Home, sweet office: Best places to work for in UAE

Issac John /Dubai Filed on March 7, 2017 | Last updated on March 7, 2017 at 08.15 pm
Home, sweet office: Best places to work for in UAE

What makes a company a great place to work for? Is it attractive salary, perks, recognition or reputation?

What makes a company a great place to work for? Is it attractive salary, perks, recognition or reputation?

At the logistics company DHL, which led the list of the top 24 companies in the UAE preferred by employees to work for, the secret is nothing else but an outstanding workplace culture.

The logistics company provides a family experience that makes employees want to stay and prosper within the organization, said Great Place to Work - a global research, training and consultancy firm, which revealed the names of the top companies to work for.

DHL, which is maintaining the number one position on the annual benchmarking list for the fourth consecutive year, places people first, above any other business practice, understanding that a motivated and engaged workforce is a productive and profitable one.

"DHL prioritises living by its core values, nurturing employee development, creating a fun work environment, being transparent, listening and acting on employee feedback and celebrating successes. But what created the competitive advantage is DHL's close monitoring of the application of these HR practices and policies, leaving no room for deviation or bias," the research company said.

This year's runner-up was Omnicom Media Group, which advanced one spot from last year, followed by Splash, which also moved up one spot to take third. In fourth place was THE One, a position it has held since the list was launched, while Weber Shandwick came in fifth, climbing two places from 2016.

Maha Zaatari, managing director of Great Place to Work in the UAE, said as the UAE works towards becoming the world's happiest nation, employers are starting to recognize the crucial role their companies can play in achieving this goal.

"We are seeing among the top companies a greater emphasis on CSR initiatives as employers respond to employees' desire for meaning, to be part of something bigger. People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression. Happiness in the workplace is carried into the home and the wider society so it really is a foundational piece in building the happiness of a nation," said Zaatari.

Swami Natarajan, SaaS strategy and business development leader, Ecemea, Oracle, said to attract and retain the best talent, organisations should identify the primary sources of employee motivation, professional goals, or interests, and then provide them with a personalized retention plan. To achieve this, organisations need new HR.

"There are three key elements underlying the new HR. The first is talent, the second is data and the third element is strategy," Natarajan said.

Ziad Hasbani, CEO of Weber Shandwick Mena, said being placed into the top five great places to work is a remarkable achievement and strongly echoes employees' feelings about working at Weber Shandwick.

"As an agency, our focus has always been on creating a positive and stimulating work environment for our people to constantly evolve and succeed. We work in an industry were employee turnover is high but Weber Shandwick has one of the highest employee retention rates in the industry."

Hasbani said his company regards its people as the most valuable asset and they are undoubtedly the reason behind the firm's success as an agency. "We are a business of people and by placing our people at the center of what we do and empowering them, I'm confident that we can achieve great things."

Tonnit Thomas, founder and creative director - Tonnit Design, said finding the right employees to suit your organisation can be challenging which makes it all the more essential to ensure that their talent is nurtured. "Specialised training, mentoring and pushing to get the best out of them can be extremely helpful for companies."

Sajith Ansar, founder and CEO, Idea Spice Design, said it is critical that organisations decide and architect the values that define them and hire people who manifest these core values.

"Right from the interview process, the company must be a sieve that filters candidates with the right fit."

Michael Lodge, COO at Savant Data System, said today's high-performing employees are looking for compensation packages and benefits.

"Top talent's want interesting work which is stimulating and challenging. They might shift to another job for better compensation, but they want opportunities for career advancement within organisations with clear paths to promotions, a friendly environment where they can participate in the decision-making and be part of the team."

Ranking from sixth to 10th place in the list of great places to work were Estee Lauder Companies, HILTI Emirates, FedEx, Hilton and MARS respectively.

Rounding out the final 14 positions on the list were Biz Group, Hyatt, Eros Group, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Leminar, UAE Exchange, Al Fakher Tobacco, Dulsco, NMC Healthcare, Philips, Delta Partners, Danzas AEI Emirates, Mundi Pharma and Redington.

In addition to its awards for overall workplace excellence, Great Place to Work gave special recognition to Elie Khouri, CEO of Omnicom Media Group. Khouri was recognized as 'Leader of the Year for 2016-2017' for his efforts in keeping Omnicom Media Group on the Top Companies list for seven years and for achieving the highest Trust scores from direct reports amongst all leaders in the Top Companies program.



Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.

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