For Tariq Chauhan, CEO of EFS, it’s business, resilience, and people first. Shagufta Patel catches the industry leader for a brief chat about his employee centric policies and the driving force behind it
As one of the leaders in the facilities management industry in the region, Tariq Chauhan has earned his repute. Multiple industry power lists by Forbes Middle East named him as one of the 100 Top CEOs in the region in 2021.
As a Harvard Business School alumnus and a professional entrepreneur with over 26 years of diverse experience in international banking, technology, asset management, and real estate, Tariq has built a track record of building and establishing companies across the GCC, UK, and Asia. All that experience has led him to lead people from valuing them as the most important piece of any puzzle that ultimately made EFS the success that it is today.
Tariq has always been an entrepreneurial-oriented person, extremely curious, and an avid traveler. In the past 18 months, he has traveled to more than 50 countries, pandemic and all. His curiosity and spirit of dynamism guided him into a long and fruitful career in business at a global level.
Building a ‘People First’ global organization
For over 21 Years, EFS has been well-acknowledged by the business community for providing quality services to some of the biggest regional names, including leading multinationals in the region. With $1.5 Billion in contracts backlog and managing an approximate total area of over 50 million sq.m, EFS has set new benchmarks in facilities management through quality service delivery and innovation, running 28 operating companies in 21 countries across the region. The group of companies is unique in combining progressive people-focused leadership with the fast adoption of technological advancements, creating the best environment for personal growth for employees and client portfolios.
Primarily, EFS is a people-first organization driving the facilities management industry to new heights and striving to push the boundaries of creating a sustainable business. Tariq and his team of excellent leaders built the EFS Facilities Services Group to be a regional leader in delivering integrated facilities management services. “Our global presence spans the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Turkey, and is among the top-ranking facilities management companies in the UAE,” Tariq states proudly.
EFS strived to show a different approach in the industry that faced a lot of challenges during the pandemic. By building an organization that primarily puts the welfare of its employees at the core of the strategy, EFS became a business standing for the ethos of ‘People First’. The organization has been recognized multiple times by the country’s leadership for worker welfare, with the most recent honor received from ‘Taqdeer’ awards.
Gender parity and closing the gap
Women have a huge role to play in the development of global economies; making sure they are free and safe to work will enhance their productivity and impact their overall contribution to their families and society as a whole. Research has shown that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted women’s participation in the labor force as they experienced unprecedented job losses across the world. In 2020, women represented 38.8 percent labour force, a considerable drop from earlier numbers.
With a global reality this grim, Tariq Chauhan has upheld himself to be a promoter of gender parity and accessibility from day one. EFS prides itself in closing the gap by creating fair opportunities for growth, investing at large in learning and development for women and helping them grow from blue-collar to white-collar careers. Not only does EFS walk the talk internally, but Tariq Chauhan as a leader also called the industry to create more initiatives to advance the wellbeing of women and recognize their impact in the business.
The influences that shape the entrepreneur
At work, every day, Tariq is a colleague first and a leader second, passionate to help those around him to become the best version of themselves and contribute to achieving more for EFS and the community. In addition, he is passionate about his crew, EFSians being his motivation and his personal mirror as a leader. As he puts it, “I reflect in them, and I learn every day from them on what I need to improve, to change, to adapt, to grow in order for me to show up as a leader.”
At home, Tariq’s role is defined by his family. “I am a husband to an amazingly supportive woman, the father of two astounding daughters”. Not only did the women behind the CEO bring the self-actualization needed in his behind-the-scenes life, but Tariq was also inspired by growing two millennial daughters, learning about the challenges the current world poses to the young generation from them. The intergenerational communication and learnings have been the base work for many of the initiatives brought to EFS, inspired by day-to-day realities faced by his two young daughters in their entrepreneurial journeys. Problem-solving, people first, investing in people’s abilities to self-realize their highest potential, and aiming to erase generational borders to achieve growth – these are all attributes that Tariq brings into his business practices every day.
Of resilience and self-actualization
Tariq finds a considerable shift in the responsibilities of leaders in the new normal heralded by the post-pandemic world. To achieve both personal and organizational growth, leaders must foster abilities to grow their resilience, be people-oriented, be driven by their mission, and integrate their business into the fold of sustainable impact.
A resilient mindset, focusing on bringing the best out of people, and fostering a team that can freely speak their ideas are important attributes. Ultimately, investing in people and helping them grow is a key point of leadership, for leaders develop leaders.
In his upcoming book published by Forbes Books, the EFS leader unveils the core attributes of becoming not only the best version of yourself but helping others achieve their best version – too. “Be humble and open to ideas, learn to train your mindset, take care of your mental health, invest in becoming resilient, and always seek to be surrounded by talented people.”
Businesses dealing with COVID-19 adversities have faced unprecedented challenges in the past two years bringing the immediate need for leaders to develop skills that contribute to increasing personal and company resilience. Tariq’s advice is clear on how to tackle the challenges. “It’s imperative as a collective to change our perspective: Barriers and challenges are the only means for growth and progress. As soon as we look at problems from that perspective, we unlock new solutions, and most importantly, we develop a superpower- resilience. That is the biggest barrier-breaker that a leader could use for growth. Regardless of adversity level – and adversity is for sure a certainty – if you work on your resilience level, you will overcome, adapt and grow. There is no easy way for growth.”