Emiratisation and Compensation & Benefits – part II

 Emiratisation and Compensation & Benefits

In my previous post I covered the basic elements that Compensation professionals can use in order to support emiratisation efforts in their organisation : salary ranges, allowances, KPIs and incentives. Today we will look at other aspects that you can focus on.

  • Performance management

Do you want to have different, and somewhat easier, objectives and KPIs for the UAE Nationals ? Personally, I don’t subscribe to that point of view as it basically is based on the assumption that the local talent would not be able to reach the same targets as expats. That is wrong and is reminiscent of basic racial assumptions. I believe we should all shoot for the same stars, as my friend Sara once said. And I believe the performance appraisal of everyone should be based on the same standards whatever the nationality.

However, your organisation may want to take into account that, given the very young age of the UAE population (65% of Abu Dhabi citizens are less than 25 years old), most Nationals are less experienced than their expat counterparts in the same role. Then why not establish the same targets, but put in place lower hurdles so that you start recognising performance at an earlier stage.

Or at the time of performance appraisals, you may want to consider putting in place a different ratings distribution curve for the UAE Nationals, more skewed towards high performance than for the expat population…

Similarly, you may want to adapt your promotions criteria. Emiratis are young, therefore a lot of them are at the beginning of their working years therefore trying to establish their careers – plus, HR surveys regularly confirm empirical knowledge that they culturally expect more frequent promotions than what is considered the norm in the rest of the world. So why not change your tenure criteria, especially for junior positions, and shorten the required minimum time on the grade for Emiratis to be eligible to promotion ?

  • The 3 Rs : referral schemes, recognition and retention

Other ways Compensation & Benefits can support emiratisation include implementing a referral scheme. This kind of scheme incentivises employees (and even sometimes people outside the organisation) to refer to the company good candidates for your open positions. It can apply to positions reserved for UAE Nationals, as well as those also open to expats. Usually the payout is in cash, upon the recruitment and subsequent successful completion of the probation period. This kind of programme works very well as it is much cheaper than regular recruitment costs through a recruitment agency or a headhunter, and usually provides CVS of higher quality (because the employee making a referral wants to ensure that his/her own reputation is maintained internally).

For an emiratisation twist, you can give a higher incentive for submitting UAE Nationals CVs, or incentivise only for Emirati CVs. You could even imagine a system that would pay more for submitting resumes for positions that are traditionally more difficult to fill with UAE Nationals, such as experienced managerial roles, or entry-level technical roles in a plant in the Western Region for example.

As far as retention is concerned, an idea to explore is to really target who should be eligible to the retention scheme. I suggest considering your populations of UAE Nationals in roles that are really difficult to recruit because of talent scarcity (for experience or specific technical skills). Maybe not all your Emiratis should be targeted. For instance, your young graduates may be easier to recruit and maybe you do expect a certain turnover on that population after 2/3 years, just like for any millenials in any country or organisation. So would a retention really work with them, and most importantly, would it bring your organisation enough value ?

Another population you may want to target for retention, and also target for recognition schemes, is made of expat managers who demonstrate their interest and capability in growing local talent. They coach, train, support, give opportunities and promote Emiratis. They can also be the technical experts who freely share their knowledge with their peers and younger colleagues, even if they are in a non-managerial capacity. These people are like gold to your organisation as they are the ones who are driving the culture of emiratisation in your company, on a pragmatic, realistic, day-to-day level. Recognise them and their successes in growing Emiratis. Put in place retention strategies to keep them. Highlight them as role models in your organisation so that they can inspire others to do the same.

So as a Compensation professional you have gone through salary structures, KPIs and incentives, performance management, recognition, retention and referral schemes, and made some decisions that align efforts towards the eiratisation targets of your organisation. Of course in HR there are many other things that can be considered, such as education sponsorships, accelerated career paths, special certification programmes, succession planning, jobs reserved for hiring UAE Nationals etc…

But always keep in mind that no matter what programmes you put in place, emiratisation comes from the top. Once you have a true commitment from the top management, the direction that your company takes will be clear. It may still be a challenge for your organisation to attract and retain Emiratis, especially if you are in the private sector, but with the right commitment and the appropriate supporting policies and approaches, you will for sure make some progress, and have an opportunity to give back to the country that is hosting us all.

What is your company doing ? Have you seen tactics that you wouldlike to share ? What worked really well at some of your organisations ? Don’t hesitate to share your stories in the comments section !


Related posts :

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind