Sustainability has taken the lead in Gulf Bank’s success, playing an integral role in its annual corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Globally and regionally, sustainability has become a cornerstone of companies, highlighting the need for initiatives to retain a focus on long term sustainability. The bank’s robust CSR program has targeted creating a lasting, sustainable impact for our beloved Kuwait and its people, in line with the New Kuwait Vision 2035. Corporate social responsibility forms an important component of Gulf Bank’s mission and goals. The Bank was founded in the heart of Kuwait in 1960, and its CSR program is dedicated to giving back to our country.
Gulf Bank’s social responsibility program supports events focusing on youth and education; women empowerment; health and fitness; promoting Kuwait’s heritage and Human Capital.
Youth & Education
INJAZ Kuwait is a private non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of young business talent and emphasizing their important role at the business level. To address one of the main strategic challenges facing our country specifically and the region in general, Gulf Bank sponsors several educational and entrepreneurial programs for youth. Our partnership with INJAZ-Kuwait is the key in driving this agenda forward, it delivers educational and entrepreneurial skills training programs for high school (both public and private) and university students.
The bank continues to sponsor INJAZ-Kuwait as part of its commitment to encourage and develop professional business skills amongst youth. To date, Gulf Bank has participated in four INJAZ Al-Arab programs, 47 INJAZ Kuwait Job Shadow Days, 69 INJAZ Kuwait Innovation Camps and 120 INJAZ Kuwait Entrepreneurship Master Class workshops. More than 230 employees from Gulf Bank volunteered at different schools across Kuwait, positively impacting over 1,800 students.
To further empower Kuwait’s new generation of entrepreneurs, the Bank also sponsors Fikra Program, to develop successful businesses and to help diversify our economy. The main goal of Fikra is to prepare aspiring entrepreneurs with the skill sets and knowledge needed to succeed, by providing them with the support and guidance to develop their ideas into businesses. Gulf Bank is involved in the judging panel to help select the participants in the program and also offers training and consultation to the selected entrepreneurs throughout the program. To date, Fikra Program has trained 73 participants and has held 50 training sessions.
The Bank believes that gender parity and the empowerment of women is a key local and global challenge. Gulf Bank continues to strive to ensure that it has a balanced level of men and women that work arduously throughout the organization to deliver on the Bank’s mandate. Currently there are 42.8% female staff in comparison to 57.2% male staff. Across all levels, the Bank continues to promote both men and women based on their competencies, abilities to deliver, and their performance. To that aim, the Bank sponsors women’s groups and events that advances the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of working (SDGs) to achieve gender equality and empowering women and girls of all ages. This includes partnering with local non-governmental organizations and educational institutions.
A Bank initiative by the name of “GB WOW” or “Gulf Bank’s Women of Wisdom”, was created internally in 2017. This initiative stemmed from the Management’s vision to empower and support women in the corporate world with a particular focus on the challenges working women face at difference stages of their career.
GB WOW offers an opportunity for these women to network through a monthly gathering held in groups of 10 to 12 different women each time. The discussions are led by the General Manager of HR- Mrs. Salma Al-Hajjaj, focusing on sharing and exchanging experiences on topics related to work-life balance, the needs of women throughout different career stages and life cycles, managing social expectations, and overcoming challenges among other topics. The Bank’s ultimate goal is to help shape and support more women in their journey to reach leadership positions in the future. Through its firm belief in the value this will add to the organization, the Bank, through GB WOW, hopes to reach out and collaborate with other initiatives in this journey. As such, in 2018, the bank has become a signatory of the United Nations’ “Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs)” initiative to promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
Health & Fitness
Gulf Bank 642 Marathon’
One of the key pillars of the bank’s CSR programs is health and fitness. As a country with high obesity and diabetes levels, Gulf Bank has committed to raising awareness of the issue as well as increasing the sporting culture and participation levels. The ‘Gulf Bank 642 Marathon’ has become one of Kuwait’s leading events, putting our country on the international sporting map. This event appeals to all age groups and fitness levels and is the only such internationally accredited event in the country. Record-breaking 7,500 runners took part in the marathon in 2018, made of 66 nationalities and 1,500 runners attending the race from abroad. The Marathon also includes a humanitarian component; each year the Marathon partners with a leading group to raise awareness of an important issue. In 2018, Gulf Bank Marathon 642 partnered with Kuwait Red Crescent Society to bring medical aid to those who are unable to afford medical treatment. All donations made will go towards the provision of medical devices such as, pacemakers, cochlear devices, hearing aids, electric wheelchairs and stents. The largest sporting event in Kuwait, the ‘Gulf Bank 642 Marathon’ is also an opportunity for Gulf Bank to inspire their employees. This year’s race saw 400 employees take part in the day, with over 245 total volunteers. Volunteers included employees, as well as the general public.
