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Highlights from SHRM TECH 2019 Conference, Dubai



Written by: Amira Haytham

In a matter of two days, SHRM Tech has succeeded to shed light on various topics from the effect of artificial intelligence on the HR world, to the transformations we need to endure and a glimpse of the technological future that is not so far away. David Green opened up the start of the conference mentioning the topics we’ll discuss and the importance of networking in the upcoming days.

Mark Levy

The Evolution of Employee Experience in a High-Tech World

Mark Levy steered the Employee Experience in Airbnb as the former CHRO and spoke exclusively on the benefits of ‘treating your employees how you want your costumers to be treated’ and the actions needed to be taken to accomplish a satisfying workforce. Levy started his talk with a question he was addressed by 5 years ago at the start of his journey at Airbnb, “Are you ready to change the world?”

 An essential factor is: “making your employees feel like they belong in the workplace.” Levy discussed. Attaining the mindset that you’re approaching your employees to do things with and for them, not to them, is the first step to satisfaction. From the most simple applications such as listening, co-creating and setting strategies with the employees to bringing the workplace to live by re-designing and even ‘creating a city branched into neighborhoods’ for your employees, brings the workplace to life. Through an illustration of a call center before and after re-designing it to the workers’ comfort, it demonstrated significantly the effect of the livelihood of the workers as well as the workplace.

For practicality, Levy suggested ways to answer the question, “How do we make our employees feel like they belong?” He further explained the ‘Life Dojo’ method, where a survey is sent specifically to each worker, asking them first, “What keeps them at night?” And subsequently provides them with a journey of self-improvement.

Zahid Mubarak

Making Sense of Data Analytics to Drive an Organization’s Value Creation

“How do we make sense of the data?” A question Mubarak focused his topic on. Data is the base of supporting fats, whether it was financial or non-financial. Zahid Mubarak stressed on the importance of dealing with the statistics rather than obtain it.

Mubarak explained how we need to condense the data into a form where we can extract necessary information. By engaging with the audience, Mubarak gradually asked a few questions involving statistics about the employee workforce, employment required, profit, and losses of a company. Eventually, through various stages of analysis, Mubarak shows how small differences in statistics cause an obvious gap in the finance and how it can cause recession and losses.

Dr. Anna Travis

Dr. Anna Travis focused on the role of agile leadership in a digitizing world. In the case of when Amazon retailed a ‘whole foods’ chain, Dr. Anna discussed the whereabouts in this successful organization.

Two main rules were laid out; experimenting and teaming up. To move fast, the organization needs to experiment, however, the experiments needed to happen within the team to succeed the organization’s upbringing. “The number of the team should be no bigger than the number of people we could feed with two pizzas,” Dr. Anna stated.

A challenge all organizations face is that no one is willing to suffer a string to get to the goal; a series of failing experiments is demotivating.

Referring back to a study in February 2001, Dr. Anna discussed how they reconsidered the way software needs to be developed so that people can work better. as hardware has been the recurrent usage, software has been in constant development, and quoting Mark Andreesen, Dr. Anna said, “in the future every company will become a software company.”

Dr. Heba Makram

Transformations are a make or break for any organization. As the word transformation is an overused term, Dr. Heba defines it as, “when a snake sheds its skin it changes. When a caterpillar becomes a butterfly it transforms.”

Transformation is as difficult as it seems, and for HR to transform into a beautiful butterfly, the managers must be prepared to overcome the obstacles.

“Be prepared to be disrupted,” Dr. Makram laid out the difficulties any transformation process would face. It is absolutely normal that the director will have moments of doubts, however, a supportive leadership should compensate. Another complication to put in mind, is the possible divide created in the organization. A diverge between the ones who support the change and the ones who are stuck in their comfort zones is inevitable.

Dr. Heba concludes by the importance of having a clear vision of the output desired out of the transformation process. To be able to withstand the obstacles of the journey, the first step is to find your ‘why’. And for further endurance of trusting your planned process, don’t mistake someone else’s vision for something you can borrow. Creating your own tactics and visualization for the future of your company has a much higher benefit than following the crowd.

