Are You Worried About Your Talent Retention Strategy?

Career opportunities have a huge impact on building a strong talent pipeline in the Middle East. How can employers implement a strategy to retain their best people?

Are You Worried About Your Talent Retention Strategy?

22 Apr 2016 by  Sahiba Singh

If your organisation doesn’t have a career management programme in place, you should be. From local millennials to senior expats, ‘career progression’ is the number one criterion for candidates in their job search in the Middle East. Furthermore, Aon Hewitt’s research consistently shows that ‘career opportunities’ is a top engagement driver across all age groups and nationalities, all around the world.

Career management is not just down to an employee’s personal vision and ambition; organisations, too, have a responsibility to develop and implement programmes to help their employees achieve their goals. Yet, only a small number of organisations in the Middle East have structured career programmes in place. What talent issues will arise as a result of this?

Strategic moves could decimate your talent base

When it comes to strategic moves such as mergers and outsourcing, savvy employers don’t expect employees to put their careers on hold while the organisation works itself out. They also don’t scramble to make offers (usually involving inflated pay packages and impressive job titles) when their most valued people resign.

Retain the best talent

As organisations go through strategic decision-making, they should:
• determine the likely impact this will have on their employees’ career objectives
• identify the key talent they want to retain, and draw up retention plans and packages that go beyond monetary incentives—including substantial new roles/projects that will energise ambitious employees
• take the first step in communicating a career vision to their valued employees, and supporting them in their transitions
• provide mentorship, rewards, development opportunities, and exposure to senior management, so as to affirm the value of the employee and maintain engagement even through difficult times

Managers hoard their high performers

High performing employees are naturally hungry for challenges. However, when career management doesn’t happen at the company level, but at the manager level, managers tend to make decisions that are first aimed at benefiting their business units—which narrows the development opportunities available to high performers.

This is why organisations should assign responsibility for the development of high performers to very senior managers or an influential human resources specialist. They will have the capability to assess high performers for development potential and support them in their career aspirations and progression.

Employees feel blocked in their career

High expectations of career progression are commonplace in the Middle East, even though demands for rapid promotions can often be unrealistic. Employers who implement systematic career management approaches will help employees develop realistic expectations and provide the support they need to gain the necessary skills and experience. This includes career pathways that clearly define promotion requirements, training, mentorship, job rotations and challenging assignments.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to organisational career management, but the basis lies in a structured approach, owned by the organisation’s senior management and based on strong insights into each employee’s performance and career objectives. At the same time, ambitious employees need fire in their bellies as well as patience, persistence, and insight to make judicious choices that help them fulfil their career aspirations.

Start a conversation with us

If you need help with developing a strong talent retention strategy, get in touch with us today.

Sahiba Singh

Sahiba Singh is the Head of Leadership Consulting for Aon Hewitt Middle East. Having joined Aon Hewitt 12 years ago, she was part of the core team that established the regional leadership practice. Sahiba's expertise lies in talent assessment and development, and she has successfully delivered numerous assignments for clients spanning various industry sectors in UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Sahiba holds a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Delhi and is certified in Level ‘A’ Occupational Testing by the British Psychological Society.

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