming obstacles takes collaboration. Even the best-run businesses face setbacks and issues, but the “We are all in it together” approach is the best way to crowdsource solutions for any issue that may arise.

4. Active listening
Being in tune with your team and taking action on their suggestions has tremendously helped build successes over the years. Listen to your people—sometimes bright ideas come from an unexpected place!

5. Friendship
Creating collaborative friendships helps to create coworker relationships that improved our team members' experience and the level of service we provide to our clients and partners.

6. Core Values
Our Core Values are our driving force. We knew from the beginning that we need a driving force for our team. Living the SHL Core values from the start is why we are still thriving 14 years later.

7. Work-life Balance
Vacation time means completely unplugging but we still need to get better at it. We recognized the dangers that contribute to burning out, and that is why we encourage all team members to take their vacation time and totally unplug during that time. Many of us are not there yet, but I feel that this is an increasingly important matter that we all need to remember and practice, especially as the boundary between home and work have blurred more every day.


Listen to your people—sometimes bright ideas come from an unexpected place!

8. Remote and Hybrid Work
Remote work becomes so important now. Fourteen years ago, roles, processes, and home networks just were not ready for remote work. However, over the last few years, it was proven that hybrid work improves work-life balance while at the same time also helping boost productivity and fulfilling people’s potential.

9. Openness and Honesty
Both openness and honesty are key to every relationship whether it is with the team or clients. Engaging in honest and clear communication will not only gain you trust but will also help you solve any issue should it arises.

10. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are key to success, as a healthy variety of people from different backgrounds and cultures provides the balance of voices and Diversity of thought that is needed.

11. Learning Mentality
Things can (and will) get better. While we felt lucky for our early success in launching the Middle East business, we recognize that it is in large part due to our mentality of continuous improvement. No matter how big the win is, we know there is always room to get better.

12. Creativity and Brainstorming
Creativity and brainstorming are key innovation factors, with creativity fueling new ideas during brainstorming sessions.

13. Entrepreneurial Mindset
An Entrepreneurial Mindset is fundamental to success. Entrepreneurial mindset changes and helps to define the way in which an individual approaches things. They look at things differently and have the ability to adapt and that makes them apt to progress in building a successful business. As far as business goes, there are failures and successes around every corner. However, the desire to succeed underpins the Entrepreneurial Mindset and the qualities and attributes that come with it.

14. Belief in People
It is always about people, our team. While we knew this from the start, each day over the last 14 years has made me believe in people more and more. Never stop believing in your people and empower them to be the best of themselves.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. When there is passion in what you are doing, you will find ways to improve and challenge yourself, whether it is to find a way to provide better customer service, find efficiency or improve a process, create an innovative proposal, close more deals, finding more deals to be closed, find a better way to manage a project or finding the right people to solve problems, and so on… Passion and commitment are the secrets behind any success.

So those are my key takeaways from my last 14 years at SHL. A very special thanks to all my colleagues, clients and partners, friends, and family for your support over the last 14 years, and I really will not have done it without your support!

Check out our Resources library for more insightful Leadership tips! 

headshot mohamed farid


Mohamed Farid

Mohamed is a seasoned Business Leader with more than 24 years in the Technology and Services industries, out of which 14 years in Human Capital Management. Mohamed initiated SHL operations in the Middle East from onset in 2008 and since then has been responsible for the performance, strategy, and expansion of the organization in MENA Region. With a long history of building strong customer relationships, coupled with the market know-how to specify, strategize, and define opportunities to support SHL clients, he is an active public speaker and an advisor to various Middle East government initiatives in Human Capital and AI. Mohamed has a master’s degree from Middlesex University in Business Information Technology and is an Associate Alumni of MIT Sloan School of Management.

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