Sheikh Dr Kahlan bin Nabhan Al Kharusi, the Assistant Grand Mufti of Oman, has visited Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) for an engagement on diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace.
The Company has long been a beacon for equal opportunity, both in the oil and gas industry and in the region, with around 8,800 staff drawn from more than 70 nationalities. Almost 1,000 are female, and four women sit on PDO’s Managing Director’s Committee.
It is currently running an awareness-raising D&I campaign across its operations to embed best practice and promote its corporate ethos as a business free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.
The engagement event was staged to highlight the importance of PDO staff and contractors working together in a tolerant, harmonious environment, regardless of gender, age, religion and nationality.
Sheikh Dr Kahlan delivered a talk lasting more than an hour in which he focused on the need for tolerance, engagement, fairness and justice, saying: “We all belong to the same family. We are all human beings. We are all mankind. We are all equal.”
More than 150 staff packed a conference room for his address and thousands more tuned in as it was transmittedon a large TV screen in the atrium of PDO’s headquarters building and live-streamed to work computers.
Sheikh Dr Kahlan said he was “really impressed” by what he had heard about PDO’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and added: “I think PDO has the potential to set a good example to other workplaces in the industry and elsewhere on how to engage and be different in terms of D&I.
“There should be more programmes and activities to inspire others in engagement and inclusion and to set good examples of practical steps that can be implemented elsewhere.”
PDO People and Change Director Ibtisam Al Riyami, one of Company’s D&I Champions, said: “We are honoured to host Sheikh Kahlan who is revered and admired across Oman for his wisdom, humanity and belief in the power of tolerance.
“We have a large and diverse workforce and he was very supportive of the inclusive, respectful and collaborative work environment we have fostered, which values the broad range of cultural and personal differences and perspectives that exist in our Company.
“This environment elicits the best from our people and is fundamental to our success as it encourages innovation, out-of-the-box thinking and teamwork.D&I is not only an moral imperative in that it treats everybody fairly regardless of background but also a business one, as an inclusive environment elicits the best from employees and is fundamental to corporate success.
“Our view is that, if you are good enough to do a job in PDO, then there should be no barriers to achieving your full potential.”
PDO has its own D&I Committee on which Managing Director Raoul Restucci sits, underlining the importance the Company places on fairness for all employees. It has also recently appointed afull-time Diversity and Inclusion Officer who will oversee D%I strategy and implementation and act as the corporate focal point for any harassment and bullying cases.
In recent years, PDO has broken new ground in its efforts to entrench workplace equality of opportunity. Its pioneering programme to train and develop female field engineers won the ADIPEC Award for the Empowerment of Women in the Oil and Gas Industry in 2013, and it has a 50:50 gender ratio level among its petroleum engineers.
PDO was also recently featured as one of four leading companies in the Gulf Co-operation Council region for its best practice on achieving workplace diversity by the Pearl Initiative, a champion for women’s empowerment in the region.
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