Mijbil Alayoub currently holds the position of Senior Director of Corporate Communications at Ooredoo Kuwait. Alayoub has more than 20 years of experience in different establishments such as the Ministry of Information, The Scientific Center, EQUATE, Zain Group, and the Kuwait Fund for the Advancement of Sciences. Alayoub holds a degree in mass communications from Northeastern University in Boston.
Today, he leads one of the most active corporate communications departments in Kuwait. The corporate communications department handles public relations, internal communications, crisis communications, social media, corporate social responsibility, and sponsorships. He spoke to bazaar about how he manages such an active team with diverse functions.
In a nutshell, how would you describe what your department in the company does?
Our role is to communicate all messages to our internal and external customers and relevant stakeholders. Our internal communication team ensures that all key messages are communicated clearly to our employees, ensuring that they are up to date with our latest achievements, policies, products and services. Our public relations team conveys these messages in all external media channels, traditional and otherwise, in addition to managing and enhancing the reputation of the organization.
Our social media team manages the interactive social media channels. Our corporate social responsibility and sponsorships department is tasked with translating our company’s vision, mission, and brand core values into tangible initiatives, ensuring that it supports important initiatives for the communities that we interact with.
How do you handle such a diverse number of tasks within your department?
We have developed proper roles and responsibilities for each member of the team. In addition to the development and adherence to policies, procedures and processes that govern all corporate communications activities.
I’m proud of my department’s team members, all of whom are passionate and dedicated Kuwaiti nationals. I believe that our youth have what it takes to become achievers if given the right support and empowerment.
This is all thanks to the vision of our CEO Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, which focuses on inclusion and open dialogue. My management style is a translation of that vision, and it focuses on mentorship, where I lead by example. I include my team members in all important decision making, and I encourage them to speak up their mind and contribute with ideas and suggestions.
Ooredoo strongly believes in the talent and abilities of Kuwait’s youth; we continuously invest in our employees, and have ongoing training courses in cooperation with reputable institutes with international standards, both inside and outside Kuwait. This is to ensure that all employees are up to date with the latest technologies and international trends. In that regards, all employees in Ooredoo are treated equally regardless of their gender. Ooredoo Kuwait also benefits from the exchange of experience between different departments within its operating companies.
What is the main objective of your social media channel?
We’re proud to have created an environment for the team which is conducive to innovation and free-thinking. Many management traditionalists see this as a threat or a loss of control and power – I view it as a means to ensure creativity, compatibility and cohesiveness.
Our social media channels are some of the fastest-growing in Kuwait, where we do more than just promoting products. We have a team dedicated to answering customers’ queries and solving their problems on all our social media channels. We also actively create competitions and contests for our online audience to ensure engagement.
What were your key partnerships on the corporate social responsibility front in recent years?
We were fortunate enough to establish connections and partnerships with many reputable organizations across Kuwait. We have recently signed a memorandum of understating with the Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, which further fortifies our tie with the ministry’s goals and youth development initiatives, stemming from our deep-rooted belief in the importance of investing in youth.
We had a number of other respectable partners such as Al Nouri Charity Society, with which we worked with to distribute aide to Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. We also have a successful partnership with Spread the Passion, with which we established our Ooredoo volunteer program. This program succeeded in attracting hundreds of Kuwaiti youth, giving them training on essential skills necessary for volunteering before matching them with volunteering opportunities.
We have also partnered with Murouj for this year’s season of Murouj Market, which is an outdoor entrepreneurs market taking place at their unique venue. It features a wide range of projects such as handcrafts, food, accessories, art, among other projects, all of which are established by Kuwaiti entrepreneurs. Our social responsibility agenda is year-round, and places great importance on empowering youth, enabling women and supporting entrepreneurs with a focus on sustainability.
Ooredoo Kuwait is one of three telecom providers in a highly competitive market. What sets you apart from competition in Kuwait?
The telecom sector in Kuwait is very challenging and dynamic. In general, telecom is one of the fastest developing sectors around the world. This is especially true in Kuwait and the GCC region, where most customers are tech-savvy and demand international trends to be available in the local market. The challenge today is to keep up with the expectations of customers, providing services and solutions that suit their needs.
I’m very fortunate to be working in such a dynamic and challenging environment. Ooredoo Kuwait is part of the international Ooredoo Group, and ranks among the Middle East’s leading companies in terms of investment in its network. We’re continuously working to enrich our network even further in order to meet the demands of our customers and give them a truly enriching experience on our network.
Our network in Kuwait is currently undergoing an infrastructure upgrade that began in late 2014 and is scheduled to complete by 2017. Our aim from this is to deploy the latest technologies in order to give our customers the best in-class services.
Currently, our LTE network sites cover 100% of the residential areas of Kuwait, and our LTE-A high-speed internet covers over 80% of Kuwait’s residential areas.
What are the effects of the network renovation so far?
Our network development project had significant impact on our network speed. We recently won the title “Speedtest Awards Winner 2016” by Ookla, the company that operates the famous website Speedtest.net, a tool that measures network speed on users’ devices. The awards are based on speed test results conducted by hundreds of thousands of actual smartphone users in Kuwait.
We’re proud of this achievement, which reiterates our belief in our values of caring, connecting and challenging. We have adopted a very customer-centric policy in recent years to enrich their experience and fulfil their needs, and this policy translates in all our efforts and strategies.
We regularly benchmark our services in relation to all competition, and results have indicated that our network scores higher than the competition in terms of speed. The tests were conducted in various locations and under different conditions across Kuwait to better measure the network’s strength.
What other achievements have you had this year?
We have proudly obtained the latest ISO 9001:2015 certification by UKAS through Bureau Veritas Kuwait. This certification adds to our continuous efforts to maintain internationally-recognized standards in line with our quality management system. We’re proud to be the first Kuwaiti telecom go get such certification from UKAS. Going forward, we strive to continue improvement initiatives through the application of best internationally-proven practices in every aspect possible. This of course aims to ensure smooth operations and processes within the company, to offer our customers with the best in-class customer experience.