18 May 2022

How To Hire And Retain Top Talent


We had an excellent discussion on my podcast, Business is Personal recently. We spoke frankly about a topic that many companies express they struggle with in Dubai – hiring and retaining top talent.

We had an excellent discussion on my podcast, Business is Personal recently. We spoke frankly about a topic that many companies express they struggle with in Dubai – hiring and retaining top talent.

Finding the best talent to contribute to your organisation and who also fit within your company culture, is both a challenge and an opportunity. Especially in the UAE, where the market is very ‘job driven,’ rather than in the UK where it’s ‘candidate driven.’ When hiring managers in the UAE upload a job description they receive a large number of applicants, and unfortunately, reviewing them all takes a considerable amount of time. Often applicants will also apply for positions that don’t match up with their current experience, which makes the more traditional hiring process a challenge.

In a 2017 study with more than 300 senior HR professionals in the Gulf region, about 60% cited that staff retention and talent management were their most significant areas of focus. Many expressed that retaining present employees, talent management and resourcing were also areas of concern.

Employee turnover is a universal problem and it’s costly for companies. A high turnover rate is a prevalent trend in the UAE, given the transient nature of expats. Another study showed that 57% of working professionals in the region were looking to switch employer (yes, look around – more than half of your staff are thinking of leaving!)

As a GCC business strategist and executive coach, part of my role is teaching Meaningful Management which contributes to employee retention. Keeping the best people, once you find them, is easy if you do the right things right.

But it all starts with hiring the right people in the first place. Here are 3 specific actions you can take:

Passive recruiting
Say ‘yes’ to that coffee! If someone reaches out to you on LinkedIn and you see that they have excellent experience, even if you aren’t currently hiring for their position, meet them anyway. Who knows, maybe further down the line you may need someone like them. Also, good people know good people (yes, I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true) – perhaps they know someone in their network? Whether a potential hire, client or partner.

As Sir Richard Branson says, we should also hire people, not just based on what we read on their CVs or profile, but on their character.

It’s a team consensus
Tech giant, Google, is able to employ the “very best” because the whole team get a say on who is hired. Other start-ups are also adopting this process. Andrew Kabrit, Co-Founder and COO of Seez, said that they invite new hires to come in and experience their working environment, so they can work alongside the team and see if there is a mutual fit.

Yes, this may make the hiring process slower (there is an age old saying: hire slow and fire fast!) but “research tells us that teams that have diverging opinions can make better less biased decisions. And that also applies to the way we make hiring decisions too,” explains Google’s senior recruiter, Lisa Stern Haynes.

Be known as a great employer
Even if they are leaving your company for another job, it’s important to have your off-boarding process as slick as your on-boarding – you want these people to become advocates for your brand.

Listen to their feedback about what they liked/ disliked about working for you. Muhammad Chbib, Co-Founder and Ex- CEO of Tajawal suggested you could offer advice and your input (if they wanted it) about their next move. If they have been a great employee, tell them that the door is always open should they ever want to come back.

You want them to leave with great memories of working for you and your organization.

Vamp up your social media
It’s now common practice to hire someone based off their LinkedIn profile and often companies now do a quick Google check. Keep your social media profiles professional – that status or photo you posted of you at your mate’s stag do could make or break your new opportunity.

Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. Our panelists on Business is Personal, also agreed that if someone is actively creating thought-leadership (e.g. writing articles on LinkedIn or on a personal blog) then that would also work in their favour when making a hiring decision.

Our panelists also said that they now give little regard to CVs, other than checking them for spelling errors!

So, I’ll ask you this – is building your online brand the new C.V?

What are your tips for hiring and retaining top talent? Is staff retention something you struggle with also? Would be great to hear your stories – let me know.

Article by: Dr. Corrie Block

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