Randa Farah

A world where everything is monitored and most jobs are replaced with Artificial Intellegence, where do humans and happiness stand? Already, technology forms a big part of our lives. Simple tasks such as sorting emails and searching a file name is accomplished in only a few seconds due to the evolution of technology. But how fast is this evolution growing? And how can Artificial Intelligence aid HR?

Randa explained how Volvo used artificial intelligence to recruit technicians using a car. Instead of a normal one-to-one interviews, the car can choose its own engineers.

It is no doubt that many jobs will disappear due to this evolution, such as bookkeepers, however, new jobs will evolve too.

Happiness leads to success, so how do companies achieve happiness at work? Maintaining a pleasant connection with the employees and receiving the outcome of hard work allows the employees to experience positive emotions in a repetitive way. 

Rana Askoul

Empathy in the time of technology

“The H in HR stands for human”

As our world evolves technologically, we direct all attention to adapting and utilizing the technology to our benefit, we tend to forget the essence of “human resources”: empathy. Rana started her talk by brilliantly reciting a story she wrote to her father after he passed away. Her story revolved around “eternal love”, which is a love that lasts forever.

She succeeded in projecting her emotions onto the minds of her audience, and when she was done, the entire crowd was breathing in unison, but a single emotion wandering among them, filling the hall with her story – not in words – but this time, in experience.

Referring back to Adam Smith, the father of economics, when he described empathy by, “Empathy is exchanging places in fancy with the sufferer”, and how empathy doesn’t contradict with our self-interest, which lays in the heart as a priority. Actually, empathy is critical for the survival of the human race.

Through some stories, Askool projected how empathy helped save the world; through Steven Pinker’s book: The better angels of our nature, where it embarked a great movement, the 80th century revolution, concerning ignored issues in its eras. Also, ‘uncle tom’s cabin’, the second bestselling book after the bible at its time, shed a light on the struggles of African-americans, and this novel carved out the civil war. Finally, a story all eyes glossed upon: Alan Kurdy. A young Syrian refugee who helped save a lot of lives. And through empathy, all this was possible.

As we strive to utilize technology, we must stay aware of its effect on our empathy.

“I feel your pain as long as you’re from another race.”

“The young are less empathetic.” Both of these statements are consequences of the overload of technology. Rana showed us statistically how generation Z are far more exposed to technology and social media, but still feel lonely and scared and might lose their emotional intelligence and their ability to connect and relate.

How do we claim our empathy back? Reconnect, assume positive things about the people and workplace, be kind to ourselves and care.

The SHRM Tech conference has not only been an eye-opener, but a source of new ideas and networks made. Even though I was the youngest to attend, I still found the talks both beneficial and fascinating. HR is not only a way of running your business, but it is an attitude and a lifestyle in your work-space.


Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Boehringer Ingelheim



“We are powered by people, we share a common purpose that drives everything we do, we serve mankind by improving the health of humans and animals, we believe in building a healthier future for millions of patients and bring innovative solutions with future thinking” Boehringer Ingelheim

Winner Name: Bariş Torun & Ufuk Balcı

Winner Title: Barış Torun-National Sales Manager & Ufuk Balcı-Digital Engagement Manager

Winning Organization: Boehringer Ingelheim

Nomination: The Grand Stevie for Organization of the Year.  The pharmaceutical giant’s six Gold, two Silver, and one Bronze Stevie wins are tops in the 2020 competition

Boehringer Ingelheim’s vision can summed up in a few words; Value through Innovation. We’ve adopted this approach to ensure that we can take care of our people, patients and partners, now and in the future. The overarching objective is to build sustainable, all-round growth that benefits everybody. In order to achieve this goal, we continually develop new, effective treatments alongside our established products and encourage our people to move forward. And while we do this, we treat everyone with care and provide a sense of responsibility. Together, we’re dedicated to improving human and animal health.

