Six Reasons Why GCC Employers Are Losing Their Best Employees


Entrepreneur magazine

My latest article which was published in the August’s edition of Entrepreneur Middle East magazine looked at what could possibly be the real reasons why good employees leave their employers in the GCC (Hint: It’s right under most employers’ noses, and NOT just the state of the economy).

Click here to read the article

This was my first article published on Entrepreneur Middle East magazine, one of very few magazines I enjoy reading and I can say has a lot of useful content and advice.  Hopefully, you will see more of my articles published by them in the future.

Enjoy the read, and do share with me your views on the points I mention in the article as the key reasons employers are losing good people.

Rethinking your Emiratisation: How creativity, ideation and involving other team members can do wonders for your Emiratisation process

IBM Creativity Lab

This week I was part of a design thinking workshop which was organized by IBM In their Client Center in Dubai Design District. The workshop was designed to identify the various challenges IBM faces with its Emiratisation process and brainstorm ideas that will address its ability to attract, engage, retain and develop local talent. This would be done through a creative process.

I was quite excited to be part of this workshop, mainly because IBM’s approach to develop its Emiratisation strategy is in its core aligned to the philosophy my team and I have been advocating to employers we speak to, although how we implement the process is somewhat different .  During the process, we encourage companies to allow the strategy to grow from within the organisation organically by initiating an internal conversation facilitated by a neutral and unbiased party. This is done by allowing participants (your team) to do the talking, address the challenges, point out opportunities and get them on board the whole Emiratisation journey you are embarking on. As a bonus you empower them by allowing them to suggest ideas.

As facilitators, our role is to direct all these conversations and ideas through our own framework.  Once we have collected and put all the pieces together, we finally share with the employer what was discussed and eventually propose the most suitable solutions which can address the gaps we have identified during the process. (It’s a little bit like playing the role of a Maestro to a symphony).

So why should you consider this approach rather than leaving the headache of Emiratisation with the HR department to solve?
I can do a whole presentation explaining why; but here are my top 4 reasons why you should consider adopting a similar exercise the next time you are looking to develop or revise your Emiratisation strategy:

  1. It’s Inclusive: From experience we know that the issues confronting your Emiratisation process do not lie with HR alone. This way you get to hear from the people really feeling the pain, and empower them to suggest ideas
  2. It fosters Creativity: We encourage participants to use their imagination and creativity to build scenarios and think of possible ideas
  3. Managing Change: Applying Emiratisation as a process or looking to grow its culture in your organisation can be confronted with resistance internally. The Creativity Lab can be used as one of the strategies to manage change and get buy-in.
  4. Communication: We always encourage clients to use the Creativity Lab proceedings and its outcomes to communicate to internal and external stakeholders the company’s commitment to Emiratisation. This can potentially feed into the company’s reputation as an ’employer of choice’.

If your organisation is keen to understand some of the opportunities it can tap in to to address the challenges its emiratisation process faces, drop me a line and lets grab a cup of coffee.

Is Employee’s Mental Health the Employer’s Responsibility?

Stressed Employee
This was a poll I ran on Twitter this week: As a Headhunter who often gets to speak with distressed or frustrated employees looking for change, it’s quite common to spot the tell-tale signs of stress. 
MentalHealth Survey
I find that most of the cases are due to 2 reasons:
1) lack of engagement in the workplace
2) Personal problems at home.
The problem is compounded when the affected is a local, as most often they are embarrassed to speak about the mental health issues they suffer due to fear of stigma.
A recent study led by the WHO showed that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity.
So, here is my question:  Is it the employer’s responsibility to take care of the employees’ mental health or not? Should this responsibility somehow extend to terminated or retired employees as well? 

Time is Ticking: “UAE will change labor laws in order to increase Emiratis in the private sector” – Minister says

Time is ticking
Time is ticking for both employers and policymakers when it comes to Emiratisation

The Minister of Human Resource & Emiratisation speaking in front of the FNC said that the labor laws will change soon in order to increase the number of Emiratis in the private sector in the UAE.  There is no set date for these changes but given the target of increasing number of nationals in this sector to 5% by 2021 max, I would expect something after the summer period.

Two interesting pieces of information caught my eye in the article which was published in Gulf News, which I think private sector employers should pay close attention to, these are:

The government has set a target to employ 50% of the Emirati workforce in to the private sector.  If we could ‘guesstimate’ that the total size of the Emirati workforce is a minimum of 200,000 (I am being modest here), If achieved this will still be a significant increase from the existing number of nationals in the sector.

400 selected professions in 2,000 private companies will now have to give priority to Emiratis when recruiting.  400 professions is not a small number and It’s important that private sector employers take note of this when preparing their workforce plans, we are already seeing professions in areas such as Health & Safety and Compliance for example as being earmarked as ‘Emirati priority’ roles.

Note: If you are looking for help with your approach in Emiratisation, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Click here to read the article

Besides Foreign Investors, Students are set to benefit from the latest Visa changes in the UAE

University Students

On the back of the announcement by the UAE government to offer 10-year visas to investors, and professionals with specialist skills.  Another segment that is set to benefit from the sweeping changes: Students.  Specifically “exceptional” students.  To be frank, I have always found that its disheartening to see students in universities worry about their future here after they graduate.

This reminded me of a study conducted in 2016 by leading HR Consultancy Aon called the Qudurat Wave report which was conducted with Dubai International Academic City.  A key finding from the report was this:  ‘Seven out of 10 university students intend to stay in the UAE after graduation’

Other interesting findings from the Qudurat Survey were:

“Only 17 per cent Emiratis surveyed for this year’s edition of Qudurat Wave study opted to work for the public sector as compared to 53 per cent in the previous edition”.  While this result is encouraging, the question that begs an answer is what happens to Emirati students after graduating that changes their career preferences significantly towards opting for a career in the public sector only?

“One in five expats chose to go down the entrepreneurial route post their studies”.  I for one, expected at least Two out of Five expats to prefer the entrepreneurial path.  Could the students’ concerns over the challenging economic climate globally and regionally be the reason why there is less an appetite to set up on their own?

Click here to read the full article and results

The UAE to allow 100% foreign ownership for businesses and Residency Visas for Investors and top global talent

UAE Cabinet

The UAE Cabinet’s announcement for sweeping reforms is quite significant, especially given the debate that has been happening around the topic whether within the community or the Federal National Cabinet (FNC). This debate was mainly based on concerns over the demographic imbalance and how will such a move effect locals (who happen to be a minority out of a population of slightly over 9 million).

The government first hinted of its direction to attracting top talent from around the world when the UAE Vision 2021 -also known as the National Agenda- was first announced in 2010. The idea was later announced by the Ministry of HR & Emiratisation a couple of years ago. What remained till yesterday was a legislation and a mechanism for implementation (which we have yet to see).

Of course, the question now is; what short term and long term effects will this move have on the economy and the job market?

Click Here to read the announcement