Aramco Asia employees converge for team-building exercise

“I found we share more cultural habits and traditions rather than differences. For instance, both Chinese and Arab people accentuate the value of the family,” said Howard Zhai, Office Services administrator. “Just like a Chinese saying goes: Harmonious family can lead to the success of everything.”

Zhai’s comments came during a cultural discussion during which Saudi and Chinese staff sat in a circle talking informally about the similarities and difference between the two cultures. The session was part of the first team-building event held in Beijing upon the first anniversary of the newly established Aramco Far East (Beijing) Business Services Company Limited (ABS). More than 80 ABS employees participated in the event, held Dec. 6, 2013.

The event included an array of interactive activities designed to relax the attendees, strengthen interpersonal relationships, increase cross-cultural understanding within the ABS family and build synergy and harmony among the whole ABS team — something intended to contribute to the realization of the overall business goals and objectives of ABS.

Sulaiman Ababtain, president of Aramco Asia from September 2012 to June 2014, focused on the aspects of family spirit and cultural understanding while delivering his remarks. “With such social activity, we are trying to build the Aramco Asia family collectively. I watch with a sense of delight that everybody is engaging with each other in a very friendly manner without any barriers, and this is one of the objectives of such social gathering,” Ababtain said.

Turki Al-Daghrer, Training and Development manager of Aramco Asia, along with refining specialist Matej Hraste, were facilitators of the event. Al-Daghrer said he was happy to be part of the success of such activities as a co-host, helping increase the level of understanding among Saudi, Chinese and other cultures that, in general, are reflected in the day-to-day work. “The diversity in cultural background, our differences as individuals should make us stronger as a team. Every culture has its own areas of strength that we have to exert some effort to understand and appreciate,” he said.

The one-day event was well-received by the local employees. “It provides a valuable opportunity for us to get a better understanding of each other with cheers and laughter,” said David Liu, marketing manager for Aramco Asia.

“For example, the jigsaw puzzle game required very quick response as well as a good degree of patience. We managed to solve the puzzle in a humorous mood, and at the end of the day, with good team spirit.” Peipei Gao, investment analyst, was very excited about the team-building. “It was nice to appreciate and understand the diversities permeating across different departments and cultures, which would definitely contribute to achieving the company’s business objectives as well as cementing our human relationship as individuals,” she said.