Companies urged to be aware of Emiratis’ sensitivities

The first step was getting more Emiratis into the workforce. The second step is finding a way to keep them there.

For the more than 200 business leaders attending Abu Dhabi University’s second annual two-day Emiratisation Forum, how to retain UAE nationals as employees was the main topic of conversation.

A study by the Emirates National Development Programme found that, last year, 60 per cent of UAE nationals working in the private sector quit their jobs.

The reasons, according to Omar Bamadhaf, an assistant undersecretary in the Department of Civil Services, were a lack of career progression, mentoring and managerial sensitivity.

“Company culture is important, and has to be aware of the sensitivities and values of UAE nationals,” he said.

However, he cautioned against employing Emiratis without the right qualifications.

“Competencies are important – they send a message that ‘how’ matters as much as ‘what’.
“You have to employee the right person, not just anybody.”

Kristina Turner, conference director, said young Emiratis were keen to prove themselves without relying on their family name.

“The challenge is that these younger people want to be promoted faster, want to move up quickly,” she said. “That energy is good and should be managed and harnessed by employers.”

Dr Bob Nelson, an author on motivation, said creating opportunities to learn, grow and develop in a job was one of the most significant factors for retaining employees, and especially Emiratis.

“You improve retention by harnessing motivation,” he said. “You have to assess the employee to understand his or her strengths in order to know what career guidance and counselling to provide.” Originally published by TheNational, Hala Khalaf.

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