Facilities Management Middle East
RAISING THE BAR
Expo 2020 has come up with new standards that raises the bar in FM welfare, writes Tarek Nizameddin, senior executive director at Ejadah
The decision of hosting Expo 2020 meant, “investing in a resilient, long-term future for the UAE economy. However, what impact would it have on the FM industry? The low hanging fruit is the increase in revenue from the services that the FM sector is extending to the communities and facilities that are catering to Expo 2020 directly and indirectly. To me, on the other hand, there is another element that I consider will be a game changer for the FM industry and is related to employee welfare standards. Expo 2020 is a unique opportunity for key stakeholders to collaborate and contribute to creating a positive impact on the welfare of workers.
UAE has undoubtedly made great strides in implementing high standards in blue collar resources management with the implementation of minimum acceptable standards for staff accommodation and wage protection system, amongst others. Expo 2020, however, came with new standards that raised the bar by stipulating strict requirements for any individual working on Expo 2020 premises.
The Expo 2020 welfare program is based on three core values of Care, Respect and Pride, alongside the six pillars of strategy: Leadership, Communication, Competence, Engagement, Recognition, and Continued Improvement.
Expo 2020 has also set a list of principles, which are in line with the UAE labour law, that each and every company working at Expo 2020 must comply with.
These principles focus on ensuring fairness in the recruitment mechanism, making certain that employees understand the terms and conditions of work, as well as guaranteeing a just and nondiscriminatory treatment of employees. The principles, additionally, focus on protecting and preserving the dignity of
employees and have zero tolerance for harassment or abuse of any kind. They respect the employees’ right to keep their personal documents, require the payment of employees' wages and benefits on time and in full, guarantee a safe and healthy work environment and provide access to grievance and remediation mechanisms.
Moreover, Expo 2020 established standards for the facilities and services provided to the personnel working on Expo 2020 premises. These standards detail the minimum requirements in the areas of staff accommodation, transportation, and catering, amongst others.
Expo 2020 also applies a strong audit and compliance programme such that all contractors invited to tender undergo audits and inspection. Contracts were awarded to companies who have demonstrated their ability to commit to the set standards.
In conclusion, I believe that the high criteria imposed by Expo 2020 organisers will constitute a pivotal point in manpower management, as they have identified areas for improvement that large facilities management clients are expected to follow and include in their future tenders, which will ultimately manifest positively in terms of the level and quality of services provided. Human resources are nothing less than the backbone of our sector, and we should always keep in mind the beautiful quotation of Richard Branson: “Clients do not come first…. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.”
EXPO 2020 IS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR KEY STAKEHOLDERS TO COLLABORATE AND CONTRIBUTE TO CREATING A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE WELFARE OF WORKERS.