Brief Biography about the Winner:

International experience on marketing and digital transformation of customer engagement. Launched award-winning websites, mobileapps and omni-channel projects with patient and customer focus in pharmaceutical industry. Explores opportunities for integrating innovation and digital technologies into healthcare marketing &commercial side.

Stevie Award Winning Case Study:

AcTFast Mobile App – Saving Lives of People Having Stroke

Every 30 minutes a stroke patient who could have been saved, dies or is permanently disabled, because he was treated in the wrong hospital. Stroke patients have only 4.5 hours to reach thrombolytic treatment! Basically, an ambulance will dispatch their patients to the nearest health centre, but the necessary stroke treatment can only be administered at specialized stroke centres. This leads to the loss of treatment time, which is already very limited. Furthermore, delays in diagnosing these patients during pre-hospital or in the hospital can lead to risking patients’ life.

The ‘AcTFast’ Application was developed to address this type of issues exactly. With AcTFast, ambulance staff (paramedic) will be able to identify the stroke patient, take the patient to the right treatment centre without any delay and inform the stroke team with pre-notifications. With this tool both the pre-hospital phase and the in-hospital phase time will be minimized. The potential use and benefits of this application to address the need for speed when treating stroke patients was presented to all stakeholders, such as stroke societies and  the Ministry of Health. As a result, the Turkey Ministry of Health decided to install this app in all ambulances in Turkey. AcTFast is currently available on Apple Store.

The use of this app is mandatory for the 8,000+ ambulance staff and 30.000+ Ministry of Health employees, who will be trained on stroke management via this app. With this application, the biggest problem in the treatment of stroke will be solved by ensuring that the patients in the whole country are transported to the right centre within the right time frame, to ensure they benefit from the required treatment. The European Cardiology Society selected AcTFast as one of the 10 most creative projects in the world and upon their invitation, AcTFast has been presented at ESC 2019 congress in Paris this year.

Digital Transformation in Customer Engagement | Boehringer Ingelheim Turkey

  • Boehringer Ingelheim’s ambition is to establish a customer engagement model, which sets the industry benchmark.
  • In Turkey, big international Pharma companies have been doing multi-channel activities with a big volume in the last 4-5 years.  Since technology advancement is no longer marked by linear progression but by an exponential rate of change, it was harder to catch our competitors with unstructured activities and programs, while putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.

Integrated Customer Engagement Roadmap

  • At the beginning of 2019, Boehringer Ingelheim Turkey took a further step towards achieving this goal: Customer Engagement Implementation Roadmap including new channel deployment, content excellence, data analytics and change management. It centres on exceeding the customers’ expectations.

New Digital Platforms [# customer service, product design & development]

  • – HCP (Health Care Professional / Medical Doctor) website including key info about our products and HCP education on related fields ( Website is only for HCP’s with restricted login)
  • Automated Email Platform – Head Office e-mail platform
  • Veeva Approved Emails – From sales representative to doctors email channel
  • According to market research results, HCPs trust pharma activities and resources when there is a collaboration with independent HCP associations. With this insight, KOL webinars organized with the biggest HCP associations in related areas. To promote those activities, 3rd party channels have been utilized in addition to owned channels:
  • Live Broadcasting Platform
  • Facebook – Event promotion posts on HCP association Facebook Pages
  • 3rd Party SMS and Email – Event promotion from HCP associations to their HCP database
  • To deliver exceptional Customer Experience with the optimal mix of​ Content, Services and Solutions, all of the channels mentioned above should have created consistent customer experience (omni-channel); rather than independent one-off touchpoints (multi-channel).

Leveraging Data & Insights

  • To leverage Data and Insights to continuously enhance our Customer Engagement Model, targeted e-mails sent to different HCPs according to their previous open / non-open status. It enabled us to give our customers more meaningful messages.
  • In parallel to above point, brand teams put themselves into customers’ shoes, all Approved email subject titles and designs were updated to meet customer expectations and mobile UI / UX trends.
  • To measure the success of the campaigns, first ever Analytics Tracker developed. Which shows our Customer Engagement per channel per brand per customer.

