Al Naboodah Group Enterprises rose from humble beginnings in the late 1950s, when the vision of two brothers created what is today one of the most respected family conglomerates in the UAE employing over 16,000 people. Their mission is to build on the core strengths in their portfolio and combine this with intelligent diversification to achieve strong and sustainable profitable growth. Sustainability and quality customer service run through the veins of everything they do, supporting their vision to be an employer and business partner of choice, both in the UAE and further afield. However, they recognise that they can only be as good as the people they employ, which is why they are so committed to making Al Naboodah Group Enterprises a great place to work.

Al Naboodah Group Enterprises has a strong imperative to implement a robust Emiratisation strategy, in particular looking at how women are developed and promoted across the group. Currently the ratio of women is low and there are ambitious targets to increase this.

The board is highly supportive of the initiative and agreed to a variety of mechanisms to roll out the Emiratisation Strategy, including employing an Emiratisation Manager, and engaging Emerge to deliver a range of development interventions for women. They also set up a women’s network with breakfast meetings for the women and encouraged the ladies to participate in mentoring.

The commitment of Al Naboodah Group Enterprises to developing all of their staff and providing a great working environment has reaped great results. As well as continuing to meet business objectives, the Group was recently named the UAE’s happiest working environment for 2017 at the inaugural happiness awards, hosted by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation in Abu Dhabi.

What did the Women’s Development Programme involve?
The programme was designed so that it would support women at all levels – suitable for senior members of staff, as well as more junior females. It was very important that women knew how to use their strengths to the best of their advantage, taking control of their behaviour and career but without feeling they needed to compete with the male population. The programme itself had some clear overarching objectives to ensure that at the end of the intervention, participants were able to:

• Gain clarity on life aspirations and success factors, identifying strengths and how to develop them
• Understand how to present themselves more powerfully and professionally
• Develop key techniques for building confidence in any situation
• Manage conversations to ensure that messages are clear and assertive
• Develop an action plan to take charge of their life

This was delivered by helping the women to realise their true potential by looking at their goals and aspirations and how to achieve them. The groups were introduced to a Strengths exercise – focusing on what the delegates were uniquely good at and encouraging them to focus on these strengths as opposed to obsessing about their weaknesses. We also looked at increasing motivation and resilience by enhancing strengths. The group also looked in depth at beliefs and self-esteem and how to empower themselves by challenging any self-limiting beliefs. This led into a section on assertiveness in action and how to get your point across with impact. The group had some great discussions on ‘effortless influencing’ and how to build effective networks to achieve results and finally examined whether their life was by ‘design’ or by ‘accident’ to ensure they were fully taking charge of their career to make things happen.

The programme involved a foundation day and six optional half day modules (although the response was so positive that delegates at Al Naboodah decided to attend all modules). The following modules built upon the subjects on the initial foundation day in more depth and included intensive practice, discussion and feedback from each other and the facilitator.