Shafiq Khartabil: Creating A Flexible Staffing Marketplace For Businesses

Results-driven leaders always search for short and long-term solutions to problems and put in the extra effort to succeed. These leaders understand that they can only make that progress with a shared understanding of goals and an alignment of interests. The same can be said for Shafiq Khartabil, Co- Founder & CEO of Ogram. Shafiq rarely takes no for an answer and consistently finds a way to make things happen.

He had sold his previous hospitality management business, where he constantly faced staffing pain points. “Not being able to source quality staff on-demand to fulfill our shifts during the peak season and not having the flexibility to downsize our staff during the low periods. When my co-founder and I scouted the market, we saw that no one was fulfilling the gap of providing flexible on-demand workers to match business cycles perfectly. We saw an opportunity to penetrate the $800M temporary staffing market in the hospitality industry in the UAE. I was determined to solve this problem and dominate the market,” explains Shafiq. And that’s how Ogram came into the existence.

Today, aside from setting and implementing the company strategy, managing external relations (board, investors, and the public), fundraising, and growth, one of Shafiq’s key responsibilities is Managing Internal Relations. People management is a top priority for him. If people experience a feeling of purpose, fulfillment, and motivation in what they do, the industrious leader believes they can operate much better.

One-Of-Its-Kind Digital Staffing Platform

Ogram is a digital staffing platform that enables businesses and individuals to book and manage staff on-demand. With the help of its cutting-edge technology, job matching has become 160 times faster and 50% more reliable, enabling it to provide qualified workers on demand. By offering competent staff on demand, it addresses the issue that the Hospitality, Food & Beverage, Retail, Logistics, and E-commerce businesses face; over-staffing during their low seasons and under-staffing during their high periods. The solution is
flexible and cost-effective as businesses can scale up or down their staffing requirements and only have staff on-ground when needed. This flexible approach breaks away from the norms of traditional agencies that offer fixed- term contracts.

Shafiq proudly asserts, “Clients are completely alleviated from the hassle of procuring visas, documents, and allowances such as travel, accommodation, and of course, gratuity and severance. Ogram handles it all. By doing this and given the flexible model, Ogram, on average, would save corporations about 30% annually when compared to fixed-term staffing or full-time employment. Aside from the flexibility of being able to scale up and down your staffing requirement, Ogram compares to traditional manpower providers by being
able to deploy staff instantly, in large numbers, and fulfill any schedule. Be it 2 days a week, a one-off event, night shifts, or even six days a week for a period of a year.”

The company’s clients are restaurants, bars, hotels, kitchens, events, retail stores, warehousing, manufacturing, FMCG, logistics, and e-commerce businesses. The range of services is quality staff on-demand: Everything from the provision of the front of the house to the back of the house in the hospitality, retail, and logistics spaces, such as runners, waiters, kitchen staff, bartenders, baristas, supervisors, captains, hostesses, receptionists, housekeeping, guest relations, receptionists, office boys, movers, packers, pickers, warehouse assistants, drivers, and the likes.

As a leader, I feel it is my responsibility to push my team to get the “Yes” – we at Ogram never take “No” for an answer; we bulldoze through obstacles and we are solution-oriented in every situation.

– Shafiq Khartabil

Key Ingredients of Success

Success is a long thorny path full of mistakes and obstacles. CEO Shafiq believes that Strategic, Resilience, Strong Psyche, Belief, Strong Interpersonal Skills, and Likeability/Ability To Have a Team Follow are the key ingredients for achieving success. These principles or ingredients help steer the team and company in the right direction and develop one’s personality.

Ogram’s Unique Culture

Shafiq’s company, Ogram has a remote work culture, which has helped the company hire better talent globally and, surprisingly, create and maintain a positive, happy, and motivated workplace culture. Also, the dynamic leader keeps the team motivated by using an OKR framework to manage the business and providing enough latitude and freedom to achieve goals.

“I also attach the objectives to our mission and vision, aligning the team to purpose. My check-ins with the entire organization are once a month and weekly catch-ups with leadership. I also hold weekly virtual coffee breaks with the entire team, where we spend thirty minutes chatting on non-work topics to build our rapport,” says Shafiq.

Future Roadmap

Shafiq says, “We are launching in Greece early this year, further expanding our presence in Abu Dhabi and Northern Emirates, and launching in KSA in the second half of the year. Ogram will also be finalizing key partnerships and a round of funding this year to fuel its growth and expansion plans further. We will be spending more money on developing our technology to improve our speed and efficiency to make it easier for workers to find work and businesses to fulfill shifts.” The dynamic leader believes that Ogram will be one of the
global leaders to bring technology and change the manpower industry for future workers and businesses.

Words of Wisdom

As a seasoned professional, Shafiq expresses, “It takes a lot of self-work and practice to make a successful leader. It really boils down to getting the right human psyche. Everyone is born with different traits that can make up their own ingredients for success. It is important to identify what strengths you have to nurture, and partner with individuals who complement those strengths. Success comes from having the right mindset and having the right people complement you.”

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