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FBC Insights The Magazine of the French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates www.fbcdubai.com

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION means business!

Spring 2018 Issue #1


Contents

FBC Insights 2 3 4 5 6

Contributors Patron Members Editorial Foreword Members Highlights

Cover Story: DIVERSITY & INCLUSION means business

8 14 21 24 28 35

D&I an overview Senior Leaders Exclusive Interview WEP’s Signatories Dubai Event Regional Testimonies D&I Panorama: Cross Perspectives Local Success Stories

Chamber Section

40 47 48

Looking Back / Looking Forward Business Services Member Services

Published by

FBC Insights is available here


Contributors

Hanan Darwish

Joanna Toigo Thierry Delaplace

Nayla Al Khaja

Sophie Le Ray

Patrick Chalhoub

Anita Van Gaal

David Stockton

Marie-Hélène Straus

Nasif Kayed

Delphine Groues Sevim Guvenc

Nathalie Amiel-Ferrault Sarah Tabet

Veronika Roux

Dr Raja Al Gurg

Cédric Charpentier

Roger Daix

Sophie Le Ray

Edward Clowes

Rachel Moosa Peter Haugaard

Jean-Michel Monnot Amel Murphy

Renate Baur-Richter Mike Davis

Despo Michaelides

The French Business Council warmly thanks each contributors of the FBC Insights Magazine, special edition on Diversity & Inclusion. Enjoy the reading !

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Patron Members

The French Business Council Dubai and Northern Emirates would like to thank its Patron Members for their continuous support. FBC Insights Magazine is published by the French Business Council Dubai and Northern Emirates. The views and opinions expressed in its columns do not necessarily reflect those of the Chamber’s Members and Management. This edition accepts no responsibility for unsolicited material. All efforts have been made to ensure accuracy of the information within his publication. However, FBC cannot accept legal responsibility for any erroneous content or omissions. Copyright: French Business Council 2018 – All right reserved FBC Insight Chief Editor Agnes Lopez Cruz Project Manager Sevim Guvenc Communication Manager Claire-Anne Russelle FBC Contributors Justine Dampt, Audrey Teppe, Julia Carre Issue 1 1500 Copies Cover page picture & Content pictures by pixabay.com

French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates P.O. Box 25775, Dubai, Unites Arab Emirates T. +971 (0)4 312 67 00 E. fbc@fbcdubai.com Follow us:

FBC Insights I 3


EDITOR’S MESSAGE

Editorial

Dear Readers, We are particularly proud to present the first issue of our FBC Insights, the one and only magazine of the French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates! The mission of this bi-annual publication is to highlight the news, activities and know-how of our members, as well as our past and upcoming initiatives. But that is not all. Our ambition is also to provide our local business community with a new forum for knowledge and information exchange, facilitating discussion around the main challenges that companies based in the UAE have, or will have, to face. Back to the current issue of FBC Insights. We decided to tackle a topic that was important on a societal level, but also on a business level. In this issue we say: “Diversity and inclusion means business!” The term diversity and inclusion has a particular resonance in the UAE, where people of more than 200 nationalities co-exist peacefully. This year is also known as the Year of Zayed, a great occasion to celebrate the vision of tolerance of the founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the principles of openness that have become part of the Emirati identity. It is high time in France too: President Emmanuel Macron has chosen the fight for gender equality as the “grande cause nationale” of his presidency. Even if diversity policies tend to address visible diversities (genders, cultures, generations, and handicaps), what is more difficult sometimes is tackling barriers to invisible diversities (educational background, social standing, and mental health conditions to name a few). Indeed, diversity is nuanced, and in practice true diversity is hard to achieve! Through various articles and interviews, the moral, as well as the business, case for diversity and inclusion is set out. A number of companies and institutions tell their stories and underline how important diversity and inclusion are for productive, innovative and successful workplaces, not just in terms of creativity but also financial returns. We hope you will find this first issue of FBC Insights an interesting and thought-provoking read!

Agnes Lopez Cruz Managing Director French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates

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Bruno De Reneville President French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates


Foreword

Dr. Raja Al Gurg Managing Director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group President of the Dubai Business Women’s Council

PARTNERS IN PROGRESS

FOREWORD

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap report, the UAE is a regional leader for gender equality. As cited at the UAE's first Women's Economic Empowerment Global Summit last year, almost 70 per cent of students in UAE universities are girls; 46.6 per cent of the labour market is made up of women; 66 per cent of all government employees are women; more than 30 per cent of managerial positions across various industries are held by women, and 15 per cent of top-level positions in the private sector are held by women. This notable inclusion of women as productive members of the socio-economic work-force fabric in the UAE is indicative of the importance our country’s visionary leaders place on gender balance and guaranteeing equal rights in the workplace and at home. As France stands firm behind its commitment to strategic cooperation with the UAE, we must continue providing tailored opportunities for growth and career development in new public and private sector ventures in both our nations. These opportunities are vital if the vast talent pool of professional women across both our nations, are to play increasingly stronger roles in business, the military and government. Gender balance and equality remain important contributors to workplace diversity and inclusivity, recognised for driving increasing productivity and performances levels, as well as fostering heightened creativity and innovation. In order to deepen the collective France-UAE mission for strategic cooperation, we, as partners, must continue to forge innovation, mobility and sustainability in our populaces. These elements were highlighted during the recent UAE-France business forum in Dubai organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the French Embassy in the UAE, Business France, and the FBC. It is now up to all of us to pick up the mantle and ensure that these strategic goals come to fruition for the benefit of both nations. The UAE’s position as France’s first trade partner in the Middle East and second-largest trading partner in the Gulf region, coupled with France’s standing as the fourth-largest foreign investor in the UAE, serve to highlight the strong trade and investment ties between our two countries, as well as our shared commitment to further enhancing strategic social, economic and political cooperation. In this regard, the French Business Council of Dubai & the Northern Emirates (FBC) and Dubai Business Women Council’s (DBWC) are partners in progress. Indeed, our landmark trade mission agenda to France in 2015 represented a significant step towards promoting mutually beneficial business opportunities and exploring bilateral synergies between Dubai, the greater UAE, and France. Powered by a high-profile and influential delegation of Emirati and French business women, the 2015 trade mission offered a dedicated platform to explore mutual opportunities beyond trade for the betterment of both countries. If we consider the recent inauguration of the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the high-ranking public and private sector accords forged through an arts-led socio-economic partnership,the close cultural ties between France and the UAE are evident. With 30,000 French nationals currently living in the Emirates, 60,000 school children learning French in the UAE, and France ranking as the fourth most popular country for students from the Emirates looking to study overseas according to the Embassy of France in Abu Dhabi, our nations not only share fruitful trade relations, we boast significant cultural and educational ties. When leading the first FBC-DBWC trade mission to France on behalf of the UAE’s female business leaders, the spotlight was rightly shone on the positive impacts of influential female leadership, specifically in the context of the under-representation of women in business, a much-discussed narrative in the gender balance discourse. The high visibility of this trade mission was, therefore, an invaluable vehicle for encouraging women to thrive, free from the gender bias that exists in the wider business community and society at large. dbwc.ae

FBC Insights I 5


Member Highlights

BLOSSOM BY BABILOU EDUCATION CONTINUES ITS RAPID GROWTH ACROSS THE U.A.E Inspire Nursery under ESOL Education has moved locations to The Blossom Village Nursery, offering more than 45 inspire parents top tier child care. Babilou Group, Europe’s leading Childcare provider, was founded in France by the Carle Family. The pioneering of this company started in 2003 with two brothers, Edouard and Rodolphe Carle. Today the Group consists of a network of 1,500+ nurseries across Europe. Babilou welcomes more than 25,000 children each week and supports more than 1,200 clients of all sizes with more than 6,000 professionals dedicated to the highest quality educational standard, worldwide. “We are very excited to be part of this, inspirational and groundbreaking movement” said Bassam Abu Shakra, Regional Director of ESOL Education.

BODYO HAS BEEN SELECTED BY DUBAI FUTURE FOUNDATION to participate in Cohort 4 of the Dubai Future Accelerator program which was inaugurated on Thursday 22nd March. Bodyo was one of 4 companies chosen by the Department of Health (DHA) out of 677 companies that applied this year. Dubai Future Accelerators was launched in 2016 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and the Chairman of Dubai Future Foundation under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai. Dubai Future Accelerators is an intensive 9-week program pairing the world’s most exciting technology companies with leading government organizations to create transformational solutions. For people who want to better take care of themselves, Bodyo constantly empower people & communities for a healthier and happier tomorrow. With free and easy access to monitor health vitals through our non-invasive AI Health Stations (the AiPod), and intuitive tailored app training programs, helping prevent chronic health conditions and achieve personal fitness goals. Founded by Patrice Coutard in 2018, Bodyo will be launching several new products, that have the ability to display and monitor all the necessary factors to keep track of not just individuals, but communities and entire populations health, by using their three channels, which form the Bodyo ecosystem: 1. The Health Kiosk (AiPod) – 2018 2. The Bodyo Private cloud with IOS and Android Apps - 2018 3. Home Health Monitoring (connected devices) - 2018 For more information please visit www.bodyo.com or contact: Tariq Hussain (CEO) tariq@bodyo.com

SWITCH MADE, IS DRIVING SUSTAINABILITY IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR Switch Made is driving sustainability in the education sector, having provided the eco-friendly campus of Swiss International Scientific School (SISD) in Dubai with energy-efficient LED lighting solutions. The use of these lighting solutions underlines SISD’s credentials as the first low-energy building in the Middle East, said a statement. This marks a true international collaboration between SISD in Dubai, which brings Swiss excellence in education, and Switch Made, a French company, to redefine the education sector by pioneering a new eco-friendly school campus that benefits student well-being.

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Member Highlights

TOTAL CONSOLIDATES ITS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH ADNOC Total has signed two new 40-year concession agreements with the Supreme Petroleum Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). In the frame of these agreements, Total is granted a 20% participating interest in the new Umm Shaif & Nasr concession and 5% in the Lower Zakum concession, effective March 9th, 2018, for a total participation fee of 1.45 billion dollars, which represents an access cost of around 1 dollar per barrel of reserves. These interests bring to Total a production of 80,000 barrels of oil per day in 2018.

BIL HAS BEEN NAMED BANK OF THE YEAR 2017 Banque Internationale a Luxemourg (BIL) was presented with the Bank of the Year 2017 – Luxembourg award at a ceremony held by financial magazine The Banker. This marks the second year in a row that the bank is being honored with this prestigious award. “The Bank of the Year 2016 award recognized the initial success of our BIL 2020 strategy. The fact that we have received this accolade from renowned magazine The Banker for the second year running once again demonstrates our ability to innovate and offer products and services tailored to our clients.” Commented Hugues Delcourt, CEO of Banque Internationale a Luxembourg. Brian Caplen, editor in chief of The Banker said : “This year, the panel of judges highlighted the excellent progress made by the Banque Internationale a Luxembourg with regard to its innovative client offerings and digital solutions, as well as the bank’s impressive results.” Each year, The Banker, leading magazine for the world of finance published by the Financial Times, honors the best financial institutions at its Bank of the Year Awards ceremony. Composed of 120 financial sector professionals, the jury bases its decision on the institutions’ performance and primary achievements over the past 12 months. About Banque Internationale a Luxembourg (BIL): Founded in 1856, Banque Internationale a Luxembourg (BIL) is the oldest multi-business bank in Grand Duchy. It has always played an active role in the main stages of the development of the Luxembourg economy. It currently operates in retail, private and corporate banking as well as on capital markets. Employing more than 2,000 people, BIL is present in the financial centres of Luxembourg, Switzerland (since 1984), Denmark (since 2000) and Dubai DIFC (since 2005). www.bil.com

LUMEN AT WORK WINS INTERNATIONAL TALENT TROPHY

YOUR SOCIAL PROUD TO BECOME PART OF MERKLE

Francois Jarrossay, director of the company LUMEN AT WORK received in Paris on February 7th, the International Talents Trophy! Francois Jarrossay, already winner of the Grand Prix VIE in Hong Kong, has been awarded for his entrepreneurial strength and the innovative capacity of his company LUMEN AT WORK. Most exciting project, LUMEN AT WORK signed in September 2017 with DEWA, INNOGY and the French SME RAGNI, a M.O.U. for the manufacture in France of the future Smart Pole of Dubai. The product, called MANARATI, will ship on demand surveillance cameras, pollution sensors, a charger for electric vehicles, an emergency button to report an incident, and even offer wifi to passersby. Such a network deployed at the scale of a city will allow a supervision of agglomeration 3.0! This smart street lighting is an innovation that will help Dubai to position itself as one of the most technologically advanced Smart City.

