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Winners in the 2021 Middle East & North Africa Stevie® Awards Announced

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Honors Sponsored by the RAK Chamber of Commerce & Industry Recognize Innovation in 17 MENA Nations

Winners in the second Middle East & North Africa Stevie® Awards, the only awards program to recognize innovation in the workplace throughout 17 nations in the Middle East and North Africa, were announced today.  The awards are sponsored by the RAK Chamber of Commerce & Industry.  The list of Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners is available at http://MENA.StevieAwards.com.

The 2021 Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards recognized organizations in 10 countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. 

All organizations operating in 17 nations of the MENA region – large and small, public and private, for-profit and non-profit – were eligible to submit nominations to the Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards in a wide range of categories, honoring innovation in every aspect of work life, from customer service and management to marketing and product development. More than 400 nominations in Arabic and English were reviewed in the judging process this year by 70 professionals worldwide, whose average scores determined the winners.

Winners of multiple Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Awards include Coca-Cola, Istanbul, Turkey; DANONE SPECIALIZED NUTRITION, Istanbul, Turkey; Department of Health, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; DHL Express Saudi Arabia, Al Khobar; ETIHAD Aviation Group, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; General Directorate for Traffic- Ministry of Interior, Kingdom of Bahrain, Ooredoo Oman, Muscat, Oman; Pladis, Istanbul, Turkey; Pronova Consultancy, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and RAK Transport Authority, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, among others.

All Gold, Silver, and Bronze Stevie Award winners will be celebrated at a virtual awards ceremony on June 2.  Registration for the event is now on sale.

“We are delighted to recognize the achievements of such a diverse group of organizations across the MENA region in the 2021 edition of the Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards,” said Stevie Awards president Maggie Gallagher.  “Despite the obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, these organizations have shown us that it is possible to innovate and succeed at any time, regardless of the challenges.  We look forward to celebrating them during our virtual ceremony in June.”

About the Stevie® Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in eight programs: the Middle East & North Africa Stevie Awards, the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide. Learn more about the Stevie Awards at http://www.StevieAwards.com.

About the RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry
RAK Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RAK Chamber) is the second chamber of commerce commissioned in the United Arab Emirates. Incorporated on 22 October 1967, RAK Chamber adopts the spirit of innovation and creativity, strong leadership and initiative to support and develop business sectors to achieve excellence and become pioneers, focusing on clients, investors and business by meeting their needs and offering them added value. The chamber is keen to create and develop a system of sustainable enterprise relations, and it also works to provide a business environment and practices that enhance the culture of group work by working in a spirit of a unified team – along with responding to internal and external changes by providing information, data, procedures and laws for all concerned categories. This is in order to achieve transparency and credibility and to create a business-motivating environment in order to promote the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah as an economic hub in the United Arab Emirates.  Learn more at www.RAKChamber.ae.

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Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – Diversity, Inclusion and the Holistic Wellbeing approach

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

A working environment characterized by greater Diversity & Inclusion has more chance of being a place where new ideas and perspectives flourish: inclusive businesses benefit from those who feel very included and motivated in the Organisation. Companies with more culturally and ethically diverse Teams are 33% more likely to see better than average profits (McKinsey, 2017).

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 brought to light the need and urgency to put individuals and interactions over profits within the panel session dedicated to Creating a Holistic and Inclusive Wellbeing Strategy. The panel has been moderated by Chris Cummings (CEO Sonas Events) and joined by Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader – EY), Funda Kalemci (Global Leader, Diversity & Inclusion – Nielsen), Mimi Nicklin (Author and Empathetic Leader) and Öykü Kayaalp (Diversity & Youth Programs Professional – Vodafone Turkey).

According to the valued speakers, true Diversity and Inclusion have to create a sense of belonging, breaking the Mental Health Stigma and Empathy. So Emotional wellness turned out to be the core of those two elements: in fact, it generates wellbeing and inclusiveness at all levels.  

The covid-19 pandemic showed employees how frustration and emotional fragility affect performance and inclusion, even within the most well-structured and diverse Team. Filling the gap between self-expectations, dealing with such an unexpected “new normal” and an Organisation’s goal, proved to be a complex challenge that both employees and leaders had to face suddenly. Creating a work-life balance has been crucial to supporting the new “Smart Working Model” imposed by the pandemic.

How to maintain and strengthen a sense of belonging through screens and virtual work-spaces?

Irada Aghamaliyeva and Öykü Kayaalp firmly agreed on “connecting and communicate through a deep understanding of various cultures at the Workplace, whether physical or from home”. It is key to set a balanced environment where employees feel totally appreciated and valued – the reduction of work stress highlighted a decrease of stereotyping and a more open-mindedness towards intercultural awareness. It can be faced and strengthened through coaching sessions and encouraging employees to speak out freely and fearlessly about what makes them feel inadequate. Break the workplace Mental Health Stigma thanks to self-acceptance is the first step to creating a more inclusive culture, relation and support between employees and leaders.

What role plays Empathy in this framework and why it so crucial in an inclusive culture?

Empathy is the pixie dust that bridges the Diversity and Inclusion gap. Practicing and nurturing Empathy within the Organisations is the starting point from which Leaders and employees should consider the value of their interactions. Listening – not just hearing – is crucial: so often in HR and Leadership people listen to respond, but they don’t really stop and focus on what’s the inner need on the other side. To empathize is the choice to understand, it is a skill that we all can own through practicing kindness and active listening. “True Diversity and Inclusion has to begin with Empathy because if we don’t understand each other, how are we going to integrate?” Mimi Nicklin

Also, when employees are largely satisfied of their experience within the Company on an empathetic level, they are more likely to report high intent to stay with the Company and be high performers. “At Nielsen IQ we have a Global Wellness Framework lead by global HR Teams that works on four pillars: physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, financial wellbeing and environmental & social wellbeing”, Funda Kalemci affirmed, highlighting the importance of Mental Health within Global companies.

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Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here: https://fowinsights.com/

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Gulf Sustainability Awards are open for entries

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HR Revolution Middle East has been announced as an official media partner of the 2021 Gulf Sustainability Awards.

Taking place in Dubai on September 20, 2021, the new-look Gulf Sustainability Awards will celebrate the very best in sustainable practice and environmental, social, and corporate governance in the MENA region.

Hosted by Awards International, the Gulf Sustainability Awards 2021 offers entrants 14 categories in which to submit a written entry.

That will then be judged by an independent panel of business experts with a focus on sustainability, ESG, and CSR. A shortlist of finalists with the highest scores will then be revealed, with a team of representatives from each organisation invited to present their initiatives live at the awards final.

Judges will score presentations on the day, and category winners – alongside 2021’s Overall Winner – will be revealed at a glittering live awards ceremony, hosted by a very special guest.

Welcoming HR Revolution  Middle East on-board as a media partner, Awards International’s Regional Manager for the Middle East, Aleksandar Ilić, said: “We are thrilled to be joined by HR Revolution for our new look Gulf Sustainability Awards.

“Having the support and influence of the MENA region’s premier human resources portal is a major asset in our aim of celebrating corporate social responsibility, as HR is crucial to ensuring success in that field, especially around the category focusing on the best workplace and HR practices.

“We can’t wait to discover the sustainability and CSR strategies that are changing the face of business practise in the Gulf, and we are excited to be welcoming the most dedicated organisations to compete, live, in Dubai later this year.”

To discover more about sponsoring and partnership opportunities at the 2021 Gulf Sustainability Awards, visit the official website.

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