American University of Beirut


​​​​​​​Calling MENA employers in times of crises

Crises are an inevitable part of today’s world, and their impact can be devastating for individuals, organizations, communities, and society more broadly. From natural disasters to economic downturns and pandemics, crises have significant human impact, leading to the need for multi-stakeholder response and mitigation, including international nongovernment organizations, governments, civil society groups, and organizations both private and not-for-profit.

The impact of unresolved crises on organizations and their recruitment, retention, and promotion processes

  • Financial strains (e.g. that can lead to budget cuts, layoffs and reduced investment in growth and innovation).
  • Operational disruptions (e.g. that can lead to force closures, disrupting operations and supply chains, increasing costs for materials and goods). 
  • Customer behavior changes (e.g. that can lead to shifts in consumer behavior, preferences, and spending habits). 
  • Decrease in employee morale and engagement
  • Reduced recruitment opportunities (e.g. that can lead to hiring freeze, decrease in job openings) 
  • Retention challenges (e.g. that can lead to a decrease in T&D efforts, pay cuts, layoffs)
  • Stalled promotions due to lack of career support 
  • Work-life balance challenges (e.g. during covid pandemic significant changes in work arrangements, lack of childcare support, increased care-giving responsibilities)
  • Mental health and well-being severely affected  

Why is a crisis-informed perspective on RRP important and how does it impact both employers and employees? 

What is intersectionality and why is it important to consider it during crisis?

“Intersectionality explains why individuals endure multiple forms of discrimination and disadvantages all at once (Crenshaw, 1989, 1991) and why these challenges can be magnified during times of crisis. It takes into account various factors such as gender, race, ethnicity, disability, age, and socioeconomic background when crafting crisis response strategies, recruitment and retention policies, training programs, and promotion opportunities (Woods et al., 2021).”

  • Recognizes that individuals have multiple intersecting identities and experiences that can impact how they are affected by a crisis and how they respond to HR policies and support
  • Highlights the need for HR policies to consider the unique challenges and needs of employees who belong to marginalized or underrepresented groups.

SAWI’s recommendations for applying a crises-informed perspective to your RRP policies and practices:

To deal with crises effectively, consider three key points: Understand - Align - Adapt
  • Understand the specific crises faced by your region, country, and organization, and how they affect your workforce.
  • Align your HR practices and crisis management principles to enhance the organization’s resilience, adaptability, and productivity. 
  • Adapt your recruitment, retention and promotion HR practices and policies to fit the needs of the employees and the organization in times of crises. 

Here are quick recommendations in terms of Recruitment, Retention, and Promotion:


  • Yasmeen Makarem Ph.D. – Co-Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor of Human Resource Development, S. Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut
  • Danielle Mattar MA – Research Assistant

Read more about:

>    the crisis informed RRP policies here.
>    the SAWI movement and learn more how we transform policies and navigate through crises.​

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