Your Social is super proud to announce that our Dubai agency and all agencies of the Oxyma group are joining Merkle (part of Dentsu Aegis Network). Rudy Banholzer, Managing Director of Your Social ME: ” Your Social was founded in The Netherlands in 2010 as a strategy and creative social media agency. A year later, we started our office in Dubai. Since then we have helped client like L'Oreal, Lexus, Daman, Bateel or Air France-KLM with their social strategies and campaigns. Now that we are part of Merkle, we can bring their world-class experience in performance marketing, search and programmatics to support further our clients with regards to their goals in digital and marketing. We really are looking forward to this new chapter in our journey.”

FBC Insights I 7


Diversity & Inclusion means business !

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• D & I: an overview • Exclusive Interviews • WEP’s Signatories Event • Business Testimonies • Panorama: Cross Perspectives •Focus Expert FBC Insights I 9


D&I I an overview

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION: an overview

T

he business case for diversity is clear. Diversity can boost innovation and employee engagement, and companies with greater gender and racial diversity financially outperform their peers. Yet progress within organizations has been slow – there is still a lack of women and minorities in leadership positions, and certain industries like tech and finance are lacking diversity at all levels. And many diversity programmes fail. When Mikael Ohlsson of the Swedish home-products company IKEA was asked why advancing diversity in the workplace was important, he said: “My leadership on diversity is vision-driven from a business point of view and value-driven at the foundation.” With all the press we read about diversity, inclusion, women in leadership, innovation and the need to be open minded about religious and cultural differences, one might ask: "Why is diversity and inclusion still a challenge for so many organisations, despite all the deployed efforts?”

Jean-Michel Monnot Senior Associate Pluribus Founder & President All Inclusive Member of The High Council for Gender Equality’s (HCE) at French Republic

Amel Murphy Senior Associate Pluribus, Middle East & Africa Co-Founder Sustain Leadership

To be able to answer this question, we may need to first define what diversity and inclusion actually is. Using a tree makes it simpler to understand:

"all the characteristics, visible or invisible, which can be differences or similarities, and which make each of us unique.”

So diversity can be defined by

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D&I I an overview

Among visible facets, we can for example identify gender, skin color, physical appearance or some form of disability. But we also define ourselves by many invisible facets: Our culture, belief system, values, personal experiences, and thinking styles. Each of us is in fact a unique combination of all these facets, and this is the interest of diversity for a company: Looking for different talents, rather than cloning the ways of thinking. In 2017, Aon Hewitt published a list of the top 10 risks for companies: At least half of these risks are closely related to diversity, such as damage to reputation, inability to innovate, growing competition, civil liability, and a war of talent.

If diversity is about celebrating uniqueness, how can we bring all the facets of diversity forward in service of the individual’s, and organisation’s, growth? The consultancy Bersin by Deloitte in 2015 published their High-Impact Talent Management research, producing some amazing results: From the 128 different strategies they studied, the talent practices which predict the highest performing companies are all focused on building an inclusive talent system. According to Boris Groysberg and Katherine Connelly in their article ‘Great leaders who make the mix,’ published in the Harvard Business Review in 2013, a commitment to inclusion often arises from the individual’s own understanding of what it means to be an outsider, or excluded. Carlos Ghosn of Nissan Renault Motor Company talks about how bias has affected his own family. “My mother was one of eight children” he said. “She used to be a very brilliant student, and when the time came to go to college, she wanted to become a doctor. Unfortunately, her mother had to explain to her that there was not enough money in the family, and that the money for college was going to the boys and the girls would instead have to marry.” When I was a kid, he continued, and “my mother was telling me this story—without any bitterness, by the way, just matter-of-fact—I was outraged because it was my mother.” “After hearing that story, I said I would never do anything to hurt someone based on segregation,” he added.

To Ghosn, gender bias is a personal affront. “When I see that women do not have the same opportunities as men, it touches me in a personal way,”he said. “I think it’s some kind of refusal related to my sisters or to my daughters.” Inclusion is an individual choice, and as organisations we need to create the conditions for individuals to support the development of an inclusive culture by:

1

Leveraging on the power of personal stories to activate change

2

Designing experiences that evoke individual's emotions rather than program

3

Designing learning journeys to support culture shift to inclusion, rather than fragmented training courses that don't support individuals needs

The next level of diversity and inclusion means removing it from its silo and fundamentally baking it into the way we hire, what we value culturally, how decisions are made, and how we evaluate our leaders. We will get there when we all embrace diversity and inclusion as our responsibility.

Further resources McKinsey's research shows that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform their peers and ethnically-diverse companies are 35% more likely to do the same. Catalyst research shows that companies with more women on the board statistically outperform their peers over a long period of time. Deloitte Australia research shows that inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80% in team-based assessments.

FBC Insights I 11


D&I I an overview

The United Arab Emirates: a country of reference in terms of diversity & inclusion by Ed Clowes

W

ith a population overwhelmingly made up of immigrants (88% of UAE population) according to a recent United Nations (UN) report, the UAE is surely one of the most culturally diverse places on Earth. Some companies have over 50 nationalities working side by side under the same roof, while the country boasts CEOs from India, France, Pakistan, the UK, China and Brazil. In Dubai, residents find Filipino restaurants next to Yemeni ones; tourists visit the souks, or markets, to buy gold from Indians and Bangladeshis. This kind of cultural and ethnic diversity is only possible in a country with over 200 different nationalities. Dubai’s government says that the city-state is unique in the diversity and cohesiveness of its society, which it says is forged on “tolerance, respect, forgiveness and communication.” These traits, it says, have resulted in the “creation of an exemplary multicultural society.” As part of its national transformation strategy, known as the Dubai Plan 2021, the government has said that it

will continue to prioritise diversity, acknowledging its contribution to the economy. Multiculturalism, it says, enriches the city, and “drives its development by harnessing the talents and creativity of its global and diverse population.” The national plan also addresses the importance of social inclusion for all vulnerable groups within Dubai’s society.

People with determination Long regarded as a shining example of progression and modernity in the Middle East, the UAE excels in all forms diversity: last year, the country introduced a national policy for the empowerment of those with disabilities. In April 2017, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said that people with disabilities should be called "people of determination" from then on. Sheikh Mohammed also announced the establishment of an advisory board for people with disabilities. Dubai aims by 2020 to become fully accessible to the differently-abled. These changes triggered a vigorous push by both the private and public sector to care for people with determination. The drive for such diversity and inclusion is evident in the results: The UAE will become the first Arab country to host the Special Olympics, set to take place in 2019, whilst in Abu Dhabi, a market has been established to help people of determination promote and sell their products, and integrate them into society.

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Understand better disabilities

85 %

of disabilities are acquired

70 %

of people with disabilities have non apparent disabilities Source: United States Department of Labor, 2014

Recognize the types of disabilities MOTOR Any disability that restricts physical activity.

HEARING Any disability that restricts one’s ability to hear.

COGNITIVE Any disability that restricts one’s ability to learn, understand, remember of process information.

VISUAL Any disability that restricts one’s ability to see.

PSYCHOLOGICAL Any disability that impacts one’s behavior, personality, thought process or interactions.

CHRONIC Any disability resulting from a chronic illness and that affects one’s everyday activities.


D&I I an overview

Religious diversity is also championed in the UAE. The country has as many as 37 churches, in addition to a number of Sikh temples, Hindu temples, and Buddhist temples, that sit alongside the UAE’s many mosques.

In a 2011 survey of 325 large global companies with at $500 million in annual revenue, Forbes found that 85 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that diversity was crucial to fostering innovation in the workplace.

Many of these places of worship are funded and supported by the UAE’s leaders: The Gurunanak Darbar temple in Jebel Ali was built in 2012 on land donated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed.

With the business case for diversity more obvious than ever, consultancy BCG recommended in a 2017 study that while “cultural bias and labour regulations can be major obstacles” they should not stop companies’ diversity ambitions and strategies.

This kind of inclusion was enshrined in 2016, when the government of the UAE created a Minister of State for Tolerance, a post now occupied by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family. Tolerance is a virtue and an intrinsic part of the Islamic culture. In the UAE, diversity is observed and respected at all levels: individual, organisational and national. With more than 200 nationalities living peacefully and successfully in the UAE, the country has emerged as a leading example of a tolerant, diverse, and inclusive society.

“Organizations that have succeeded best in overcoming this bias are those in which the CEO sets specific targets or quotas for female employees and for representation in senior leadership positions,” the report said, adding that “adopting quotas can be a winning strategy in the short term – a way to jump the cultural bias barrier by forcing the trend.”

Breaking News As the FBC Insights is being published (April 2018), the UAE government has announced the draft of an equal pay law, making the UAE, the second country in the world, having an equal pay law.

FBC Insights I 13


Senior Leaders Exclusive Interview

Schneider Electric’s regional President determined to empower women and embrace diversity

Hanan Darwish Cluster President Gulf Countries & Pakistan

Utilising her experience as a woman in industry, Hanan Darwish is redefining how women can attain success in the corporate world.

by Ed Clowes

H

anan Darwish does not like buzzwords or clichés. Rather, she chooses to speak from the heart, especially when it concerns things she is passionate about, like women’s empowerment.

“I will not give you the big words about diversity that might be overused in the business world,”

says Darwish, President of Schneider Electric for the Gulf and Pakistan. “Instead I will give you my experiences, thoughts, and beliefs.”

In a recent interview at Schneider Electric’s offices in Dubai, Darwish said she preferred to speak from the heart about the topics of gender balance, workforce diversity, and inclusion that she is passionate. “At the end of the day, when it comes to diversity and inclusion, we need to talk about the topic with the right mix of brains, hearts, and guts,” she said. For Darwish, a French-Egyptian who became the first ever woman to lead Schneider Electric’s business in the region in January 2017, it was a strong sign of the company’s corporate responsibility, and signifying that diversity and inclusion is part of the company’s DNA. She says that throughout her 20 plus years as a business woman, she has been challenged by being an Arabic origin woman working across the globe and adapting to different cultures. Responding to a question about how being a woman of mixed ethnicity had impacted her experience of the corporate world, Darwish had a piece of advice for young girls: Embrace it, be yourself, and it’s all about how competent you are in the end.

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These phrases were uttered multiple times throughout the course of the wide-ranging interview. There were occasions, Darwish emphasized that a woman should always be judged by her contribution and value to the company, rather than by superficial judgments and first impressions. As a woman in a different cultural environment, this does require adaptation, she added, but this should not change a person’s identity, you still need to be authentic and real. “It can be difficult because people are not alike,” Darwish said. “Whilst some people would accept you for who you are, others would really expect you to change, to be like this, or to be like that.” Darwish is clear, however, on one thing: She never compromised, or contradicted, her values. On International Women’s Day in 2017, Schneider Electric reaffirmed its commitment to diversity, highlighting initiatives it had undertaken in recent years, including adherence to the Women's Empowerment Principles, involvement in the United Nations HeForShe movement, and the creation of a women advisory board. Another one of Schneider Electric’s key goals is to include women at every level of the company. In order to achieve this, the company has increased its Schneider Electric Foundation investments to prioritize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, and to continue to attract more women to STEM fields. Darwish has personal experience in this field, and says that it has been more positive than she expected.


Seniors Leaders Exclusive Interview

“Being a woman in an engineering company…for me was a big challenge. Surprisingly, what I found out at this company was that they were really pushing, really believing [in diversity],” she said. “It was a challenge, but a positive surprise,” Darwish added. In the Gulf region and Pakistan, Schneider Electric has been continually improving, setting strict short-term targets to improve women representation from 18 per cent in 2017, to 35 per cent by 2019, while also achieving 50 per cent female recruitment in 2018.

“There is a need for diversity, not just nationalities. It’s good to put different brains together as it brings a lot to the table,” she said.

“Companies need to get out of their comfort zone, they need to force diversity. That’s what I’m doing here. Get me more nationalities…get me young people. Don’t only get me the experienced ones.” This would bring a certain dynamic to the company, Darwish added. Schneider Electric currently employs people of around 50 different nationalities in the Gulf and Pakistan. According to the top executive, role models and mentors in a corporate environment are hugely important to attracting women to a company, and retaining them too. On this topic, the company president is reminded of a time when she met an actual president, Emmanuel Macron, head of France’s government. “I met President Macron at Sorbonne, and he pleasantly commented on the fact that it was, ‘Very nice to see Schneider Electric walking the talk on diversity, and putting a woman as the head of the Gulf countries,’ ” Darwish said. “You can always talk,” she continued, “you can always make nice speeches, but if you’re not pushing diversified people in to senior positions, it would not be visible to others.”

