“In just 3 months we’ve made a giant leap forward strengthening, and acting upon, our commitment to creating a culture of inclusion & diversity at DP World MEA with 99% of the leaders stating the initiative will drive positive change across the organization. And this is only the beginning.”
Omar Sharif Al Marzooqi, Director of People Department MEA Region, DP World
DP World is a multinational logistics business based in the United Arab Emirates. They’re one of the biggest employers in the UAE and have over 50,000 employees in 103 countries. Operating at a global scale through its ports, terminals, parks and economic zones, DP World ensures that supply chains run smoothly. They’re the engine behind our seamless shopping experiences and the problem solvers who make sure consumer demands are met, like making avocados readily available in countries like the US where appetite has driven growth by over 400%.
Leaders in the business already had a good grasp of gender diversity but were keen to expand their understanding of diversity and inclusion more broadly. As a diverse organization, DP World wanted to make sure they were helping their diverse workforce to thrive by helping everyone practice inclusive behaviors every day.
Hibo Abdillahi, DP World’s Senior Manager, Organization Development & Sustainability, was looking for a way to help leaders understand how to operate inclusively first.
Hibo knew it was vital to embed inclusion into everything leaders did and to get their buy in, before thinking about rolling out to her wider workforce. She knew that it was essential for leaders to come together to create a dialogue around inclusion and begin to drive action forward together.
The challenge for DP World was that with a dispersed workforce, spread across 14 countries, they had to find a way to get everyone on the same page in a digital setting. With 100+ leaders in different countries, face-to-face training didn’t feel like a scalable option. Plus, Hibo wanted to find a way to help people form an inclusion habit and maintain momentum with ongoing conversations about inclusion, which F2F training on its own couldn’t do anyway.
After doing some research into digital inclusion solutions, Hibo chose to partner with Hive Learning. In contrast to other solutions where learners were expected to go through content independently with little interaction with their colleagues, Hive Learning’s platform was designed for cohort-based peer-to-peer learning, designed to spark conversations at every turn.
Hibo wanted to get all DP World leaders on the inclusion journey. This meant connecting a leadership team that is spread across 14 countries and 9 business units in Africa and the Middle East. Thanks to Hive Learning’s capability on smartphones, tablets and desktops, she was able to create a single digital space where these time-poor leaders could come together as a community at a time that suited them.
In just three months, DP World’s leaders went through their diversity and inclusion program as a group. They shared their reflections and moments of enlightenment, and discussed the challenges and victories they were unlocking as they went about practicing new inclusive behaviors. There were over 7,000 learning interactions in the pilot, with learners revisiting bite-size content and tuning into conversations with their peers on a weekly basis.
Because of Hive Learning’s ability to track and report on key metrics, DP World was able to gain insight into the most important topics for their leaders and spot knowledge gaps where their people needed more support. Hive Learning’s Culture Acceleration team worked closely with DP World to provide deep insights into their culture, and help them design their own peer learning playbook to build comfort with sharing quickly.
Leaders were encouraged to live peer learning on and offline. They were given Workouts, Hive Learning’s interactive group sessions, designed to help learners form a deeper connection with learning material, build psychological safety, and foster real inclusion within teams.
Combining digital learning with purposeful conversation and live group-based activity helped bridge the gap between learning and doing. This gave DP World learners a chance to practice putting new ideas into action, created accountability, and gave them the encouragement to support each other in making progress
People shared their reflections as comments and posts, showing vulnerability and creating lots of opportunities for peers to learn from one another. In one example, a leader shared their hesitation in talking about a specific element of diversity. Within two days, leaders from three other countries shared their thoughts, preferences and own challenges, helping them all move forward together.
DP World’s initial leadership program with Hive Learning helped them kickstart their journey into embedding inclusion as a daily routine for their leaders.
The plan to engage leaders early on worked. Before the Hive Learning program ended, DP World had requests to keep the platform live by leaders who were keen to revisit content and learn more. Learners saw the benefit of both learning and collaborating, with 92% of learners giving the peer learning platform a 4* rating and 100% agreeing that Inclusion Works gave them strategies to be more inclusive.
After just three months working with Hive Learning, DP World uncovered an appetite for diversity and inclusion — 100% of leaders said they would like to be involved in a wider rollout of Inclusion Works. It also gave DP World the opportunity to figure out what their leaders needed going forward with the knowledge that 100% of leaders were also interested in Hive Learning’s programs on wellbeing and leadership.
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