x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Work can reward in different ways

Not everyone can work for the best companies in the world, or in the region. But employers owe it to their employees to help them feel like they do.

One of the biggest challenges for businesses in the UAE is staff retention. In a survey published late last year by the Hay Group, a management consulting firm, half of the employees questioned said they were planning to leave their current jobs within three or four years. It concluded that the average employee in the UAE was 8 per cent less likely to remain with his or her employer compared with the global average.

While this can be partially explained by the UAE's high expatriate population, many of whom are keen to return home after a few years here, it is nonetheless a problem for private and public enterprises.

Turnover in staff is costly - one estimate puts the price of replacing an employee at 150 per cent of that person's wage - so it is in any business's best interests to work to retain its employees, especially top performers.

Many companies do go the extra mile to retain employees. As reported in The National yesterday, Aon Hewitt has announced the Middle East's "best employers", with DHL Express UAE leading a list that included Microsoft Gulf (Mena), Procter and Gamble Near East, and DHL branches in Oman and Kuwait.

The results were based on a survey of 13,000 employees from 130 companies. Respondents were asked what they said when they spoke about their employer to their friends, whether they were likely to stay in their job for the foreseeable future, and if they gave their best at work every day. Their responses indicate that money is not the only motivating factor for people in the workforce; job satisfaction is vitally important.

There is a lesson here for other employers, and for the nation in general, as the essential process of Emiratisation in the workplace proceeds.

The programme of placing more Emirati candidates in the private sector - which has difficulty matching the wages and benefits offered by government entities - could be helped by a campaign highlighting the fact that work can be rewarding in many ways. Moreover, companies that offer a variety of perks - from leave policies to health care, gym memberships to a collegial work environment - can help motivate and inspire employees.

Not everyone can work for the best companies in the world, or in the region. But employers owe it to their employees to help them feel like they do.