This was crucial, she said, to signaling to young women that your company is a welcoming place for them to work, and that they can expect to have their hard work and ambition rewarded. Darwish emphasised though that any sort of mentorship scheme shouldn’t be forced, but rather mentorship should be enabled and encouraged. “I do it [mentor young women], but not in a formal way,” she said, adding: “Because young women, when they face the working environment, they need guidance and support for smooth integration.” One of the key benefits of making mentorship voluntary is that people don’t simply do it to tick a box: When it happens, it is authentic and productive. Darwish is a big believer in authenticity; talking about doing something is just not good enough in her eyes.

“Putting a woman at the head of the organisation, not a man, was important symbolically, to show people that we were walking the talk,” she said. “At the same time, it’s not about men or women, it’s about competencies and for companies to take chances on talent.” Despite women’s workplace challenges, corporate policies on workplace life balance is crucial to encourage well-being and to send positive signals that encourage talent development, Darwish added. “I am optimistic. There is one thing in this world that can create a revolution: The percentage of educated women that are in the market is growing more and more. If companies don’t focus on the 35 to 40 per cent of universities made up of women, then they are losing those brains,” she said. “You can’t stop the water from flowing, and companies will need to adapt to the coming changes, even if they are not strong believers now. They will be obliged to look at women seriously.”

schneider-electric.com/ae

FBC Insights I 15


Senior Leaders Exclusive Interview

“You have to walk the talk”, says Dulsco CEO on gender balance David Stockton argues perception must be backed up by reality, and outlines that concrete measures he has taken to welcome women to his company.

by Ed Clowes

T

hroughout Dulsco’s 83 years of operating, says the company’s chief executive David Stockton, diversity has always been a part of its character. It just hasn’t always been given a label.

Whilst noting that it was challenging to measure, Stockton said that in terms of innovation, and balance in the workplace, it was significantly better than when he arrived.

Now that the push for more women in business has gone mainstream, and many companies have enshrined gender balance in to their corporate ethos, Stockton says it is important that firms do more than simply pay the issue lip service.

“The belief is that by having the right nationality, the right gender, the right social mix, we can get a far more innovative creation of product, a far more blended approach to the markets we operate in, and we’re able to work within different areas that perhaps we had not tackled before,” he said.

“One thing we will not do is just tick the box” he said. To ensure that Dulsco, an environmental, people and managed solutions business, actually delivers on its promises, the company has installed an infrastructure within the company to support women, and make the business as welcoming as possible. “Having the infrastructure, through making sure we have the right mix of facilities is key. We’ve now put a lot more emphasis on ensuring that we’re an attractive place to be for gender balance, whether that’s through the ability to care for you if you’ve just returned from maternity leave, career development or sport and recreation, facilities,” Stockton said.

The environmental solutions industry has traditionally been seen as a transport operation and that traditionally has not attracted woman, so attracting and retaining talent is often a challenge for companies. Dulsco has established a number of initiatives, including attendance at career fairs in the Northern Emirates, to reach out to young IT and chemical engineers and highlight the many opportunities in this space that can support the environmental vision of the country whilst delivering rewarding careers.

By the very nature of its business, Dulsco, which employs in excess of 14,000 people in the UAE says it has always had a very large cultural diversity, with its workforce standing today at 55 different nationalities. In the 18 months since he’s been at the company, Stockton says that he has tried to evolve Dulsco diversity strategy further, and to embrace inclusion and gender balance more than they had done previously. “That will give us a competitive advantage in the spaces that we operate,” he said, adding: “We cannot have one size that fits all approach, and that gender balance has changed significantly now as well. But equally, so has the infrastructure to be able to facilitate that.” But most importantly, the top executive added, was involving women in the direction of the company: Ensuring that they are a part of the decision making process, and driving the firm’s innovation. Dulsco’s approach has paid dividends, according to Stockton. Asked whether a more equal gender balance had improved Dulsco’s business performance, he said: “Without a shadow of a doubt.”

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David Stockton Chief Executive Officer Dulsco


Seniors Leaders Exclusive Interview

Elsewhere, the company has established an emerging leaders programme, designed to spot talent from within, singling out talented young employees for future management positions, and providing them with the necessary mentorship and support. This allows women who were looking at a potential career at Dulsco to see “what they could become,” Stockton said. Regarding the importance of women perceiving a company to be a welcoming place to work, he said: “The perception has to be backed up by reality.” “If it’s not backed up by reality, there’s no point…I want women to be able to say Dulsco is a great place to work,” Stockton said. In order to ensure that the firm’s image is backed up by action, Dulsco says that it has introduced health and wellbeing sessions, yoga and Zumba classes run by the staff and we consider one day sick leave every month for the ladies, should it be required, without requesting for a medical certificate. We also provide significantly longer maternity leave than the minimum required.

“I think that’s quite progressive for a business. It’s not on the job advertisement, but it’s something that we’re happy to do, because we understand that it’s difficult,” Stockton said. “You must walk the talk,” he added.

As a result, the company has established a 10 point charter that is the company’s ethos on diversity, openness, and fairness, which the senior leadership team is held accountable for. “It’s all about transparency,” Stockton said.

“It’s not top-down, it’s top-down bottom-up, and we get that mix through male and female, and cross culturally as well, and that’s been a big change,” he concluded.

dulsco.com

FBC Insights I 17


Senior Leaders Exclusive Interview

Becoming more and more diverse, the Thales way The French giant is trying to reverse decades of Franco-centricity, in order to reap the benefits of having local people do local business.

by Ed Clowes

“As a company, we are trying to become less and less French” said

Roger Daix Vice President Thales Middle East

Roger Daix, in a recent interview at his office in Dubai.

Daix is vice president of the Middle East for multinational Thales, which provides services to the defence, aerospace, and ground transportation industries. The company, which employs 65,000 people, recorded sales of $19.4 billion in 2017. In the Middle East, Thales employs 1500 people. However, Daix is not satisfied.

“The company should represent all the countries where we are based. We need local citizens who are part of our team, and who are able to interface and work with local customers” he said. “It’s clear that we have a big challenge in front of us.” Historically, like many other Western companies, Thales has sourced its staff largely from its country of origin, in this case France. Where necessary, it has looked to other European nations such as the UK and Germany to hire talent. With operations in over 56 countries, Thales is truly a global business. “We were used to expatriating people from Paris or even from Europe, but mainly from Paris” Daix said. Now, however, he said that Thales was focused on recruiting local people and local managers. According to Daix, in attempting to build a more diverse workforce, his organisation is faced with three challenges: Firstly, he must convince his managers of the need for change; secondly, Thales must establish the right channels of recruitment and thirdly, the firm must work out how to retain talent and develop their skills. In order to do this successfully, Daix says that he has had to identify local universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that are producing quality graduates with the correct competencies.

As a result, Daix believes, the organisation would “benefit from diversity.” “I think it’s obvious that when you have local people you close the gap in terms of culture, understanding, behaviour, the ability to listen and understand what was said by the customer” Daix said. “It’s a way to have a strong intimacy with the customer” he added. In the region, Thales does a lot of its business in large Arabic speaking countries such as Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Daix says that the people interfacing with these markets should be from the countries themselves. “Those people have to be citizens … and we should be able to offer them a career and a good position in our organisation” he said. “In the UAE, we have to be Emirati. In China, we have to be Chinese,” the top executive added. Having a workforce made up of different cultures would also allow for a diversity of viewpoints and new perspectives, according to Daix. “We don’t only want a Franco-centric perspective on each topic.” In order to become an attractive place to work and to retain talent of different nationalities and cultures, Thales has embarked on a wide-reaching programme to develop mentoring systems and implement strong policies on workplace discrimination.

it has “long been engaged in the fight against all forms of discrimination based on age, disability, gender or prejudice. Our employees share this commitment.”

On its website, Thales says that

It adds that when new employees join the company, they receive equality and diversity training as part of the induction process and this training is refreshed throughout their careers.

FBC Insights I 19


Seniors Leaders Exclusive Interview

Asked about his approach to discrimination in the office, Daix said that any allegation of intolerant or bigoted behaviour would be dealt with swiftly to ensure a positive working environment. Beyond ensuring that people from different backgrounds face no bias or prejudiced behaviour whilst working for Thales, the company has also prioritised mentorship systems and anonymous feedback channels. “As soon as someone starts, we appoint a mentor to him or her to help them better understand the company and help them to network” Daix said. If an individual had complained, Daix added, but hadn’t seen anything done about it “there’s the possibility to write or contact a specific committee that is independent from the management.” “Anyone can raise a point about discrimination to an independent ethics officer.” The top executive added that Thales has a society for young people in the company to liaise with, and to support one another.

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In order to nurture future leaders the multinational also runs something it calls a ‘talent booster’, aimed at giving specific corporate training to “young talent coming from the emerging countries.” “The objective is to train and develop them to take a senior position within the organisation,” Daix said. Ultimately, Thales offers people of all different backgrounds a “career that can be very interesting, with lots of things to do, different challenges across space, aerospace, defence, and security,” he noted. Staff could expect to work in many locations, including the UK, France, Australia and China, changing positions every three to four years to ensure a diversified and stimulating career.

This kind of exciting working environment would ensure that “one day, hopefully an Emirati will run Thales” Daix concluded.


WEPs’ Signatories Dubai Event

French companies celebrate International Women’s Day by signing UN pledge to balance genders Senior officials from over 20 of France’s largest corporations gathered earlier this month in Dubai, to sign the United Nation’s women empowerment principles

by Ed Clowes

O

n International Women’s Day this year, over 20 multinational French companies marked the occasion by making official their commitment to the United Nation’s (UN) women’s empowerment principles (WEPs). Société Générale organised a reception in honour of companies such as Thales, Total, and Air France who became signatories to the principles, which pledge to promote education, training and professional development for women, and establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality through community initiatives and advocacy. “When you look at the women empowerment principles, by signing them in the UAE it is reinforcing a message we’ve had here for a very long time about the importance and the role of women in the society and the workplace,” said Assma Gosaibat, deputy managing director of Total UAE Services. So by signing the WEPs, she added, it was an “opportunity to remind us of the importance of the principles, which highlights almost a roadmap on how we can engage women more and empower them in an effective way.” In line with its “Life is On” programme, Schneider Electric says its aim is to provide equal opportunities to “everyone, everywhere.” “Empowering women is a key pillar of our diversity strategy, along with commitment by leaders, change management campaigns, and aligning with human resources,” said Hanan Darwish, regional President for the Gulf and Pakistan at Schneider Electric, in an interview at the event. ” “Diversity and inclusion is in our DNA, and it is our heritage and our future. We aim to become the world’s most diverse and inclusive company” she added. The company has seen its diversity grow steadily, setting strict short-term targets to improve women representation from 18 per cent in 2017, to 35 per cent by 2019, while also achieving 50 per cent female recruitment in 2018.

“As part of the French Business Council Dubai’s drive to “Embrace Diversity”, we’re celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political benefits of having a more diverse and inclusive workplace,” Darwish said. Other principles that the French companies committed to on March 7, in the presence of French Ambassador to the UAE Ludovic Pouille, include the implementation of enterprise development and marketing practices that empower women, and the promotion of gender equality through community initiatives and advocacy.

For Air France, the evening was an opportunity to recognise, and reward, the women at its company for their contribution. Gilles Roche, general manager for the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan, Air France KLM Group, said about the company’s philosophy: “I would say that [equality] is somewhere in our DNA, because when you look at the percentage of women working in our group, it’s almost 45 per cent, so it was something that was initiated a long time ago.” His colleague, Primrose John, a regional human resources partner, added:

We can proudly say that in our regional head office, the commercial department, which is made up of revenue management, pricing, marketing and communications, and business analysis, all key departments in steering our business, are headed by women.” The UAE had come a long way, she said. “Today, many women in the UAE are frontrunners in their respective fields.” Roche added that Air France KLM’s positive and inclusive attitude towards hiring women was attracting other women to the company.

