Emerson Automation eyes aggressive digitisation, diversity, and sustainability targets

Emerson Widad Haddad reducedEmerson Automation has set digitisation, diversity and sustainability as major company goals, said the company’s vice president & general manager for United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen & Lebanon, Widad Haddad, in an exclusive interview with Oil Review Middle East at ADIPEC

Firstly, the company is focusing heavily on increasing diversity within its workforce. In fact, at the ADIPEC 2022 Awards, Emerson was named the 'Oil and Gas Inclusion and Diversity Company of the Year,' a recognition given to the company for its efforts to drive diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry.

“We got shortlisted as one of three for the Inclusion and Diversity awards at ADIPEC 2022, and we emerged as the winners in that category. Diversity, equity and inclusion at Emerson have been a journey for over five years now, where it’s driven globally, but it’s what we did locally that differentiated us and gave us the advantage to win the award.” 

Haddad said that they need to deliberately work on bringing diversity into the work space, because “in the male dominated industry that we are in, if we leave it to an organic way of increasing diversity, it may never happen.” This is mainly because there are not many women already in the industry.

There are different components in the chain that are needed in order to increase diversity, says Haddad, with acquiring candidates being the first step. Here, Emerson’s HR team is tasked with creating a diverse slate of candidates they pool in. Secondly, it’s also important that the panel that interviews candidates is also made up of a diverse group of people. 

“We want that diversity in the judging element and in the pool of talent that we bring in,” said Haddad.

More importantly, aside from increasing diversity, the company wishes to also retain employees who come from minority backgrounds. Haddad believes that if a company is unable to retain talent, then it has failed to address the issue of increasing diversity. 

“We have several mentorship programmes. We have programmes that take women and show them the different aspects of the business, so they get to see what finance, marketing, sales, and operations are, regardless of what their job is, so that they realise that they have different opportunities.”

Haddad commented that this encourages women to believe that they will never be boxed into one profession if they choose to change. 

In addition to one-on-one mentorship to keep women encouraged, Emerson also makes sure to promote and position women in senior leadership positions. 

“A lot of the time companies manage to pull in women and develop their talent, but they never get promoted.” This advocacy is important as well to bring confidence into an organisation to make them believe that women can be put into leadership roles. 

With regards to sustainability, Haddad said that Emerson has looked at sustainability through different pillars

“It is what we call greening by Emerson, greening with Emerson and greening of Emerson,” she explained. 

For example, Emerson generates a portion of its energy needs in its manufacturing facility in Jebel Ali out of solar power. For its customer base, they help bring out technology to reduce their emissions, decarbonise and do energy efficiency along with operational excellence – these initiatives help reach their sustainability goals. 

But more importantly, Emerson also works with its local supply chain to improve their carbon footprint and better their net-zero goals

ADIPEC, Haddad said, is a place for Emerson to expose its new technology to demonstrate that they are key players in sustainability and innovation and in digital transformation.

“Emerson has technology that helps companies monitor their emissions. So in addition to that, when you monitor your emissions, you also need to analyse the data of your operation.”

The company also completed the acquisition of OSI, a leading operations technology software provider, in 2021, which broadens and complements Automation Solutions' software portfolio and ability to help customers in the global power industry and other end markets transform and digitise operations to more seamlessly incorporate renewable energy sources and improve energy efficiency and reliability.

"ADIPEC has been a great forum to find solutions for existing problems," said Haddad, adding “that usually doesn't happen in these kinds of events” which are usually centred around marketing. Emerson has been able to steer the conversation towards retaining young talent as well at ADIPEC. “It is a multifaceted event and so we're going to be here every year for sure,” Haddad concluded. 

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