Change Management [# employee development]

  • Internal trainings were organized to both Field Force, Marketing and Medical teams.
  • Field Force Training on how to coordinate the engagement with the HCPs, while integrating new marketing channels around F2F and website.
  • Digital Marketing Fundamentals Training to marketers and medical colleagues to give basic understanding of content creation dynamicsdigital terminology and creating sustainable experiences to our customers.
  • To create awareness on these projects, internal newsletters were published to all colleagues in Turkey.

Impact on Human Health [# corporate social responsibility]

  • Increasing the quality of interactions with HCPs helps us to deliver right treatment to right patients. In addition to branded activities and content, we created the first ever non-branded HCP email newsletter.
  • Respiratory newsletter included useful content to be more patient focused via educating HCPs on soft skills.
  • For brands without any sales rep support, digital-only promotion plans executed throughout the year.

Impact on Business (Outcomes)

  • More than 25% increase in the digital channel activities.
  • Market leadership in two major therapeutic areas for launch brands.
  • 5,000+ unique HCPs visited our login-required website in 8 months, which makes more than 75% of our total universe. According to IPSOS market research, website reached higher coverage than our main competitors did in 8 months of launch.
  • Avg. email open rate has tripled industry benchmarks. (40%+)

We are powered by people, we share a common purpose that drives everything we do, we serve mankind by improving the health of humans and animals, we believe in building a healthier future for millions of patients and bring innovative solutions with future thinking. We believe that, if we have talented and ambitious people who are passionate about innovation and bring move value to the healthcare community, there’s no limit to what we can achieve. .

Boehringer Ingelheim is a global family owned business with more than 50,000 employees in 103 countries, Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies, we act in the spirit of a global family that holds together and cares for one another – but also inspires and motivates each other.


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Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna



“Continuous Learning, adopting innovation & creativity and teamwork are among the guiding principles of success and excellence in the government sector” Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

Winner Name: Eng.  Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna

Winner Title: Director Assistance for Control & Inspection for Economic Activities at Ministry of Industry & Trade in Jordan

Winning categories:

  1. The Gold Stevie Winner in the category “the most innovative Communications Professional of the year “
  2. The Silver Stevie Winner in the category “Innovation in Community Relations or public Services Communications”
  3. The Bronze Stevie Winner in the category “Innovative Management in Government – Organizations with 100 or more employees”
Brief Biography about the Winner:

Abeer Ramadna is the Director assistant of control and inspection unit at the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Supply (MIT) in Jordan, she has a Master Degree in Industrial Engineering- Engineering Administration / University of Jordan with “excellent degree”. Abeer has 20 years of experience in private and public sectors, and is a focal point for UNIDO at MIT in Jordan. Abeer is a certified Management development Expert from ITC/ Vienna in 2005, a certified Export Consultant to EU from CBI/Netherland in 2007, certified Lead Auditor for Quality Management ISO 9001:2015, a certified Engineer Expert in Quality and Environmental Management systems in 2018 and a certified EFQM Assessor from EFQM in 2019. Eng. Abeer has a wide professional expertise in many fields that allow her to provide consultations to the organizations in various fields including Quality Management, Environmental Management, preparing industrial polices, strategies and plans, Inspection polices, Monitoring & Evaluation systems, implementing the ISO9001, ISO14001 ISO14040s standards, and conducting technical industrial sectors studies.

Eng. Abeer won three Stevie Awards from three different categories after participation in Middle East Stevie Awards in 2020, these are:

  1. Gold Stevie Winner in a category:” The Most Innovative Communications Professional of the Year”. These categories honor the most innovation in communications practice, management, and use of technology.
  2. Silver Stevie Winner in a category: “Award for Innovation in Community Relations or Public Service Communications”. These categories honor innovation in communications practice, management, and use of technology in the public sector.
  3. Bronze Stevie Winner in a category: “Award for Innovative Management in Government “. These categories honor innovation in executive management including the Award for Innovative Management in a number of industry sectors.