Reiterating the power of women role models, senior executive Mireille Nader said: “I am pleased to share with young women my experience and I am open to all questions in order to encourage them.” Nader is a key account manager at French defence giant Thales. “It has not been as easy for my generation as it might be now for women in defence, but things are evolving rapidly and positively” she said. Thales says it is encouraging diversity and inclusion and pushing talent. “Women are empowered and encouraged to take leading positions but they also need to have the courage to assume the responsibilities given

FBC Insights I 21


WEPs’ Signatories Dubai Event

Under President Emmanuel Macron, France has a gender-balanced cabinet with 11 of 22 posts taken by women, in accordance with an earlier pledge.

The UAE is the 35th country that Sodexo has signed the WEPs in, and Roux says that it is hoping to commit to the principles in even more countries.

According to the UN, 50 French companies have already agreed to participate in the WEPs, signalling their support for gender equality and the guidance provided by the principles.

Richad Soundarjee, chief executive of Société Générale, said that he believed corporations had a societal role to play.

As a new signatory to the principles, transportation company RATP Dev said that they were honored and proud to be part of the initiative in the UAE. “Our commitment to gender equality and balance is measured and reviewed on a regular basis as part of our corporate continuous improvement process. In this respect, we have set internal targets related to the number of women in our global organization and at executive positions” said Francois Bonsignori, chief financial officer, RATP Dev, Asia, Middle East and North Africa. Since the launch of the women's empowerment principles in 2010, over 1,000 CEOs from around the world have signed the CEO Statement of Support for the WEPs. One company that had previously signed the WEPs in France, but only signed them in the UAE at the ceremony in March, is Sodexo, which employs over 420,000 people across 80 countries. “It’s important that we signed [the principles], because it helps us promote what we are. And equal treatment of women and men is not just right thing to do, it is also good for the business,” said Veronika Roux, head of business development and sales at Sodexo Middle East.

22 I FBC Insights

“The topic of gender balance and women empowerment is very obviously part of what the region, and the leadership here, is trying to achieve,” Soundarjee said.

Within Société Générale, Soundarjee added, individuals had championed the issue and forced the company to pay attention. When we thought about the best angle to achieve gender equality, it was very apparent that the WEPs were the right medium by which we could make a statement, and make a commitment,” he continued. Often referred to as Equality Means Business, the principles emphasise the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment, and are informed by business practices and input gathered from across the globe, according to the UN.


WEPs’ Signatories Dubai Event

For industrial company Vallourec’s head of human resources (HR) in Saudi Arabia, the principles are an important standard for gender equity at work. Fatima Al Jawad says that it is not often to see women entering technical professions in Saudi Arabia. “In manufacturing industry, you rarely see women joining...” However, she added, after she joined Vallourec, Al Jawad learned that “It’s not a place to survive, but to grow and evolve. She argued that this was what would ultimately entice women to work for a company. “The WEPs provide us with foundations that we can implement and follow,” Al Jawad said. AXA Gulf, the insurance provider, said that gender parity was not only a “key priority for us as an organisation, it is also a key innovation driver and a vital asset for us.” “By signing the UN WEPs we re-enforce our commitment to empower women across all spectrums. At AXA, we truly believe that our company needs to reflect the societies we live in and the multiculturalism of our customers,” said Cedric Charpentier, CEO at AXA Gulf.” Locally, Axa says that in just a short period of time, it has managed to achieve equal representation of its executive level members, who are now 50 per cent women. Estelle Pagnon-Pouille, wife of the French ambassador to the UAE, called the signing of the principles “very important.”

Ed Clowes with (from left to right): Agnes Lopez Cruz, Assma Gosaibat, Sevim Guvenc and Hatem Nuseibeh.

“The companies that have signed tonight are major companies from France. And so they will act like models,” she said. On the UAE’s progress, Pagnon-Pouille said: “I think the UAE is already very active in the empowerment of women. As you can see, the majority of higher education students here in the UAE are women.” She continued: “What is important is that the private sector, through its commitment to the WEPs, has decided to change things. The independence of women is really important for them. It’s important when you have a business that all your employees feel well treated and equal.” Agnes Lopez Cruz, managing director of the French Business Council, concluded: “The FBC, through Societe Generale and UNGC’s drive, has been involved from the first day and organized several meetings and workshops to promote the WEPs among its members, encouraging them to join forces for this common initiative. We are particularly proud of our French business community tonight.” “Nevertheless, even if the signature of more than 20 French companies is a very encouraging first step, it’s not an end in itself. This is indeed the very beginning of a challenging and exciting journey.”

Dubai, 7th March 2018. Ed Clowes interviews with Gilles Roche, Air France-KLM General Manager UAE, and Primrose John, Air France-KLM Head of HR for the region.

She added: “You can count on the FBC Dubai to play its part to the full, and provide continuous operational support to the French companies through our diversity and inclusion think tank, as well as our HR working group. Let's meet a year from now to gauge the progress that has been achieved.”

FBC Insights I 23


Regional Testimonies

GENDER DIVERSITY AND PARITY IS A KEY PRIORITY AT AXA GULF Gender diversity/parity is a key priority for us at AXA Gulf. We are committed to empowering our workforce across all spectrums, and strongly believe in developing policies and programs that help change peoples’ mind-set and behaviour. There are several Diversity & Inclusion initiatives that have been implemented by our Diversity & Inclusion Council, which support our strategy. First, we have launched a sponsorship program aimed at our key female and local talent which acknowledges and actively propels the next generation of leaders to the top. Sponsors are partnered with our Executive team who share their business experiences, providing senior-level networking opportunities. Second, we have established a diversity and inclusion roadmap to address disparities, align our policies in terms of compensation and benefits, and ensure parity across all levels. We are particularly proud to have introduced implemented a parent policy in January 2017, which entitles staff to sixteen weeks paid maternity leave and four weeks paid paternity leave.

24 I FBC Insights

Cedric Charpentier CEO, AXA Gulf Third, we have developed policies specifically aimed at driving change that benefit employees and support an inclusive environment, such as our ‘New Ways of Working’. This flexible working programme empowers employees to consider where, how and when they work, which enables greater achievement, higher job satisfaction and better work and life balance. Fourth, we have ensured parity in recruitment by actively including women in the shortlist for each role. We will also soon begin the process of introducing blind CVs to our recruitment practice in order to remove any form of unconscious bias. Finally, we have partnered with a special needs foundation to support those with disabilities whilst including them in the workplace.


Regional Testimonies

Sodexo’s Gender Balance Case study As companies around the world become increasingly diverse and interconnected, the scarcity of women in leadership positions has emerged as a pressing concern for organisational stakeholders, and society at large. Recent statistics highlight the magnitude of the problem: According to a 2017 report by McKinsey, only one in every four management positions is held by a woman. The gender gap is even starker when it comes to senior leadership positions in large corporations, with only 5.2 per cent of the S&P 500’s CEOs being women.

The study found that teams managed by a balanced mix of men and women were more successful across a wide range of outcomes, including operating margins, client and employee retention, employee engagement, safety, and other key performance indicators, compared to teams with gender-imbalanced management.

In terms of employee engagement, defined as the number of entities with an employee engagement rate higher than the external benchmark in 2016, it was 14 percentage points higher for firms with gender-balanced management. For employee retention, defined as the average employee retention rate in 2016, it was 8 percentage points higher for entities with gender-balanced management.

For safety, defined as the number of entities that decreased workplace accident rates between 2014 and 2016, firms with gender-balanced management were 12 percentage points higher.

A focus on key business performance indicators

Key findings included the following: The retention rate of 90 per cent or more in 2016 was 9 percentage points higher for entities with gender-balanced management.

Lastly, for operating margins, defined as the number of entities significantly increasing operating margins between 2014 and 2016, they were 8 percentage points higher for entities with gender-balanced management.

In 2014, Sodexo aimed to contribute to this knowledge by launching an internal study to explore and understand the correlation between gender balanced management and performance. This effort became known as the gender balance study, a multi-year longitudinal analysis of gender parity within all levels of leadership globally at Sodexo. “We believe that gender balance fosters creativity and innovation, and ultimately drives better business results. When women reach their full potential, business and society are stronger and more successful,” said Sophie Bellon, chairwoman of the Sodexo board.

To know more about this study and how we make every day a better day please visit www.sodexo.com

A better tomorrow for everyone it’s part of what we do every day.

Member of Bloomberg’s 2018 Gender-Equality Index

51

years of global experience

Best Companies for Multicultural Women list by Working Mother Magazine

4,27000 employees

Ranked in the top 10 of DiversityInc magazine's 'Top 50 Companies for Diversity' list for the 9th consecutive year in 2017

19th

largest employer in the world

Recognized by FORTUNE Magazine's World's Most Admired Companies list, Change the World list and the FORTUNE 500 list

Serving

100 million consumers daily

Delivering Quality of Life Services since

1974

in the Middle East & Africa

Contact us:

christina.dsouza@Sodexo.com, +971 4 3339234 Sodexo FZE, 503 Palace Towers, Dubai, Silicon Oasis, PO 34 1264, Dubai, UAE

www.sodexo.com

FBC Insights I 25


Regional Testimonies

People with determination in the workplace: an asset! A UAE business case

Mike Davis

Regional Director Middle East CSM Sport & Entertainment

I

’m not going to lie: 11 months ago, we hadn’t even thought about developing and delivering an inclusiveness programme for People with Determination for our business in the Middle East and Africa region. However, 11 months ago, our second daughter, named Tallulah, was born. She was unexpectedly born with Down syndrome. Cue an immediate crash course of what that actually means, what support she needs, and is the UAE set up to provide what we need. Overwhelming at times, but 11 months later Tallulah is healthy and happy and we are equipped to make key decisions relevant to Tallulah and our future. Tallulah’s arrival coincided with our business, CSM Sport and Entertainment, working with the Special Olympics World Games Organising Committee to support the promotion and delivery of the World Games, taking place in the capital in March 2019. I have been blown away by the power and scale of the Special Olympics movement, and in a little under a year an estimated 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and their 2,600 coaches from over 170 countries will arrive in Abu Dhabi to take part in the world’s largest humanitarian event, to celebrate inclusion and break down the barriers that exist for people and families living with intellectual disability. Having a daughter with determination in the UAE presents some genuine challenges, and we know only too well how important it is for society to evolve in a way in which it accepts, supports and includes. That is why we felt it so important to develop our own inclusiveness programme - to provide opportunity for individuals with determination to come and work for us in a part- and full-time capacity.

More on Special Olympics Abu Dhabi: abudhabi2019.org csm.com

26 I FBC Insights

Our rather naked ambition was to employ an individual in a full-time capacity in our office in Abu Dhabi from the get-go. However, with the help of the Sedra foundation, we have ensured that the programme has been very carefully planned and managed, ensuring the individuals joining the team, our staff and other stakeholders are all aware of important considerations that need to be factored in so that our programme can thrive in the future. We are delighted to say that we have recently completed the pilot project. Asma, a wonderfully bubbly, capable and endearing person, joined our office management team to assist in the day-to-day administration and running of the business. The experience has been such a positive one. It not only provides opportunity to People with Determination but it encourages our staff to have a more holistic outlook on work and life and raises awareness and action against a really important social challenge. We are also using our positive experience to advise the Special Olympics World Games Commercial team and ensure that any commercial partner that comes on board to support the movement makes a pledge to provide programmes of inclusiveness in their businesses as part of their partnership with the project. I would love to see all partners and supporters of Special Olympics develop and adopt their own inclusiveness programmes. That would be a brilliant legacy left by a once in a lifetime milestone for the country. Our vision is to develop a series of programmes for our 28 offices around the world with the intention of providing full-time, paid opportunities for People with Determination within our workforce. All this contributing to a much more rounded, inclusive society. That’s the shoot for the stars bit from me. For now, we will continue to welcome those with determination into the CSM family.


Regional Testimonies

The D-Words: Diversity, Disability and People of Determination Insights from an UAE Inclusion Catalyst

Renate Baur-Richter Program Manager SEDRA Foundation

There is good news. In the UAE, more organisations have an interest in creating opportunities for people with disabilities than ever before. The bad news? Not all of them do know how to get started. There is no shortage of proposed approaches, but fundamentally, inclusion initiatives need a distinctive UAE perspective operating within the specifics of the community. The Sedra Foundation for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit organisation, acting as an inclusionary catalyst that partners with the community to build a more accessible ecosystem for all. In addition, Sedra is the legacy partner of the Special Olympics World Games 2019 Abu Dhabi. So what is the first piece of advice Sedra offers to companies?

