DUBAI: CEOs representing some of the UAE’s leading companies have made the business case for prioritising and investing in employee health and happiness as they gathered for the CEO Dialogue virtual event recently hosted by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The CEO Dialogue, held under the theme “Cultivating a Culture of Employees Health and Happiness for Business Sustainability”, was organised as part of Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2020. The webinar highlighted the importance of employee health and happiness and outlined effective strategies that can be used to create and nurture a culture of health and happiness during Covid-19 and beyond.
Among the high-level attendees joining the CEO Dialogue were: H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber; Rola Abu Manneh, CEO, Standard Chartered, UAE; Stuart Harrison, CEO, Emrill Services LLC;Phil Malem, CEO, Serco Middle East; and Andrew Shaw, CEO , Ducab., who shared valuable insights on employee well-being and best practices in boosting employee engagement.
During his opening remarks, H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber, said that although the issue of employee health and wellbeing has been a key focus for businesses prior to Covid-19, he noted that it has become even more important in the current business landscape.
Investing in employee health and happiness requires a top-down approach, H.E. Al Ghurair explained, 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 navigated Covid-19-related challenges.
“Studies have shown a strong and positive correlation between employees’ health and happiness and their efficiency and productivity at the workplace.In the new normal, organisations should not lose sight of the human factor as technology becomes a much bigger part of the work environment and culture,” H.E. Al Ghurair said.
Drawing on her experience, Rola Abu Manneh, CEO, Standard Chartered, UAE, said consistent communication, empowerment of employees, having an open door policy, and agility are necessary attributes for nurturing a workplace that fosters engagement, happiness and wellbeing. During tough times, empathy and compassion can go a long way in improving employees’ wellbeing and happiness, she added.
Stuart Harrison, CEO, Emrill Services LLC, emphasised the need for prioritising employee welfare and actively implementing initiatives and programmes that promote not only physical health but also emotional wellbeing. He noted that employees who are actively engaged and happy are more productive and effective in working together towards the shared goal of delivering excellent services and business sustainability.
Phil Malem, CEO, Serco Middle East advised leaders to communicate regularly, provide security and stability to employees, consider launching new wellbeing initiatives, embrace innovation and ensure counselling support is available to all members of the organisation as a measure to reduce anxiety. He stressed the importance of leading with purpose and standing by one’s company values at all times.
Andrew Shaw, Group CEO, Ducab noted that business leaders have a responsibility to safeguard their workforce and support employees in these challenging times, and stressed the important role of employee health and happiness in running a sustainable and successful business. He also emphasised the importance of listening to employees and building a culture of trust.
During the dialogue,Dr. Kamel Mellahi, Senior Manager at Dubai Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business, suggested that investing in employee health and wellbeing pays off, even more so during Covid-19. Employees who are happy are more likely to help their co-workers,be passionate about their work and go the extra mile to help customers, and remain loyal, he explained.
Taking place November 8-12th, Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2020, also featured a roundtable on opportunities, challenges and solutions related to the flexible workplace, as well as a multi-stakeholder discussion highlighting innovative technologies that can be used to improve employee health & happiness.
In addition, a campaign titled “Let’s Create a Happy & Healthy Workplace”was launched as part of the week-long initiative, which aimed to encourage companies to take practical actions within their business to improve health and happiness of its employees.