February 6, 2024 All Articles

Meet the Speaker: Akif Tashkandi, Head of People & Organization, Novartis Saudi Arabia

Akif is a highly experienced People & Organization leader, working mostly with multinationals across the Middle East including industries of Pharmaceutical, Aerospace, FMCG, Mining, and Retail. With a broad and practical HR background, particularly focusing on long-term strategy, Talent Management, Nationalization, Employee Engagement, and Culture.

We are delighted that he will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work Summit Middle East in February. We caught up with him to find out how he’s feeling in the run up to the summit.

Hi Akif, we are thrilled you will be speaking at our Wellbeing at Work Middle East Summit in February. Our first and most important question is, how are you doing today?

Fabulous, thank you.

As a leader based in the region, what are the main challenges you are facing when it comes to employee wellbeing?

Wellbeing is a very important pillar that we need to watch out for in our organization, especially post COVID era where the attention and focus was even higher, not only in physical wellbeing but also the psychological wellbeing of our own employees as it directly impacts the productivity and success of an organization. I would love to share some of the insights into this topic during the summit for the overall benefit of our community.

What strategies have you seen developing over the past 6 months, both internally and externally, that is moving the dial on wellbeing in the workplace?

As a start we need to monitor the wellbeing via a systematic KPI check to reflect on whether we are moving the needle or not on this aspect, and then comes the initiatives and various activities we can do either from top down as leaders or better bottom up coming directly from our own employees. 

Why is employee wellbeing so important to you personally?

The wellbeing either physically or mentally impacts the performance and the overall success of my team, hence the organization. Therefore, it is essential that we need keep an eye on and ensure it is in optimal status.

What are you most looking forward to about the Summit in February?

Sharing my experience and learning from my colleagues in the industry to find out what are they doing on these topics as well so we can exchange notes for a better way forward.

Tell us, what is your vision for the future workplace, in terms of engagement, health and wellbeing?

Engagement scoring and status depends on many factors and one of them is wellbeing. As an organization we need to identify which other important values or points impact our organization’s effectiveness and then monitor them as it will contribute to the overall engagement levels inside our organization. 

What areas do you think employers should be focused on over the next 12 months?

An engaged culture will lead our organizations to success, therefore we need to identify how can we turn the needle using the various technological tools available either within the organization or outside in the market e.g. survey tools

How has your organisation been leading the way?

Our organization has achieved Great Place To Work recognition and certification for three years in a row because we deeply believe in the health and engaged culture importance in the success of the organization. 

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