The second step is to consider niche projects that test the internal water. Sedra coined the term ‘disruptive inclusion’ for this drive. This local model is a launch pad for joint ventures that fit into the corporate culture. Rather than starting an employment programme in the first place, it might set a more robust base for future directions to contribute to a community project, to offer short-term internships, to qualify staff as inclusion volunteers, book ‘unified volunteers’ (volunteers with disabilities) for an event or to get involved in non-formal education. This low-key implementation leads to a more inclusion-confident organisation, from solely corporate social responsibility to a corporate shared value attitude.

“Step back. Observe, ask, and slow down.” Inclusion is not a race, it is a mindset. Analysing the motivation and the expectations sounds commonplace, however this reflection leads to programmes that are deeply grounded in the organization.

For more details, contact SEDRA: info@sedra.org

FBC Insights I 27


D&I Panorama: Cross Perspectives

D&I Panorama: Cross Perspectives Do you see key differences between the European and UAE market when it comes to diversity and inclusion? Are they common trends? RACHEL MOOSA, ACCOR HOTELS With regards to different nationalities, the UAE is a very welcoming and diversified destination. Many of our hotels have more than fifty different nationalities as part of their team, bringing with them wonderful experiences from around the globe. The UAE has taken measures to ensure that Emirati nationals are encouraged towards businesses in the country, in order to maximise the potential of home-grown talent. We are seeing a shift towards promoting female leaders in the UAE, particularly with the great role models, including Forbes 100 Most Influential Women Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE’s Minister for Tolerance, and Raja Easa Al Gurg, managing director of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group.

ANITA VAN GAAL, AIR FRANCE Our purpose is to create memorable experiences for our customers, and we strive to achieve this collectively as a team. It is about being able to touch our customer. By having diverse teams, we have a broad range of skills and behavioural sets, which allow us to meet these different customer expectations. It is proven that diversity will lead to more efficient teams. This is applicable in a worldwide context, and is as valid in Europe and North America as it is in the Gulf.

Rachel Moosa Senior Vice President, Talent & Culture, MEA ACCOR HOTELS

Anita Van Gaal Regional HR Manager ME AIR FRANCE - KLM

Despo Michaelides Chief Human Resources & Diversity Officer, ME AXA

Nathalie Amiel-Ferrault Vice President Marketing & Customer Experience FEDEX EXPRESS ME

DESPO MICHAELIDES, AXA Yes, there are some key differences between the European and UAE markets when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Europe is quite complex with new legislation in force across many countries for the LGBT community; with women and ethnic minorities being underutilised in the workplace. At the same time, most companies operating in Europe face the challenge of laws prohibiting them from collecting data on people’s race, ethnicity, and ability or disability, whereas in the UAE this is not the case. Certain norms, which are not applicable in Europe, do prevail in the UAE. For example, there are currently no UAE laws directly prohibiting companies from measuring diversity progress, whilst measuring the same in Europe is much more challenging. There are, on the other hand, many common trends between the markets, with the UAE adopting new ways of working, such as agile or flexitime, increased maternity and paternity leave benefits, and a drive to ensure gender parity in the workplace to specifically address women. Historically, People of Determination (people with disabilities) were not actively promoted in the workplace in the UAE, but this has changed.

Peter Haugaard Head of People, Performance & Culture KPMG Lower Gulf

Sarah Tabet Human Ressources Director ME SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC ME

Thierry Delaplace Human Ressources Director ME & Africa THALES

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D&I Panorama: Cross Perspectives

NATHALIE AMIEL-FERRAULT, FEDEX EXPRESS The UAE has a cosmopolitan community with a wealth of nationalities, and people from a range of different cultural and professional backgrounds. In my experience, professionals from European countries are impressed at how innovative and progressive UAE society is, particularly in terms of gender diversity. In terms of common trends, I see a strong commitment to the topic of diversity and inclusion in both Europe and the UAE, and there is a real understanding that diversity is not only a social necessity, but also a benefit for national economies, governments, and private businesses.

PETER HAUGAARD, KPMG The underlying challenges are fairly universal. Here, the push for gender equality is clearly the common focus. This is, of course, no surprise as half the world’s population is female, and the biggest imperative is to ensure a more balanced gender mix among decision makers across all levels in public and private organizations. We are still far from having this balance in place, and I think this heavily influences the agenda. There are some clear differences between the European and the UAE markets when it comes to diversity and inclusion. One big difference is the UAE seems to be much more focused on creating a level playing field for people of determination. In Europe, most countries have limited focus on this aspect of diversity and inclusion. Most of us know people of determination, and yet they have rarely been the focus of attention, so the efforts here to shine a light on this group are very welcome.

SARAH TABET, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC When we speak about diversity and inclusion, there are numerous attributes such as nationality, gender balance, and additional aspects that make up a heterogeneous country and workforce. A distinct characteristic of the UAE and the Gulf region is that there are more than 200 nationalities, with the UAE made up of around 80 per cent expatriates. This diverse workforce raises the need for employers to consider cultural differences at every level of their organisation. While major cities share strong diversity characteristics, the population is overall more homogeneous than the UAE. In terms of gender balance, however, similarly to Europe the UAE government and organisations are pushing to increase the number of women in leadership roles. For example, women now comprise nearly 30 per cent of the ministerial cabinet, higher than many countries worldwide. The UAE gender balance council aims for the UAE to become one of the world’s top 25 countries for gender equality by 2021. However, the private sector still has a major gap in the presence of women in leadership roles, both in the UAE, the wider Gulf region, and in Europe. The private sector should work closely with the public and academic sectors to enable more women to join private sector organisations.

THIERRY DELAPLACE, THALES The main difference is that in the Middle East, Thales has more than 40 nationalities, with people coming from all over the world. However, in Europe, the globalisation trend is less pronounced. Furthermore, European countries have additional regulations in terms of discrimination and employees disability. As for common trends, gender diversity and the generation gap are both shared traits between the two regions, creating a shortage of talent as a consequence.

What initiatives have made a real difference? RACHEL MOOSA, ACCOR HOTELS In the region, we have doubled the number of female general managers within the last 12 months, and we are pleased to have appointed a Saudi national as the first female general manager in Saudi Arabia. We have created a local committee to support the integration of Saudi women in the workplace, which includes holding managerial positions, and I am proud to announce that we have graduated women as leaders from our SMTP (Saudi Management Training Program). AccorHotels also just launched a co-mentoring programme, where we encourage cross-generational mentoring relationships so that ‘smart leaders’ can learn more about the digitalisation of work from ‘smart digits’ and other platforms. We also partnered with leading companies to assist our hotels in integrating people with disabilities (PWD) in to the workplace, alongside the creation of a PWD policy and learning kit for each disability, to assist hotel team members in making PWD employees feel welcome.

ANITA VAN GAAL, AIR FRANCE Our organisation in the Gulf is made up of a stimulating fusion of over 25 different nationalities, and a mix of genders in varied divisions. We believe that diversity and inclusion in a corporate setting starts right at the point of hiring. Our recruitment teams are made up of diverse individuals and roles, leading to fair and unbiased recruitment practices. This results in a blend of diverse teams and encourages openness, as well as understanding and nurturing other cultures. Creating equal opportunities for all is also key in promoting diversity and inclusion. Fostering an environment where talent recognition, training, project allocation, mentoring and other vital motivational rewards are accessible to each and every team member leads to a positive and harmonious work philosophy.

FBC Insights I 29


D&I Panorama: Cross Perspectives

DESPO MICHAELIDES, AXA Some of the key initiatives that made a difference to empower our people, transform our culture, and delight our customers included the fact that gender diversity is key to our business success, and at the senior executive level we have managed to achieve 50 per cent female representation. Building on from this, we are embedding gender representation into our succession pools to build a pipeline for the future. We are particularly proud to have introduced and implemented a parent policy in January 2017. This entitles staff to 16 weeks paid maternity leave and four weeks paid paternity leave. Another key initiative to drive inclusion in our workplace is our ‘New Ways of Working’ policy. This involved implementing a flexible working programme, empowering our employees to consider where, how and when they work, which enables our staff to achieve more, have higher job satisfaction and a better work-life balance. Moreover, we launched a sponsorship programme aimed at our key female and local talent by partnering them with our executive team, who share business experiences and create opportunities for senior level networking. The main aim is to foster a culture that not only acknowledges talent, but that actively propels the next generation of leaders to the top. We established a diversity and inclusion road map to address any disparities, and to align our policies in terms of compensation and benefits and ensure parity across all levels. Our recruitment practices ensure parity by actively including women and local nationals in the shortlist for each role and are based on equal opportunities for all. Underpinning all of this, we have a diversity and inclusion council that drives our strategy, which is focused on people, culture, and marketplace.

NATHALIE AMIEL-FERRAULT, FEDEX EXPRESS When the leadership team is personally committed to the topic it inspires real change. When diversity is driven by those at the very top of the organization, it is brought into discussions throughout the business around key topics such as talent acquisition, professional development and succession planning. Support from our leadership has ensured that diversity and inclusion is a key business consideration, and discussed at each level, in each function of the organization. Sharing personal stories from our managers and senior executives has inspired and benefited our team members. Women, who are at senior manager level or above at FedEx, are encouraged to share their personal experiences, including how they have developed and progressed through the company, and how they have overcome any personal or professional challenges that arose during their career. FedEx has also invited women entrepreneurs to share their success stories and inspire others with their personal journeys.

PETER HAUGAARD, KPMG There are few silver bullets in this game, but I think a couple of elements have really been transformational. Two years ago we kicked off two major initiatives to change the mix and dynamics of the organization. The first aimed to attract more female talent, and the second to impact the ethnic mix to include more native Arabic-speakers and Europeans. Both initiatives have been highly successful and the very fabric of the organization has evolved as a result. We have retained the KPMG spirit, but now we are also a much more diverse team. Diversity is not always easy, but we feel strongly that the benefits far outstrip any teething problems we may encounter, and people have received the changes with open arms.

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SARAH TABET, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC At Schneider Electric, what has made a real difference has been the global step taken into recognising diversity as a business imperative, and not just an initiative by human resources. As part of our global ‘people strategy,’ we have added diversity and inclusion as one of the six key transformation priorities, impacting how we operate globally and locally. Our recruitment strategies support our commitment to increase the level of representation of women across the pipeline. Schneider Electric has established dedicated executive-level groups to drive towards gender parity. We support the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, which aims for global role models to set the tone for gender equality, alongside many initiatives to promote education, training and awareness around diversity and inclusion. This ensures we are a diverse and inclusive company where differences are valued and respected, and equal opportunities offered to everyone, everywhere. In recognition of our global family leave policy, gender pay equity process, and access to energy training and entrepreneurship programme, Schneider Electric was also listed in the 2018 Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, a barometer of gender equality performance in worldwide sectors.

THIERRY DELAPLACE, THALES Around one year ago, we began on our journey to engage and empower the female population, improve the gender mix when we recruit, hire a better mix between locals and expats, and give chances to young local talents through our ‘Talent Booster Programme’. We also introduced new maternity benefits above GCC local requirements, worked to raise awareness around unconscious bias, and promote a better work-life balance to increase our efficiency. Lastly, we introduced a diversity and inclusion charter, which is an opportunity to provide a common framework, and hold everyone accountable.

What are you 5 tips to make a team inclusive? RACHEL MOOSA, ACCOR HOTELS

Step 1: Address micro challenges throughout the career lifecycle – so when a workplace challenge comes up, address it. Step 2: Create visibility into leadership opportunities for all – this can be through mentoring, communication, cross exposure. Step 3: Make flexible work schedules the default across all levels – accommodate those who need it. Step 4: Create accelerated on-ramps to re-activate people who temporarily “opt-out” of the career – many people take a break for many reasons, make it easier for those people to re-enter the workplace. Step 5: Communicate regularly – ensure that you discuss challenges and barriers on a regular basis.


D&I Panorama: Cross Perspectives

ANITA VAN GAAL, AIR FRANCE Step 1: First, it is about awareness. Hiring managers should strive for balance. Step 2: Train to be consciously unbiased and mind-bug free. Step 3: Set targets and goals to focus and steer. Step 4: Start with small steps and gain commitment from the top level. Step 5: Create and facilitate open platforms and networking opportunities with role models.

DESPO MICHAELIDES, AXA Step 1: Be relentlessly persistent - building an inclusive team takes time and something you have to commit to working on, even when it isn't the most convenient or comfortable way to operate. Step 2: Encourage consistent and open communication - creating a safe space where every voice is heard. Allow and encourage opportunity for dialogue on important issues, challenges, and initiatives that impact your customers. Step 3: Create a clear vision that celebrates individual differences make it clear from the outset that each person's differences are an advantage to the team and add value and learning. Step 4: Choose to practice empathy - to better understand and appreciate customers and team members who have backgrounds and experiences that are different from your own, you've got to consider situations from their point of view. Step 5: Create a sense of belonging – create an environment where everyone on the team feels like they belong. A sense of belonging and inclusion doesn’t come from fitting in, but from being accepted.

