CEOs representing some of the UAE’s leading companies have made the business case for promoting and improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace during their participation in the CEO Dialogue recently hosted by Dubai Chamber.
The CEO Dialogue, held virtually under the theme Unleashing the Power of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, was organised as part of Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2021. The Dialogue highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion and outlined effective strategies that can be used to create and nurture a culture of inclusion at workplace to attain greater productivity and receiving innovative results.
Among the high-level speakersjoining the CEO Dialogue were:
Mr. Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice-President of International Relations, Dubai Chamber, Mr. Luay Al Shurafa, President and Managing Director Africa & Middle East, General Motors, Mr. Luciano Poli, President Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Dow, Ms. Shamsa Al Falasi, Managing Director, Head of Global Subsidiaries Group GCC Iraq, Citi Group, Ms. Noha Hefny, Founder & CEO, The People of Impact, who shared valuable insights on diversity and inclusion, strategies, best practices, tools and measurement metrics for boosting inclusion at workplace.
During his opening remarks, Mr. Hassan AlHashemi said that addressing diversity and inclusion requires the commitment of the top management team. He said the UAE is a prime example of a diverse country, which is home to more than 200 nationalities and open to embracing new cultures and ways of thinking.
Investing in diverse yet inclusive workplace requires commitment from the top management, said Al Hashemi, stressing the importance of events like the CEO Dialogue, which provide an ideal platform for industry leaders to share knowledge, experiences and best practices, as well as lessons they have learned from various challenges faced in the process.
Drawing on his experience, Mr. Luay Al Shurafa, President and Managing Director Africa & Middle East, General Motors, said transparent communication, empowerment of diverse employees, psychological and physical safety, and flexibility, empathy and trust are necessary attributes for nurturing a workplace that fosters inclusiveness. Raising awareness on inclusion through consistent dialogue within company, setting accountability and measurement are key to improving company’s performance on inclusion.
Mr. Luciano Poli, President Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Dow, emphasised the need for setting up the right systems and processes and actively implementing initiatives and programmes that promote diversity and inclusion at workplace to get the desired results. He noted that conscious and unconscious bias are some of the main challenges that organisations face, which can only be tackled through training, guidance and leadership focus in embedding diversity and inclusion into core business strategy.
Ms. Shamsa Al Falasi, Managing Director, Head of Global Subsidiaries Group GCC Iraq, Citi Group, advised leaders to develop partnerships and collaborations with different types of organisations to learn their best practices, adopt and implement the same to increase diversity and inclusion and at the same time engage leaders as mentors for employees to encourage inclusion. She stressed the importance of benchmarking to understand where a company stands, dig deep into gaps that exist and work towards filling them.
Top leadership commitment backed up by solid strategies, investments, and measurable actions is needed to realize progress, according to Ms. Noha Hefny, Founder & CEO, The People of Impact, who said that such an approach could help companies better preform, foster innovation and helps attract and retain the best talent.
During the dialogue, Dr. Kamel Mellahi, Senior Manager at Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business, suggested that a diverse workforce brings many strengths, opportunities, and fresh ideas and perspectives to the table, which help businesses innovate and grow.
Taking place November 14th-18th, Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2021, also features a roundtable on opportunities, challenges and solutions related to the inclusion at workplace, as well as a multi-stakeholder discussion highlighting innovative technologies that can be used to improve diversity and inclusion.
In addition, a campaign titled Let’s Create an inclusive Workplace was launched as part of the week-long initiative, which aimed to encourage companies to take practical actions within their business to improve inclusion for its employees.