Memorial Pearl Diving Journey
The Bank also believes in the importance of supporting and promoting Kuwait’s heritage and traditions, as well as community service. The Pearl Diving Memorial Journey is one of the initiatives that Gulf Bank sponsors on an annual basis and forms a key part of its long-term commitment to preserving the heritage and continuing the traditions of Kuwait’s unique past. The Journey aims to remind young Kuwaiti generations of the difficulties and challenges faced by their forefathers in earning a living, along with a message urging this generation to uphold the traditions and values their ancestors developed during that time. Gulf Bank continues to maintain and strengthen its position as an integral part of the Kuwaiti society. The Bank supports and emphasizes the true Kuwaiti identity and the importance of the Kuwaiti traditions and customs, through sponsoring different social activities and events.
The Bank’s human capital initiatives comprise of training and educating our future generations to develop their skills, lending itself to the vision of a knowledge-led economy.
The Bank has a strong focus on sourcing, hiring, training, and developing Kuwaiti talents. In terms of human capital initiatives, the Bank’s graduate development program ‘AJYAL’ is widely recognized for its intensive training to shape the future of banking in Kuwait. The program, carried out in cooperation with the Institute of Banking Studies (IBS), nurtures young Kuwaitis early in their careers to develop them for future leadership positions. AJYAL is building a large cadre of Kuwaiti bankers for the benefit of both the Bank and for Kuwait. In 2018, the Arabian Society for Human Resources Management (ASHRM) announced Gulf Bank as the winner of the 2018 Youth Empowerment Award, presented for the bank’s outstanding AJYAL Development Program. The program’s inception was in 2014; to date, five generations have graduated with a total of 82 employees.
Training and Development
In 2018, over 12 Inductions were held, with 204 newly hired staff being trained. Furthermore, the bank ran 6 internal certifications and 132 staff got certified. A total of 172 staff attended 47 general programs at Institute of Banking Studies, atop of which 44 staff received various certifications from IBS, 56 underwent English language training, and 35 benefited from different specialized courses. The year also saw the launch of several bank wide initiatives. From the frontline mandatory Customer Service Excellence (CSE) training that covers all frontline staff by the end of 2019, to a new program that saw all managers undergo a two-day Performance Management (PM) course aimed at helping for them understand how to maximize their team’s effectiveness.
More recently Q4 saw two specialized sessions for management; one which was geared towards a CBK-mandated requirement to enhance the bank’s leadership understanding of the various cybersecurity threats, the other was a branding session delivered by the world-renowned Brand Strategist Steve Brazell. The bank also partners with the Kuwaiti Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) to provide the private sector with innovative courses.
Gulf Bank is a major contributor to Kuwait and through its programs, is moving significant steps closer to a more sustainable community. The Bank thanks our valued partners at these events, as well as members of the Gulf Bank family who are always ready to volunteer their time to ensure the bank’s sustainability-focused initiatives are successful. Together we are making a difference and helping build a brighter, healthier future for Kuwait’s future generations.