NATHALIE AMIEL-FERRAULT, FEDEX EXPRESS Step 1: Make a conscious effort to recruit a diverse workforce. Insist that your recruitment team or agency provide a diverse candidate pool for selection, and challenge them if your request isn’t met. Step 2: Recognise people as individuals. Our managers work with their teams to develop individual career pathways that work for each team member. FedEx Online Academy offers job-specific training, leadership and self-development modules, and all team members from courier to CEO - can access an annual amount to fund any external training or education course. Step 3: Consider the impact you can make outside your organization. It’s important to encourage good practices on a wider scale. FedEx works with community groups to demonstrate this commitment. Step 4: Measure and communicate. For any goals or objectives to succeed, they must be measured, and the results shared within the company. Step 5: Analyse your data. Find the root cause for any gaps in performance, be it in the areas of training, promotions, absences, resignation or others. Once you’ve identified the root cause, identify the solution, or what actions you can take to address these results.

PETER HAUGAARD, KPMG There are probably many answers to this, but I think a successful recipe includes the following elements: Step 1: Make a conscious and deliberate decision to make your team(s) more inclusive, and agree what this means. Step 2: Set specific targets and agree milestones. This will help you stay the course and remain true to the objective. Step 3: Accept that we all carry unconscious biases around, and ensure that everyone has training on unconscious biases and how to spot and challenge them when they kick in. Unconscious biases sneak in all over the place, and are easier to tackle once you have created a common language for this.

SARAH TABET, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC Step 1: Inclusivity begins by revisiting the organisation’s recruitment strategies to ensure hiring is approached with the objective of fostering diversity and inclusion. It is crucial to build a mixed workforce that provides a range of abilities, experience, knowledge, and strengths brought by its heterogeneity in age, background, ethnicity, physical abilities, beliefs, and other attributes. Step 2: Celebrate diversity and educate employees across the organisation about different practices, such as Diwali, International Women’s Day, International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Step 3: Create inclusive spaces where employees can spend time with one another, and foster engaging conversations to help people share their experiences. Step 4: Encourage participation in employee- or company-driven team building events, such as football matches, to foster connections and networks. Step 5: Ensure that policies are built in a way for everyone to feel like they are truly welcome, safe and free to be themselves in the workplace. Examples can include flexible dress codes, flexible working hours, and family leave considerations.

THIERRY DELAPLACE, THALES Step 1: Team members need to have a common understanding of what inclusion is, and how it is applied and measured. Step 2: Transparency and communication are key to break any potential misunderstanding, or silos. Step 3: Not to expect others to think, behave and act the same way we do. Accept differences. Step 4: Managers have to demonstrate leadership characteristic in guiding employees through inclusion. They have an active role to play to make it happen. Step 5: On boarding and integration are initial phases of inclusion.

Do you have any staff dedicated to D&I? If not, how do you ensure the role? ANITA VAN GAAL, AIR FRANCE Locally, our establishment covers 10 countries with about 250 staff. Given these dynamics, we do not have a person dedicated to D&I in this region. However, at both HQs Air France and KLM we have colleagues at different levels working on D&I embedded in diverse teams. Also at the executive level there is a commitment towards the principles of diversity. A group of top executives has committed to put together an agenda and action plan with a first focus on gender equality in executive positions. Another example is an internal KLM network ‘Woman on board’, steered by an executive manager, with the aim to focus on women equality.

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D&I Panorama: Cross Perspectives

DESPO MICHAELIDES, AXA

THIERRY DELAPLACE, THALES

At AXA Gulf we have a dedicated head of diversity and inclusion, who fosters a culture of inclusion where all employees feel respected, are treated with dignity, and where diversity of thought and expression are valued and appreciated. She is supported by a diversity and inclusion council, made up of a sponsor from our executive committee, the chief HR and diversity officer, and six volunteers from the business. The council’s role is to act as a governing body for the diversity and inclusion agenda. The diversity and inclusion sponsor is also part of the AXA global diversity and inclusion steering committee, which builds the global diversity and inclusion strategy focused on three work streams. Firstly, people – to embed inclusion in all people practices. Secondly, culture – with a focus on creating inclusive cultures, practices and policies. And thirdly, marketplace – focusing on external presence and customer points of view, positioning AXA as an employer of choice.

We definitively have top managers dedicated to diversity and inclusion, and it is crucial to make it happen in the company. First and foremost because it is part of the Thales Group organisational objectives. We have also implemented a steering committee at regional level to ensure and manage all our actions in terms of diversity and inclusion. Additionally, our talent manager’s mission success is linked to the diversity and inclusion achievements.

NATHALIE AMIEL-FERRAULT, FEDEX EXPRESS At FedEx, we believe that diversity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. Following the hiring process, which is structured to ensure a fair and balanced assessment of an individual’s skills and behaviours, through to individual recognition, and skills development, managers play a key role in helping their teams identify and take advantage of opportunities for them to grow and develop. We are passionate about helping our team members to reach their goals, and have put in place the tools and programmes they need to achieve them.

PETER HAUGAARD, KPMG Yes, we have staff dedicated to diversity and inclusion activities across the firm. To us this is fairly simple: Although it is everyone’s responsibility to build an inclusive environment where people of diverse backgrounds can thrive, you need someone to drive these efforts in the right direction – someone who can challenge our processes and decisions, and someone who can help us hold the mirror up to ourselves. The agenda and impact of diversity and inclusion runs across virtually all the classic HR and business functions, and we felt the need to have someone in place who can act as a subject matter expert and a sparring partner across all of these – to help us progress and help our leaders build a more inclusive environment, both through practices and policies.

SARAH TABET, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC Schneider Electric has dedicated global team to focus entirely on diversity and inclusion, which has also identified local ambassadors to support and lead on diversity and inclusion initiatives. On a personal level, in addition to my main role in HR, leading the diversity and inclusion agenda brought to me a great opportunity to engage, influence, and strengthen the commitment of our people to the diversity and inclusion principles that have been reflected in how we revisit our policies, processes, and day-to-day operations.

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How do you overcome stereotypes? ANITA VAN GAAL, AIR FRANCE The age-old stereotype paradox mainly occurs at a subconscious level. This can be overcome by making a conscious effort and expanding one’s knowledge and awareness. Education on diverse ethnicities, traditions, backgrounds and beliefs does promote a broadened perspective on different cultures. By organising intercountry events, meetings and trainings, we bring colleagues together which also facilitates understanding and respect of different backgrounds and cultures.

DESPO MICHAELIDES, AXA Our workplace consists of individuals from diverse backgrounds in terms of their gender, accessibility, race, religion and culture. At AXA, we ensure that our company culture encapsulates the principles of acceptance, tolerance and respect, which is reflected from the outset when people are on-boarded into the company. Our policies are all built to be both clear and free from any discrimination or bias, whether conscious or unconscious. We have invested in programmes that promote diversity and inclusion, with a focus on the language of inclusion, which fosters a collaborative atmosphere and a healthy workplace culture. Our employees engage through several opportunities, including celebrating their different faiths through festivals, understanding one another through team building activities, learning through educational videos on diversity and inclusion, and training on unconscious bias focused on individual needs. Our employees are encouraged to voice their opinions without fear of being shut down or ridiculed. Finally, we foster an environment that is open to discussion and that celebrates new ways of thinking, overcoming the status quo.

PETER HAUGAARD, KPMG Stereotyping often comes from a lack of exposure and knowledge. Limited exposure basically means that your “sample” is too small. It’s easy to jump to conclusions or, in the case of people, stereotype. The key tactic here is to increase exposure – have people team up extensively and often, with the purpose of creating diverse teams. Knowledge is of course often linked to lack of exposure, but as we see in many places you can actually work in a diversified environment and still know relatively little about your colleagues, their views, beliefs and what they hold dear.


D&I Panorama: Cross Perspectives

SARAH TABET, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC The best way to overcome stereotypes is first by understanding them. This is done by communication, trainings, and rolling out company-wide awareness campaigns. Since 2017, our global leadership have launched virtual training programmes and interactive platforms to educate employees around “hidden bias.” By tapping those hidden, automatic stereotypes that avoid conscious control, we aim to help our staff to recognise biased attitudes. On additional fronts, internal and external communications have played a key role in promoting and accelerating how to overcome bias. We have revised all communications to ensure that they are open, genuine, and non-judgmental. For example, we are portraying women as site engineers and highlighting multicultural literatures. While there is always room for improvement, we continue to proactively close any remaining bias gaps.

THIERRY DELAPLACE, THALES A Corporate campaign has been initiated this year on this topic, and we have started training sessions on unconscious bias.

How do you measure and communicate progress?

NATHALIE AMIEL-FERRAULT, FEDEX EXPRESS In addition to collecting and analysing data on gender and ethnic diversity, and assessing how individuals use and access the available learning tools, FedEx engages with external groups such as the Great Place to Work (GPTW) Institute to ensure that we benchmark with other companies and across multiple industries. GPTW has consistently recognized FedEx as one of the best companies to work for in the UAE, and was also recognized in 2017 as the Most Woman-Friendly Employer (Multi-National Company), at the 19th Global Women in Leadership Economic Forum, honours which were celebrated with all team members.

SARAH TABET, SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC Schneider Electric measures diversity and inclusion in our employee survey ‘OneVoice’, with results that are measured, analysed, and communicated year-on-year across the organisation. This survey is used to identify both strengths and areas for improvement, and most importantly, to demonstrate the impact of all initiatives and programmes conducted. To ensure that results are translated into actions that benefit both the company and the employees, we conduct focus groups to hear and share feedback, perspectives, and stories that set future priorities.

THIERRY DELAPLACE, THALES Key performance indicators have been defined at the corporate level, and suited to our local environment.

RACHEL MOOSA, ACCOR HOTELS Diversity and inclusion is a key priority for AccorHotels and we have dedicated internal channels to communicate updates within the business.

DESPO MICHAELIDES, AXA The issue of metrics and how to measure diversity and progress can be quite controversial. At AXA, we believe that driving transformative culture change is much more than just a set of numbers. What counts is the increased commitment our leaders are demonstrating in embracing diversity in all its many facets, and how they role model these inclusive behaviours. This is critical to the change we want to see, because the more inclusive we are as an organisation, the more progress we will see in our diversity area. Data is the necessary evil to start the debate; it is the language that the business understands and it is articulated in our diversity and inclusion dashboards. We communicate progress through the diversity and inclusion council, our internal forums, staff roadshows and through social media. This, in turn, translates into an inclusive culture free of bias and discrimination, and is a key lever to attract future employees to our brand.

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Local Success Stories

A Cultural Insight The key to recruiting and retaining a national workforce begins with having a genuine interest to include them in your company’s long-term strategy; and not just a matter of following mandates and filling quotas. Just as crucial is an inclusive work environment that invites differing perspectives to the table and an openness to the idea that diversity is the seed of innovation and creativity. Letting diverse perspectives in and allowing them to disrupt the status quo is not always easy. But in my experience, it is the sustained and lasting positive affect that diversity brings to the workplace. Stereotypes and misconceptions about nationals using private companies as a pit stop to their government job is just that, a stereotype. Fresh graduates are well educated, ambitious and ready for the challenges of the private sector, and companies should match that with a strategy that puts their company on the nationalisation radar.

Nasif Kayed CEO The Arab Culturalist

Essential to implementing an effective diversity and inclusion plan is a supportive corporate structure that realizes the value of nurturing homegrown talent, and what that might mean to the corporate environment. Companies who anticipate these challenges with action like enhancing everyone’s intercultural communication skills or providing diversity and inclusion training are far more successful than those who just focus on training the new joiners. Those who take the time to understand cultural differences that affect workplace motivation and satisfaction are far more successful with their D& I plan than those who do not.

The bottom line of D&I When people talk about diversity and inclusion, they tend to focus on gender parity. However, when embraced strategically, diversity and inclusion broadens the workforce in every direction. Why? Because economies are surprisingly similar to sports teams – if you only play half the squad, you only get half the result.

