x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Middle East’s changing jobs market calls for sustainable HR practices

Shifting demographics, changing organisational structures, and globalisation have altered the fabric of the Middle East’s ultra-competitive employment landscape.

Creating a vibrant, diverse corporate environment that is conducive to productivity, creativity and innovation is the key to optimising peak performance. istockphoto.com
Creating a vibrant, diverse corporate environment that is conducive to productivity, creativity and innovation is the key to optimising peak performance. istockphoto.com

In today’s fast-paced, ever-evolving business world, the role of human resources has grown increasingly more complex and challenging.

The truth is, in recent years at my company, Procter & Gamble (P&G), we have witnessed a slew of unparalleled transformations punctuating the region’s workforce.

Long-standing employees are now constantly grappling with perpetual technological breakthroughs, fluctuating market environments, global crises and, of course, the inevitable integration of Generation Y – comprising fresh, driven young graduates born between 1982 and 2002.

This concoction of shifting demographics and changing organisational structures – combined with the powerful forces of globalisation – has deeply altered the very fabric of the Middle East’s ultra-competitive employment landscape.

More importantly, it has reaffirmed the need for new, world-class human resources practices that place employment engagement at the core of every corporation’s business ethos.

After all, in this day and age, creating a vibrant, diverse corporate environment that is conducive to productivity, creativity and innovation is the key to optimising peak performance, maintaining low employee turnover and achieving long-term business goals.

At P&G, it is precisely this approach that has helped guide us throughout the years, and created the right framework or building blocks for success – especially in the eyes of our employees.

Even amid changing times and evolving circumstances, we quickly understood the importance of cultivating a high-performing, collaborative and loyal workforce that incessantly advocates for the brand. This exact vision is what has helped us garner a coveted nomination in Aon Hewitt’s Top 5 Best Employers list for 2013.

We believe that it is time for other organisations to follow suit and also implement an effective strategy for employee engagement. At present, the realm of employment is riddled with instability, cynicism and doubt; gone are the days when a young graduate would join a company and build a career within that organisation up until retirement. Simply put, the rules of the game have radically changed and almost every industry is currently plagued with increased job mobility, mounting recruiting costs and low retention rates.

And so it is more important than ever for corporations today to foster a corporate culture where workers identify with and are motivated by their employer. Doing so, however, entails nurturing a heightened connection between an employee and his/her job, organisation, manager and co-workers. In fact, recent studies show that employees who are committed and dedicated to their work – on an emotional level – outperform those who aren’t.

This, of course, begs the question: how can organisations effectively deliver human resources services that can meet the needs of today’s layered, multigenerational workforce – all the while guaranteeing organisational success?

The answer to this is multi-fold.

First, there is no denying that an all-encompassing HR approach that integrates every aspect of the human resources ecosystem is essential to obtaining successful organisational outcomes and safeguarding employee engagement.

At P&G, we have long recognised the pivotal engagement drivers that not only motivate employees, but also help them to build strong team interaction and the right leadership skills to drive excellence.

These long-standing guidelines include establishing a clear direction for employees:

Creating meaningful, challenging work that they can truly “own” and be held accountable for:

Shaping a flexible learning and development path for them; providing employees with deserving rewards or recognition as well as enhanced compensation;

Offering workers a career trajectory forecast and related guidance; embedding in them the company’s core values;

Celebrating the organisation’s overall success and individual accomplishments; creating a transparent, direct line of communication with employees;

Developing a culture of interdependent teamwork; and lastly, involving employees in corporate social responsibilities initiatives.

In short, it is about reinforcing employee empowerment by crafting a corporate climate that centres on value, accomplishment and contribution.

This, in turn, will strongly boost productivity and ensure that employees relentlessly act in the best interest of the organisation.

Fahad Al Abdulkarim is Procter & Gamble’s human resources director for the Arabian Peninsula and Pakistan