Abeer has been published scientific papers in one of the world accredited journals in E-government. Titled “Barriers to E-Government Adoption in Jordanian Organizations from Users’ and Employees’ Perspectives” in 2017, the link is:

and published another scientific paper titled: “SEM approach to determine factors affecting e-government success in Jordan”,  the link is: _to_determine_factors_affecting_e-government_success_in_Jordan

She was selected as a Judge at the Best Jordanian chemical product Award in all three cycles of it during 2015 to 2020, Judge in the 2019 management & entrepreneur Awards categories judging committee Stevie Awards, and Judge at the best industrial engineering project for the Jordanian universities in 2019. She participated in several national and International conferences, meetings and presented papers, as a representative of the MIT / Jordan.

Stevie Award winning Case Study:

  • Developing action plans of inspection development to governmental institutions (Inspectorates) work in fields of health, Environment, labor, safety for economic sectors in Jordan.
  • Supervision of developing Electronic Inspection System for governmental inspectorates.
  •  Conduct many awareness workshops for governmental inspectorates and for private sector institutions.
  • Conduct many workshops and training sessions as A National trainer of trainers in the shaping of future studies.
  • Secretariat of higher committee for Inspection development of Economic Activates that consists from high level management in governmental inspectorates.
  • Abeer is trusted as a competent team leader and confident expert in Quality management & Inspection systems
  • Abeer conducted in 2018 a study titled the Industrial engineering in the government sector in Jordan, current situation and future opportunities and present it in the 2nd International Conference on Industrial Systems & Manufacturing Engineering (ISME’19) Nov, 11-12, 2019 in Amman.
  • Abeer was chosen after a series of selection process as one of the National participants in the Civil Service Development Program in Jordan and attended all phases including the leadership and developing high performance teams at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst UK during 2019.

Eng. Abeer Mahmoud Ramadna “Continuing to contribute achievements and make positive impacts are goals that are achievable with the presence of strong & positive attitude, self-motivated character & determination.”

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Stevie Awards Winners’ Articles Series – Asiacell



“Winning such an award requires hard work and we encourage other companies to focus on their customers and local communities in order to excel”

Winning Organization: Asiacell

Nomination: Award for Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries (including Telecom)

Brief about the Organization:

Asiacell is a leading provider of telecommunications and data services in Iraq. As part of international telecommunications company Ooredoo Group, Asiacell was Iraq’s first mobile telecommunications provider to achieve nationwide coverage. Asiacell is also a leading internet provider with its 3.9G data services, offering the best network coverage in all of Iraq since January 2015.

Stevie Award Winning Case Study:

As part of its commitment to expand network coverage in Iraq, Asiacell has continued to support the redevelopment of the country’s infrastructure and economy and the provision of high-quality connectivity solutions. It has enhanced its “Hot Zone” restoration strategy by putting 200 sites on air and connecting over 500 sites to 3G.

Focused on improving the quality of life for communities, Asiacell’s CSR initiatives are focused on key areas, such as health, education and culture. Asiacell has equipped several higher education institutions with computer labs and supported the renovation of schools, with the aim of providing quality education infrastructure. It also partnered with the Chibayish Environmental Tourism Organization to build the first Iraqi Marshlands heritage museum in Ahwar as part of its efforts to revive Iraq’s Marshland, while generating a positive effect on tourism and jobs creation. 

Recognising that its people are its key asset, Asiacell continues to roll out initiatives focused on engaging and empowering employees. It has invested heavily in digital transformation, including digital upskilling for employees, and streamlining of various internal processes in order to nurture a digital-first culture that embraces innovation.

We are so glad to be recognized as a successful and innovative telecommunication company in Iraq with a Stevie Award for “Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries”. Recognition from the Stevie Awards means a lot to us and motivates Asiacell to continue to serve the community with professionalism. Winning such an award requires hard work and we encourage other companies to focus on their customers and local communities in order to excel.


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