Sophie Leray CEO NASEBA

While the business magazines opine the power of the millennial workforce, global youth unemployment reached 12.9 per cent in 2015, with expectations that it will rise to 13.1 per cent in 2018. While the UN reports six million more youths are currently employed than in 2009, the trend is moving in the wrong direction and, among those who do work, more than 20 per cent are at risk of poverty. Around 15 per cent of the global population lives with a disability of some description, and the employment rate among disabled people ranges from 50 per cent to 90 per cent across various economies. Disability inclusion is not about hitting quotas: It’s about establishing support for colleagues and employees of all abilities, throughout the employment lifecycle with mentorship, adapted working conditions or hybrid job roles. The term ‘womenomics’ needs little introduction, but remains central to diversity and inclusion. Closing the participation and wage gap between genders would increase women’s income globally by up to 76 per cent, equivalent to $17 trillion. Further, for every year a woman spends in education, child mortality decreases by 9.5 per cent. No one statistic or story can capture the breadth of opportunity that is missed when diversity and inclusion is ignored, but this one comes close: Businesses with diverse employment policies – reaching from entry level to corner office – can expect an average 33 per cent increase on profitability when ethnicity, race and gender are diversified. It’s food for thought.

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Local Success Stories

A glance from a prosperous SME: ALEXANDRE J Diversity and inclusion lies at the heart of the Alexandre.J business: Over the past 18 months, the company grew from four to 60, and from three nationalities to 19. Being part of the retail industry, and ain touch with the people of Dubai, we focus our strategy on ensuring that our ambassadors are a reflection of the country’s reality.

Joanna Toigo Regional Brand Manager Alexandre J

Understanding the cultural differences, and adapting our management accordingly, are essential keys for the comfort of our employees, and by consequence the success of the company. Our training programme includes a specific chapter on diversity and inclusion, to ensure our employees have the proper approach with every team member, as well as customers. We educate our staff in the richness of diversity, by teaching them key phrases, habits and jokes from each country through short videos and roleplays. We try to ensure each department of the back office, and each location in the front office, combine a minimum of three nationalities, both genders, new joiners, and experts. We believe that diversity and inclusion is not only a question of gender, nationality or generation, but also of personality and hierarchy level. We strongly encourage all our staff to be leading players in the development of the company by sharing their ideas, and lending their expertise through suggestion boxes and brainstorming, involving senior management alongside sales ambassadors. Last, but not least, part of our incentive programme is to offer luxurious experiences, outside of working hours, and without management present, for staff to build memories together and strengthen their relationships freely.

Local success stories Being the first female Emirati in the UAE to pursue a filmmaking career and also being an entrepreneur, I’m frequently asked if it’s been more difficult for me to succeed, not only as an artist with a firm personality, but also as a committed producer. Art and Business have nothing to do with gender, and although things are changing lately, we are living in a misogynistic world and we must deal with it. For instance, I couldn’t study film because of my gender, but I found a way, and I managed to become who I am today. However, this is not a local phenomenon, this is global and, overall, it’s important not to deny women an education. Sometimes, people tend to say “let’s support her because she’s female” and I don’t like that. It would make more sense to me to be supported because I’m a professional. Now, as a UAE national and a film director, I’m willing to fight equally for my culture and for women empowerment. I am eager to create content that does not just stay here. We are looking at the globe, and now, with technology, the world has become a very small place. So, instead of just narrating my stories to Arabs and my own people, it’s very important to bring those stories to the rest of the world, as opposed to always bringing content from outside. I’m currently working on my first feature-film and I hope it will export abroad the Emirati culture and represent our Nation worldwide.

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Nayla Al Khaja Film Maker-Entrepreneur


Local Success Stories

Insight from KPMG Lower Gulf The United Nations has 193 member countries, and I believe the UAE has residents hailing from most, if not all of them. The incredible cultural diversity is one of the first things you notice when you arrive. It is tempting to call the UAE the new global melting pot, but I think that would be oversimplifying matters. The UAE’s cultural diversity is based on deeply rooted principles peaceful co-existence and tolerance. However, an important aspect is the right to remain different, as long as you abide by the federal laws laid out. So, if it’s a dish, it’s one where each ingredient is largely permitted to stay ‘true’ to its origin. You can see this all over the UAE – the communities, the schools, the festivals, the clothing, the food. From a business perspective, diversity plays a different role at KPMG Lower Gulf. I work with colleagues from 73 different nationalities, many of whom have come to the UAE as adults. Adults bring experience, but also some heavy cultural baggage.

Peter Haugaard Head of People, Performance & Culture KPMG Lower Gulf

We aren’t as easily molded as children, regardless how positive our mind-set is. Our task is to come together as one under the KPMG umbrella – to build teams that bridge all kinds of differences to serve our clients. At KPMG in the UAE, we don’t have an Arab, or a British, or an American, Indian, Chinese, French or German way of leading – we are in the process of defining a new global leadership model based on the principles of the UAE: respect and tolerance.

7 Emirates race for happiness As a global group with people from over 100 nationalities, we understand the importance of our national workforce. Our dedicated ‘Gulfanisation’ team creates specific programmes to attract, develop and retain the best regional young talents. In November 2017, Chalhoub Group, in partnership with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization, shared an innovative and inspiring campaign with the UAE community, intended to attract young UAE nationals while bringing internal teams together through wellness and fun. Enthusiastic volunteers from different business entities and locations ran and cycled for seven days across seven emirates, covering a total distance of 285km. Starting in Fujairah and finishing in Abu Dhabi, they simultaneously delivered seven educational retail awareness workshops for 131 UAE nationals upon arrival at each emirate. The key goal of the campaign was to attract and inspire young Emiratis, and support them in getting the right skills to ensure future professional and personal success. These unique workshops covered an introduction to the modern concepts of retail, guest experience best practices, as well as identifying some essential skills required to succeed in the current dynamic workplace. Future Emirati leaders had a unique opportunity to receive key tips from the talent acquisition team on how to prepare for interviews and assessments. At the end of each workshop, all participants were rewarded with a Chalhoub Retail Academy certificate and a memorable gift. We believe that having a more diverse and inclusive business is essential. We make sure that all our team members are happy, and have continuous access to education through training and coaching. This campaign supports the group’s commitment to the UNGC 17 sustainable development goals, and shows its support to nationalisation. “The ‘race for happiness’ campaign aims to share the Chalhoub Group vision of happiness, and to promote careers in the private sector amongst young UAE nationals. We believe that education and sport are key components to achieve a better work-life balance and the group was thrilled to launch this initiative with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization,” said Patrick Chalhoub, Chalhoub Group’s joint chief executive.

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Explore further

Delphine Grouès Dean of Studies and Pedagogical Innovation, PhD Sciences Po Paris

How french higher education institutions prepare the diversity of talents Sciences Po places diversity at the core of its academic project. Its foundation was the result of a pedagogical innovation, in which civic engagement was a pillar. Present in the content of its courses, in the composition of its faculty, it is also present in its structure. With the objective of developing a vibrant and varied student body, the institution reformed its admission process so as to open up to international students, coming from different cultural and educational backgrounds. Today, more than 140 nationalities are represented at the institution, enriching debate and exchanges. Moreover, through a close-knit partnership system, the admission reform offered the opportunity for French students coming from underprivileged areas to intensively prepare for the admission exam during their last years of school. The institution backed up its diversity policy with a strong scholarship scheme. Around 37 per cent of Sciences Po students are helped financially during their studies.

Sciences Po Paris, a world-class university in the social sciences. Sciences Po is an international research university, both selective and open onto the world, ranking among the finest institutions in the fields of humanities and social sciences. A student body unique in terms of excellence and multiculturalism Sciences Po recruits its students from among the finest candidates in France and abroad. Each year, Sciences Po welcomes 13,000 students, with 47 % of its student body made up of international students representing 150 nationalities. The multiculturalism and academic excellence of our student community contribute greatly to enhancing Sciences Po's attractiveness on the world stage. sciencespo.fr

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The notion of inclusiveness is not only a result of Sciences Po’s view on education, but it is also at the origin of its strategy. It finds a striking echo in active teaching methods that encourage project-based pedagogy, promote team work and foster collective intelligence. Students are guided in order to learn how to adapt to different environments, to organise their teams based on the strong points of each individual, to understand that diversity enriches analysis and views, and supports the originality of thoughts and solutions. Soft skills such as empathy and tolerance are developed together with hard skills, and are underlined as fundamental elements in the education of future decision makers. Furthermore, all undergraduate students follow the Civic Learning Programme, consisting in leading and implementing a personal project with an impact on society. Sciences Po also offers workshops for young women so as to support their empowerment and their impact in a group. Diversity is not considered as a mere statistic in Sciences Po. It is the end of an educative line that has driven the institution since its creation. Inclusivity enriches perspectives, enlightens decisions, and drives the citizens of tomorrow towards the possibility of making a difference for the common good.


Explore further

Marie-Hélène Straus Chief Officer, Consumer & Innovation Strategies, Chalhoub Group President of “Tchendukua – Ici et Ailleurs”

Where to find “Le choix du vivant” -Tchendukua.com (all benefits donated to Kogis communities). -FNAC | Cultura.com | Amazon

Integration of the difference: a life Trade Mark As an NLP certified coach, Marie-Hélène Straus always invests in human sustainable development, and recently wrote a book emphasising the nine managerial principles aligned with their living principles (edition: “Les Liens qui liberent,” Paris). Heavily engaged in humanitarian work, she is a member of several associations and president of “Tchendukua – Ici et Ailleurs,” an NGO fighting to give back land to endangered groups, and protecting biodiversity. Scientists are not yet clear about what living really means, but they all agree on what life encompasses: Energy, communication and memory. The one thing that is now crystal clear for all is: The creation of life on earth is a result of two cells that have decided to cooperate together, by agreeing to include each other in a common project, to generate something bigger than themselves. The scientific name of this proven cooperation is endosymbiosis. Two cells that have decided to mix their differences to create something new.

Tchendukua.com

From a physics point of view, this has been obvious since the famous apple of Sir Isaac Newton. Life is movement. Death is when movement stops. But the question is, how are movements created? The creation of movement is due to the encounter of two different elements. For example, when a body, element, or organism is touched by something similar which disturbs, questions, or shakes its beliefs or its perceptions. We need to learn this lesson: Including what is different is a given, for those who understand what being alive means. We must also learn that inclusion is the base that creates the energy of life, and accepting differences is the basis of creating movement. Tchendukua communities, Sierra Nevada Santa Marta, Columbia

Is it not what any company needs to develop their business, to find new ideas, and to face market evolutions?

Undoubtedly, when we start thinking about the rules of life, inclusion is not a new trend to deploy, a new rule to implement, a new mindset to adopt. Inclusion is simply the key to staying alive for anyone: Any organism, any human being, or any company. Bibliography McKinsey, Delivering through diversity | January 2018 McKinsey, Why diversity matters | January 2015 The Boston Consulting Group, How organizations in the Middle East can stretch their diversity spend | September 2017

Movie WOMAN | Yann Arthus-Bertrand Number One | Tonie Marshall

Web resources Haut Conseil à l’Égalité entre les femmes et les hommes (HCE), The High Council for Gender Equality’s (HCE) | http://www.haut-conseil-egalite.gouv.fr International Labour Organization | www.ilo.org AGEFIPH (Association de gestion du fonds pour l’insertion des personnes handicapees) | www.agefiph.fr World Heath Organization | www.who.int Catalyst research | www.catalyst.org World Economic Forum | www.weforum.org GTCI 2018 theme unveil: Diversity for Competitiveness | The Adecco Group & INSEAD

FBC Insights I 39


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Looking Back

FIRST EMIRATI-FRENCH BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT SUMMIT The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of the Government of Dubai and the French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates (FBC) have organized last September the first "Emirati - French business engagement summit" for Investment, Public Private Partnerships, Mobility and Innovation. The one day summit included a plenary session followed by five parallel workshops focusing on Investment, Collaboration and PPPs under the following urban mobility topics:

1- Transportation Infrastructure Projects 2- First and Last Mile Solutions Maintenance 3- Operations and Maintenance 4- Passengers Experience 5- Transit Oriented Development Projects

200 C-suite level, Directors and Senior Managers from the Emirati and the French public and private sectors have attended the Summit. Multi-National Companies (MNC), SMEs, start-ups and financial institutions operating within the urban mobility industry as well as both Governments Representatives also attended the event. HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), has opened the Emirati-France Business Summit held by the RTA in collaboration with the French Business Council. The event, which has attracted the participation of 63 Emirati and French entities, aimed to boost the PPP, nurture an investment climate conducive to the development of commercial cooperation between the RTA and the French business community in the UAE, and strengthen the bilateral business relationships. HE Ludovic Pouille - French Ambassador to the UAE commended the superb relationships and the existing cooperation between the UAE and France in various fields. “The Emirati-France Business Engagement Summit contributes to enhancing the communication and exchange of practices in current and future projects. Dubai remains a privileged destination for our companies wishing to reach a wide range of international markets, due to a common vision and openness to sustainable development, innovation and creative finance schemes,� sic.

