Emrill has launched its employee carnival for the thirteenth consecutive year, kicking off celebrations with a virtual torch relay. The annual carnival, which takes place over three months, has undergone a dramatic change in 2020, becoming a mostly virtual event.
In previous years, the carnival has presented Emrill employees with the opportunity to come together to participate in team sports, activities and a range of events designed to promote health, physical and mental wellbeing as well as fun. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing guidelines still in place, this year’s event will see the majority of activities taking place online.
Stuart Harrison, Emrill’s CEO, explained the importance of the event and how it has been adapted: “Emrill has always prioritised the engagement and welfare of its workforce. We understand creating a work culture that recognises and engages employees, providing them with an excellent ‘people experience’ increases retention and loyalty, which in turn helps the company to recover from market disruptions faster. This year has been difficult for everyone and COVID-19 has been the catalyst for a lot of changes. We have more people working remotely than ever before, so we needed to take extra steps to ensure employees still feel connected and part of the Emrill community.
“In 2020, we launched the ‘Happier Together with Emrill’ initiative to further cement our culture of health, safety, happiness and wellbeing. Emrill’s carnival has always played a significant role in our efforts to ensure our employees feel empowered to achieve a healthy work-life balance as well as helping us to contribute to the UAE’s Happiness Agenda. Often, our employees are the UAE’s unsung heroes and they have been on the frontlines of the pandemic since the beginning, delivering services that have been invaluable in the fight against the virus. Cancelling the carnival and missing the opportunity to celebrate our employees simply wasn’t an option, so we are using technology to create a digital event that will allow us to come together virtually.”
Emrill’s employees joined the carnival’s opening ceremony virtually. High levels of employee engagement are expected in the scheduled events, which include music and dance competitions, art and social activities and online games. Employees can also meet each other online, via video calls, Emrill’s network messaging platform Yammer and social media.
In the weeks since the opening ceremony, the carnival has already attracted over 5,000 employees, who have participated in the activities, including a selfie competition, drawing and creative writing activities, online quizzes and a challenge to find Emrill’s fastest typer.
Renji Mathew, Head of HR at Emrill, said: “Without a doubt, 2020 has been a challenging year in terms of employee engagement. Our priority was finding ways to connect with our employees while maintaining COVID-19 protocols. A dedicated carnival planning committee created a virtual carnival concept comprised of 29 mostly-online games, which will take place over three months. We expect the events and activities will uncover the hidden talents of our employees, bring us together for online team and individual competitions and games, and help stay connected while we are seeing less of each other due to remote working. Over the coming months, the carnival will give us the opportunity to engage with employees from all of our sites across the emirates, ensuring engagement remains high as we come to the end of a challenging year.”
The carnival’s activities will conclude in December and a closing ceremony will be held in January 2021 to announce the carnival’s winners and celebrate the achievements of Emrill employees.
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