Launch of the first corporate culture consulting firm in the Middle East in the United Arab Emirates


DUBAI: Together, the first such consultancy dedicated to workplace culture, was launched in the Middle East, with an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Founded by local entrepreneurs Lucy and Camilla d’Abo, who created the independent communications agency DABO & CO, which was later acquired by Edelman, the new company aims to inspire brands to focus on corporate culture. , bringing together leaders and employees to achieve an efficient workforce goal.

Its services include strategic planning, cultural transformation, internal communications, values ​​and behaviors, people development and change management for future purposes.

Lucy d’Abo, who has been providing professional advisory services to clients and businesses in the Middle East, Africa and Europe since 1998, will lead the company as CEO.

John Hague, an expert in employee learning, development and engagement, joins us as Director of Human Resources and Transformation. Hague brings with him over 15 years of experience in the United Arab Emirates and Great Britain, delivering multi-faceted programs at brands such as The Entertainer, Walmart, Waitrose and John Lewis Partnership.

The team is supported by non-executive directors Camilla d’Abo, who most recently served as Managing Director for Dubai at APCO Worldwide, and Chris Shaw, who joins us after nine years with The Entertainer.

The global workplace and its culture has been transformed, with many people working from home during the pandemic. As restrictions began to ease, some organizations encouraged employees to return to the office, while others adopted a hybrid work model. At a time when the future of work remains unpredictable, culture is more important than ever.

A Deloitte survey identified culture as one of six themes that top management should pay attention to, with 69% of executives saying they believe corporate culture will have an extremely big impact on their organization’s ability to achieve its mission and vision.

Culture is as important to employees as it is to leaders. A study by Workhuman, a software company for employee management and reward systems, found that job seekers said they wanted a better culture among their top five reasons to seek.

Arab News spoke with Lucy d’Abo to learn more about the needs and challenges of the market and how together is aiming to close the gaps.

In your opinion, what is the demand for this type of advice in the region?

Based on our experience in this sector, we have seen a significant increase in requests for cultivation consultancy in recent years.

Over the past 12 months, we have tested our concept and consulted with clients who have thousands of employees around the world to test our theories. The positive feedback and increasing number of inquiries led us to create a regional consultancy firm dedicated to the workplace.

The need is obvious, but currently resources are limited to help businesses solve this problem in the Middle East. To date, we have talked about the subject of workplace culture, but little action. Now, with the launch of Together, there is a consulting firm that provides the services needed to help companies move from discussing workplace culture to implementing it.

As the Middle East continues to thrive and markets like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates take strides forward, we believe there is an opportunity for the region to be a leader in adopting best practices.

What are the challenges you expect?

Although recent studies prove that investing in culture makes good business sense, many organizations in the Middle East are struggling to change their thinking.

Global statistics indicate a radical change in the workplace ecosystem: Forbes magazine ranks culture among its top three trends Future of Work 2021. At the same time, according to the Microsoft Work Trend Index 2021, more than 40% of the workforce Global Worker plans to leave their employer this year.

The question is, how can companies in the Middle East lead a successful organization into the new age of work? The main corporate culture challenges faced by CEOs and executives are:

Perception: Historically, the perception has been that workplace culture is soft and soft and does not lead to business results. However, this is no longer the case. Recent statistics from Forbes indicate that culture-rich companies have seen their sales increase fourfold.

Hybrid work: Companies that lacked a strong culture were unable to maintain a sense of oneness when COVID-19 forced people to go their separate ways. This is a critical time for companies to reconsider their approach and protect themselves for the future.

Investment: One of the biggest challenges has been that, traditionally, many companies are reluctant to invest in workplace culture for the long term, as little emphasis has been placed on measuring results. We advocate for the measurement and use of data not only to assess existing culture, but also to use our global and proprietary tools to establish strategic roadmaps for future ROI.

What impact has the pandemic had on workplace culture, with many companies moving to hybrid work-from-home / office models?

Globally, we are witnessing one of the greatest transformations in corporate culture since the industrial revolution. For many, COVID-19 has been a life event that precipitated self-reflection on job satisfaction.

Widespread self-reflection coupled with an increased ability to work from anywhere has led to the most significant challenge to workplace culture in decades.

This global change, accelerated by COVID-19, has put workplace culture high on the agenda due to three key factors:

The first is COVID-19. Organizations with strong and effective cultures have demonstrated resilience, innovation and loyalty in the face of adversity, and those that do not have floundered and continue to be challenged.

Then there is the global war for talent. Global trends point to the phenomenon of the “big resignation” (a term referring to the widespread tendency of people to quit their jobs during the pandemic). This puts considerable pressure on employers who now face productivity and engagement issues. As the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia in particular, wants to attract the world’s best talent to live and work in its markets, employees are no longer willing to accept roles that do not embrace future thinking in terms of hybrid work and positive work culture.

The last factor is the goal. After 18 months of reflecting and evaluating their personal values ​​and alignment with the organization they work in, employees around the world are rethinking what they expect from their jobs and looking for companies with a culture and values. strong that match theirs.

What are the key elements of a healthy work culture that any business in any industry should have?

When properly aligned with personal values, motivations, and needs, culture can release tremendous amounts of energy toward a common goal and boost an organization’s ability to deliver. Engaged employees inspire performance, and people’s performance drives business performance.

We believe that workplace culture is a business superpower and that with it, businesses can benefit from an engaged, efficient and aligned workforce that drives consistent business success.

A culture of superpower is created with the perfect blend of ingredients which include the following:

  • Progressive leadership, open to change and investing in people
  • A high-performance team that meets and exceeds objectives and delivers exceptional results
  • An aligned and engaged workforce that lives the business purpose
  • A clear strategy with articulated values ​​and behaviors,
  • Concern for people, integrity, ethics and cultural sensitivity
  • Clear communication, active listening and rewarding recognition at all levels
  • Adopt global strategies, best practices and principles.

Tell us about the culture of your new business, together.

Relationships are at the heart of the whole. We see ourselves as a partner and a catalyst for change through culture.

We exist for both the progressive leader and the ordinary worker because we know that one doesn’t work without the other. We keep people at the heart of what we do. We inspire transformational change and harness the power of people to put it into practice.

We apply our knowledge and intuition to support leaders and teams, define and locate their purpose, vision, values, culture and motivation.

We believe great culture is possible – if you do it together.


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