H.E. Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman and Executive Director of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA)

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Looking Back

FIRST UAE - FRANCE ECONOMIC FORUM The first UAE-FRANCE Economic Forum has been held on Thursday, 9th November 2017, in Zayed University in Dubai. This event has been organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the French Business Council Dubai and the French Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Around 400 representatives of French and Emirati companies participated to the forum. This high-level Forum aimed to bolster bilateral economic relationship between France and the UAE. The event was structured with 3 different panels focused on the main pillars of the Dubai Expo 2020: "Opportunity", "Mobility" and "Sustainability". High-level industry experts, including Fetchr, DP WORLD, RTA, JC Decaux, RATP DEV, DEWA, Masdar, EDF and Engie Group, shared knowledge and insights, and discussed prospects for future cooperation in these areas between UAE and France. During the event, H.E. Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Benjamin Griveaux, State Secretary to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, H.E. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chaiman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, H.E. Reem Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 and H.E. Emmanuel Macron, President of France have underlined the importance and potential UAE and France have to work together. During the day, several strategic partnerships have been signed.

The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also signed a MOU with the French Chamber of Commerce Paris Ile-de-France with the support of the French Business Council Dubai aiming to enhance cooperation between the two organizations especially in the fields of entrepreneurship, innovation and economic exchange. H.E. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, closed this first UAE-France Economic Forum by reaffirming France commitment to strengthen the cooperation with the UAE, highlighting the importance of creating connections and bridges between our two countries.

FBC Insights I 43


Looking Back / Looking Forward

2017 / 2018 HIGHLIGHTS

COUNTRY MISSION- KENYA

2017 WORKING TOGETHER FORUM

Following the request of its members, the French Business Council has led in Feb. 2018, in partnership with Dubai Chamber, a new business delegation in Kenya this time. The objective of such mission is to give an overview of the local business environment through meeting with the local French authorities and public institutions, site visits and networking dinners, thanks to the support of our local partners. The participants had also an insight of their potential and opportunities via customized and individual B2B meeting.

In September 2017 the French Business Council organized the 2nd Edition of the “Forum Working Together by FBC”. Its goals were to reinforce business links between FBC Small & Medium-sized Enterprises and FBC large groups established in Dubai. This session brought together 21 MNCs companies (AccorHotels, Air Liquide, AXA, Babilou, Chalhoub, Emirates Airline, FedEx, JCDecaux, Renault, Sodexo, Total, Vallourec), 38 SMEs entities and some French and Local Authorities for a total of 280 hosted B2B meetings followed by a networking luncheon.

2018 LOOKING FORWARD Each business trip is tailored-made around specific business opportunities, relevant to our members. Delegates will be invited to join the Trade Mission based on their strategic growth objectives and nature of business. The programme is designed to match these objectives with business opportunities existing in the targeted market via the introduction to key industry decision-makers and well-placed government officials.

COUNTRY CONFERENCE - PAKISTAN

In March 2018, the French Business Council Dubai and Northern Emirates organized a conference about Pakistan with the exceptional presence of HE Marc Barety, French Ambassador in Pakistan, to present the recent political situation of the country and the bilateral relations between France and Pakistan. M. Philippe Fouet, the Head of the economic department of the French Embassy in Pakistan, described the current economic situation of Pakistan and the business opportunities the country is offering.

After having organized successful trade missions (Iraqi Kurdistan, Iran, Kenya…), the French Business Council will bolster this program, with Kenya or Pakistan as next up-coming destination.

The French Business Council Dubai and Northern Emirates will organize in Dubai a conference to discuss the recent evolution of the country and upcoming projects and business opportunities, with the exceptional presence of HE Francois Gouyette, French Ambassador to KSA.

2ND EDITION OF BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT SUMMIT WITH RTA The French Business Council in collaboration with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), hosted the “First Emirati-French business Engagement Summit” on September 25, 2017 as part of efforts to create an environment conducive to growth of trade and investment between the two sides. More than 200 CEOs and C Level participants from the public and private sectors in Dubai and France attended the summit. A second edition will take place end of 2018 to go deeper into the topic and continue to create business opportunities in the field of transportation infrastructure. For more information about our upcoming events: fbc@fbcdubai.com

44 I FBC Insights

3RD EDITION OF THE WORKING TOGETHER Start-ups & SMEs: reinforce your business, meet major corporations! “Working together Forum” is one of the FBC’s signature events, that aims to strengthen business links between SMEs and major corporations. The objective of this half-day event will be to enable companies to find and connect with targeted business partners and boost their networking opportunities through a series of 20-minute B2B meetings followed by a networking luncheon.


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Business Services

FBC BUSINESS SERVICES Our business consulting department offers a wide range of services to support the different stages of company development in the United Arab Emirates.

From market information to company set-up, benefit from bespoke business services ! "JOURNEES PAYS" IN FRANCE In order to promote business and investment opportunities in the UAE, the FBC team regularly meets with SMEs in France during series of B2B meetings and workshops organized by the framework of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. UAE MARKET WORKSHOPS The business support team offers workshops on specific sectors or webinars in the following areas : Healthcare, Construction, Retail, F&B, Sustainable Development, and New Technologies. ASSESSING THE POTENTIAL OF A PROJECT The potential of a project and/or a product is tested on a sample of prospects, and local competition is analyzed. BUSINESS-PROSPECTING MISSIONS This service delivers market studies and business-matching meetings with potential partners. After validation of the business potential, a customized 3-to-4-day program of business meetings is organized. COMMERCIAL FOLLOW-UP The business support team offers assistance to companies without a UAE branch in pursuing their commercial development in the United Arab Emirates. This is achieved by actively maintaining a close relationship with the identified prospects and partners for up to 6 months. COMPANY SET-UP / START-UP CONSULTANCY Based on a company's specifications, the FBC organizes a meeting to answer potential questions and connects the companies with FBC members able to provide legal and logistical support during start-up process. BUSINESS CENTERS The business center in Oud Metha is a business incubator with 14 offices available for rent and a coaching service for "Volontariat International en Entreprise" (VIE) employees, providing customized support during the first few months of their employment. NEW! The FBC is delighted to announce its new Dubai Business Centre: Hello France Business Center by FBC ! Our tailor-made turnkey solution to set-up your business in the UAE, is welcoming you in Dubai Silicon Oasis. Hello France is offering flexible and adapted solutions to French companies seeking to establish and develop their business in the Middle East. Dubai Silicon Oasis is a fast growing Dubai Free Zone considered to be one of the most efficient in terms of infrastructure and services. RECRUITMENT SERVICE Since 2005, the FBC recruitment service has been providing HR services to companies including recruitment, consulting, career workshop and more. FOREIGN COUNTRY MISSIONS The business support team provides market discovery and trade missions for companies interested in finding out more about new countries and developing their business there. We have already delivered several missions in Iraq, Kurdistan and Iran. FRENCH BUSINESS COUNCIL NETWORK Meet your peers, and develop your business.

FBC Insights I 47


Member Services

BECOME A MEMBER! The FBC Dubai & Northern Emirates has grown significantly over the past years to reach a total of 800 members representing 400+ French and local companies. The FBC is the largest French Chamber of Commerce in the middle east and ranking #10 worldwide.

SECTORIAL COMMITTEES

The French Business Council has developed several committees whose objectives are to be an information source to share best practices and a networking platform for professionals. From very specific subjects to large audience topics, the committees deliver key information on doing business in Dubai and in the Middle East.

CLUBS L.E. Club Working Group The ‘Leadership Entrepreneurship Club’ brings together CEOs and General Managers of around 25 of the largest French groups in the Emirates. The group meets on a monthly basis to identify synergies within the regional markets, and to develop a joint approach to address the largest local or regional projects.

CSO CLUB Every month, the CSO Club meets to analyze and discuss threats and to consider the risks that could affect the companies located in the GCC countries but also in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

SYNERGY by FBC gathers small and medium enterprises' representatives and entrepreneurs operating in Dubai and Northern Emirates in all business sectors.

WORKING GROUPS The CFO's Working Group provides Chief Financial Officers with an opportunity to exchange freely on common topics and get access to current information that is most relevant to their daily functions.

The HR Working Group aims to gather HR employees to go through HR related topics, and get access to relevant and useful information. The objective is to share on HR perspectives and best-practices, but also have feedbacks from other HR Directors. The HR Working Group also organizes HR Breakfast Talks

48 I FBC Insights

The French Business Council supports the first Middle East Diversity & Inclusiveness Think Tank. This platform brings together the HR community, D&I experts and CSR specialists from more than 25 multinationals and 4 industries, who are passionate about D&I. The Think Tank gives these professionals an opportunity to brainstorm ideas and learn from each other's experience. It also aims to conduct independent research which will provide innovative, practical recommendations to advance the regional D&I journey. The MarCom Working Group provides Marketing and Communication Managers with an opportunity to exchange freely on common topics and get access to current information relevant to their daily functions.


Member Services

YOUR BENEFITS GROW YOUR NETWORK AND SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE The Chamber organizes 100+ events per year, the best way for our 780 members to learn, to stay up to date and to develop their network. Events can be organized with other Business Councils as well as with industry peers and are varied: conferences, networking events, 7 sectorial committees, 4 working groups, 3 clubs, awards, forum, gala...

INCREASE YOUR EXPOSURE Our corporate members enjoy exposure through various media: website (5,000 hits per month), newsletter (sent to 9,000 contacts), mobile app, Directory, social media......

DEVELOP BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES The Chamber offers a wide range of services including market studies, business center facilities, recruitment expert services and much more. Members can also take advantage of first class offers in the UAE and abroad for their companies and employees...

BENEFIT FROM OUR MEMBER-EXCLUSIVE OFFERS AND PREFERENTIAL RATES ON FBC SERVICES For you and the entire staff of your company, benefit from our privilege members offers and programs. In addition, enjoy preferential rates on our FBC consultancy services (recruitment, business services, and events).

FBC Insights I 49


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You manage French employees and look after their social protection. How do you ensure that French expatriate employees enjoy the same social security benefits as those living in France?

La Caisse des Français de l'Etranger (CFE): An extension of French social security abroad La Caisse des Français de l'Etranger (CFE) is a social security fund, created specially for French expatriates. Voluntary membership of CFE allows French citizens living abroad to benefit from the same social protection abroad as they would in France. Participating in CFE ensures continuity with the French social security system, both at the start, and the end, of a French national’s time abroad. It also allows for the payment of health costs during temporary stays in France. CFE offers the same level of social security as in France, regardless of the individual’s situation during their expatriation, and regardless of the country of residence. It is, without exclusion, related to the nature of the situation, such as a natural disaster, the outbreak of war, or an attack. As of 2018, nearly 200,000 people are covered by CFE worldwide. A high speed modernization In order to better meet the needs of its customers, CFE has undertaken numerous projects to simplify its procedures, make more competitive offers adapted to today’s expatriates, and improve its customer service. The retroactive payment of contributions in the absence of continuity with a French health insurance scheme has been totally cancelled, in order to limit any additional costs. This also helps to facilitate the integration of expatriate employees whose membership to CFE is established more than three months after their departure from France. At the beginning of 2018, a reduction in rates was made for certain categories of companies, based on the guarantees they subscribed to for their employees. A development over time A new offer launched in January 2018, named FrancExpat Santé, addressed those French citizens who have a system of mandatory health coverage in their country of residence. The programme covers care costs in France, according to the reimbursement rates of French Social Security. This new offer allows French people abroad to consult their doctor during their stay in France, and to plan for a hospitalisation or childbirth. Finally, there are other innovative projects planned for the coming months, such as an initiative permitting members of CFE to keep their Carte Vitale, the name of France’s national healthcare insurance card, thus allowing them to benefit from third-party payment for their care in France.


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FBC Insights "Diversity & Inclusion means Business !" - Spring 2018 - Issue#1 -  

The French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates is launching its new magazine. This first Edition is focusing on "Diversity & Inclusio...

FBC Insights "Diversity & Inclusion means Business !" - Spring 2018 - Issue#1 -  

The French Business Council Dubai & Northern Emirates is launching its new magazine. This first Edition is focusing on "Diversity & Inclusio...

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