Over 200 business leaders, senior HR practitioners and people professionals gathered at the CIPD Middle East People Conference & Awards, held at the Grosvenor House in Dubai on April 10-11. Centred around the theme of “HR now and in the future: Leading the change”, the two-day event witnessed a plethora of discussions across workplace diversity, wellbeing at work, organisation design and the future of learning. 

The conference concluded with the CIPD Middle East People Awards, which honoured individuals, teams and organisations for their commitment to promoting positive work cultures and best practices. Judged anonymously by an independent panel of HR professionals from across the region and beyond, the Awards recognised outstanding achievements across eight categories. 

CIPD ME Award Winners 

The awards were handed by Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of the CIPD and Louise Fisher, Chair of the CIPD, before a full audience at the Grosvenor House on 11 April 2019. 

Nouf A. Al Juaid, Chief HR Officer at Saudi Rotorcraft Support Company, took home the HR Rising Star of the Year Award – the only category singling out an individual. Ms. Al Juaidi’s contribution and leadership across several areas of the business align with the core values of the CIPD and demonstrate high potential. “As the first Saudi woman to take on this role within the aerospace industry in the Kingdom, she is also a role model for many young women across the nation and beyond”, adds Sarah Davis, Head of Partnerships at the CIPD and one of the Award judges. 

Abu Dhabi Police won the Award for the “Best Diversity & Inclusion Initiative” thanks to its 360-degree approach to women’s inclusion. In a male-dominated environment, the winning programme increased female representation by 5% between 2016 and 2018 across decision-making positions and carried out work to change the perception of women within the police forces. 

ADNOC was awarded in the ‘Best Learning & Development Programme’, a category which received over 25 entries – proof that the region is increasingly focusing on upskilling its workforce for the future world of work. Competing with Commercial Bank of Dubai, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, WSP, McDermott and AFAQ Leadership in the final round, ADNOC unanimously won. “ADNOC’s L&D programme is truly innovative. The latest learning methods and thinking have been applied to the Learning Academies. With a vast breadth of projects and employees involved, the ROI is impressive”, comments Gill White, Director of Business and Markets Development at the CIPD and one of the Awards judges. 

One of the run-away winners of the ceremony was RAKBANK, which managed to secure three organisational awards for its strides in modernising the HR and L&D functions. The UAE bank ranked as a runner up in two categories, for its innovative recruitment and talent management strategy and for its digital initiative in HR. But the big win of the night came as they took home the “HR Team of the Year” Award – the most highly anticipated category.   

Ramy Bayyour, General Manager for the Middle East at CIPD, summarised: “For years, our members and partners in the region have asked us to bring our world-renowned awards to the Middle East to recognise the great strides they are making in championing better work and working lives. With over 80 entries from some of the region’s most innovative employers and people functions, the response to our inaugural edition has been overwhelming. This is a clear indication of the need for a platform that helps organisations benchmark their HR and people development practices against international standards.”

Nominations for the CIPD Middle East People Awards 2020 open in September 2019. Details and the full list of winners can be found on www.cipdconference.com

Full list of winners: 

HR Rising Star of the Year

  • Winner: Nouf A. Al Juaid, Saudi Rotorcraft Support Company 
  • Highly commended entry: Katie O’Flynn, Taaleem 

Best Digital Initiative in HR and L&D:

  • Winner: Teleperformance DIBS 
  • Highly commended entry: RAKBANK

Best Health & Wellbeing Programme

  • Winner: WSP
  • Highly commended entry: McDermott 

Best Recruitment and Talent Management Strategy

  • Winner: Bahri 
  • Highly commended entry: RAKBANK 

Best Employee Engagement Initiative

  • Winner: Kerzner International 
  • Highly commended entry: Bahrain Credit 

Best Diversity & Inclusion:

  • Winner: Abu Dhabi Police 
  • Highly commended entry: Expo 2020 

Best Learning & Development Programme

  • Winner: ADNOC
  • Highly commended entries: WSP, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi 

HR / L&D Team of the Year

  • Winner: RAKBANK 
  • Highly commended entries: Jumeirah Beach Hotel; Dubai Police 

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About the CIPD

At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.