Hussain is a well-known face at Amilla Maldives as their energetic Assistant Manager of Recreation. With lower demand due to the pandemic this year, Hussain pivoted to a three-month secondment in HR Special Projects. These unique projects are aimed at maximizing the quality of life for everyone working at Amilla. They range from renovating the Islanders’ accommodation block to transforming the staff bar into a chilled-out café-style community space.
This dynamic and multi-talented Islander has also helped plan and run staff events – creating some dazzling decorations in the process. He has even channeled his inner artist to create paintings to brighten up staff areas.
Hussain originally hails from Kurendhoo, small island in Lhaviyani Atoll. We caught up with him to find out more about how he’s ringing in the changes behind the scenes at Amilla.
How does a typical day begin for you?
With my current role, I don’t so much follow time as follow projects and people. So I normally wake up around 6am, read the news from the Maldives and around the world for half an hour, do 15 minutes of stretching and warming up for the day, have shower and then I’m ready to start my day.
Often, when I start something, I’ll have to finish it otherwise I just cannot sleep! So, sometimes, if I had a late night, I’ll wake up at around 7am but never later than 7.30am, so I can get things done.
Every day can be different depending on my tasks but one of my favourite things to do is making decorations for staff events. Everybody says I’m really good at it. I also like doing carpentry and painting abstract stuff. The management has given me a lot of opportunities to try out new ideas and the freedom to learn new things, which I really appreciate.
How closely do you work with the other Islanders on your projects?
The best resource of any company is their staff. If we don’t care for them, they won’t enjoy their jobs or their life with us. So, our first priorities are always our staff and our guests.
Getting feedback every day is the biggest thing in HR Special Projects. Before we make any new service or changes, we get feedback from the staff. That’s because we need to give them what they want where this is possible. Normally, lunchtime is the best time to go speak to them. The best way I’ve found to do it is to have a friendly chat. I just go to wherever they are, have a coffee with them, then ask them in a friendly way. Otherwise, if I just ask them formally, they might not open up.
What has been your favourite special project to work on so far?
I thought something I really had to do was provide what the Islanders really need, so I started working with the Bliss tuck shop, because it’s difficult to get what they need from other islands, especially with COVID-19 restrictions. So, I’ve changed the concept and created more options as well as redesigned the shop. Red Bull is the most popular item, of course! It’s their basic need, they enjoy it a lot. But although we have a canteen, we didn’t have anything like a café area for them to enjoy the drinks they bought from the shop.
What was the solution?
We have a nice bar which needs a little attention to evolve the concept into something new because as Maldivians, with our culture, we’re not allowed to drink alcohol. So, if we have a bar where people think it only serves alcohol, it means some of the staff can be there, but some might not feel comfortable. I’m leading on the project to transform the bar into an area where the Maldivian staff and expat staff can enjoy things together as one family. This new concept will be more than a bar, it’ll be more like a café area where staff can also do things like book a cinema night, or celebrate a private birthday party with their friends, and so on.
How did you end up in this special projects secondment?
I went back to my island when the Covid-19 pandemic hit but they called me to ask if I was interested in this role. Before this I was working in recreation. I love being active and working with guests and wanted to be back at Amilla with this new opportunity to help me grow and have new experiences.
Can you tell us about your journey to working in recreation?
When I was a teenager, I loved sports and I wanted to play sports professionally but unfortunately there weren’t many opportunities in the Maldives at the time, so I decided it wasn’t a good idea. Then I decided recreation at a resort would be a good job because then you get to do everything. But it was hard to get into, so I actually started working in childcare at another resort.
I love kids and it was fun. I spent four years there and became Kids Club Manager, but I still wanted to get into recreation. So, I took a step down to become a Recreation Supervisor at another resort and then finally became Recreation Manager. It was hard to take a step backwards, but it was worth it .
Then I got a knee injury and couldn’t do sports anymore. I had to slow down and from there I decided to learn more about creative art and tennis too. Then this year I got offered the chance to join the HR team, taking care of special projects and staff communications.
I learned one thing from my past; I didn’t follow my passion when I was a teenager to become a professional sports player because of the restrictions including my injury. But I ended up learning many other things that I can use to create beautiful things or to make magic, as our HR Director says! And now with the knowledge and experience I have, I just want to help other people to be happy and follow their passions.