The Yearn for Talent In The GCC: How To Retain Staff In The Era of Job-Hopping

With global markets becoming more competitive each day, many are quick to assume that talent is abundant. The discourse among peers adheres to the belief that employment opportunities are getting scarce – leaving the public to lionize the importance of keeping a steady job.

But, the discourse among those who handle talent is different, reporting a growing trend of job-hopping in the GCC region.

Last-year’s findings by Hays latest market report highlighted a staggering number of struggling GCC HRs who cited staff retention as one of the main pain points in their corporate strategy – roughly 21% naming this as the biggest challenge facing their HR departments in the next 12 months.

This year, around 61 per cent of employees are expecting a salary increase – leaving the possibilities for another talent exodus open – if requirements are not to be fulfilled.

Three Reasons for Talent to Stay

While most agree that retention is now an imperative, there’s a clear distinction between suggested means to boost the process.

In addition to classic elements, GCC recruiters identify the following non-compensation ones:

 Flexible Work Policies – The Middle East plays a special role in fostering global talent. As such, some countries from this region have become go-to hubs for expatriates from all over the world, ranging from Europe to USA and beyond. It is imperative that employees adopt to their native work culture, offering workplace flexibility. Flexible hours, compressed work weeks, telecommuting options, on-site childcare, and more are quickly becoming common demands by employees in the region. Experts report on multifold payoffs from offering such liberal policies at work: engagement and loyalty among employees topping the list.

 Employee Engagement – Employee appetites evolve with the market. This brings a plethora of operatives who are no longer satisfied with an approach suggesting top down management with a bossy CEO. Instead, these employees prefer to stay informed and consulted on company decisions. Organizations often refer to the Gallup Q-12 questionnaire as their preferred tool to measure employee engagement.

 Learning and Development – Often referred as the leading motivational factor behind employee retention strategies, L&D plays a crucial role in shaping the future of your employees and consequently your organization. Led by the premise that your workforce is your most priced asset, many HRs believe that investing in the skills of your employees is imperative to professional wellbeing. Conversely, recognizing important capabilities for success among managers and employees is a criterion for new and updated learning and development curriculums for the several levels of workers at your workplace.

From public instructor-led sessions to in-house training and self-paced online learning, offering your employees the right professional development opportunities is a contemporary method of making them fit for the industry and your organization’s upcoming needs.

Whether you choose loading up your LMS with digital content or prefer to go one step further and provide a blended learning environment for your employees, experts advise that training is an absolute must.

“The cost of not training your employees is higher than the cost of training. It is ironic that we expect more from people and yet we hesitate to invest in them.

Training benefits the individual, the organization as well as the collective team in terms of increased knowledge. More so an organization that develops its people attracts the best of talents as people value growth and more so boosts employee engagement and enhances retention.

Learning experiences are like journeys. The journey starts where the learning is now and ends when the learner is successful. The end of the journey isn’t knowing more, it’s doing more “says independent HR advisor and member of LEORON Institute’s Faculty of Experts, Mr. Abdulhussain Tejani.

The talent war is not exclusive to the West anymore.

A culture of self-aware employees who’ve thrived in the booming western economies inspires current shifts in the GCC – providing the region with field-tested strategies to win the war on talent.

And, while distinctive local insights and capabilities are often desirable to maximize the return of global assets, talent goes a step further – quickly adopting to global norms.

“As professionals, we need to look at how we develop and engage the hearts and minds of our workforce through learning and development initiatives, changing the mindset of employees to engage, develop and retain the wealth of talent we have within the region with innovative solutions using technology to enhance the learner journey”, explains Kevin Haslam – Academic MCIPD.

On the other hand, lack of transparency, nepotism and favoritism, misalignment of talent, and outdated attendance policies are often identified as a set of global HR practices that can drive your employees away to greener pastures.

About the Author:

A seasoned B2B copywriter and digital marketer, Gent Mehmeti leads the marketing team at Dubai’s LEORON Professional Development Institute, one of the leading professional training enterprises in the EMEA region.

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