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Covid-19: Skills that can go a long way in saving UAE employees from layoffs

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on April 4, 2020 | Last updated on April 5, 2020 at 08.11 am
CHANGING TIMES: Recruitment consultants advise employees to adopt a flexible approach on work under present challenging environment to avoid termination. - File photo

Recruitment consultants advise employees to look beyond hard skills.

With a large number of companies gearing up to temporarily lay off staff due to Covid-19 impact, recruitment consultants advise employees to look beyond hard skills and focus on adaptability, agility and emotional intelligence such as staying calm in pressure and being a team player to survive.

While sharing details and tips for staff to help retain jobs when companies are struggling financially, the recruitment consultants advise that employees agreeing to minimum compromise on annual leave, unpaid leave, salary cut-off, reduced working hours or removing fringe benefits, and bonus, among others, will also help to avoid termination.

Vijay Gandhi, regional director for Europe, Middle East and Africa for Korn Ferry, said there is no magic bullet as organisations look at better leave management, split teams and temporary pay cuts in the short-term.
"However, if the situation carries on for months then there would be more drastic measures taken such as unpaid leave, reduction in workforce to survive the business impact because of the pandemic. Today's workforce is plagued with skills shortages which are beyond the hard skills which are academic and measurable. It's more to do with the soft skills," said Gandhi.

Last week, the UAE's Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has already passed a new resolution last week for private firms affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus. The resolution allowed private firms to reduce salaries of employees permanently or for a temporary period, or send them on paid or unpaid leave.

Due to Covid-19, the International Air Transport Association last week said the UAE carriers will have 23.8 million less passengers, resulting in Dh19.67 billion revenue loss and risking 287,863 jobs.

In these unprecedented times, Mayank Patel, Country Manager, Adecco Middle East, says more than technical skills, it is very important for an employee to possess soft skills such as adaptability, agility and solidarity.

"Taking up new roles and going beyond the boundary of KPI's will help employees to manage high-pressure situations and support organisations to combat with crisis. Soft skills such as curiosity, digital know-how, persistence, resilience and most important is a sympathetic approach towards customers is the need of the hour. Survival of the fittest during the tough times, adapt to new way of work in market place and new organisation are some major skills that will help an employee to survive the transition," said Patel.

"Every dirham saved is like a million-dollar investment, employees and organisations must nurture this mindset and contribute towards organisation's cost saving, he said, adding that employees need to build both technical and no-technical skills.

"In technical skills, the employees must adapt to IT skills to operate remotely, digital skills, analytical skills and critical thinking to optimise company's virtual presence and continue business with customers," he added.

From an employer perspective, he said, being empathetic and considerate toward their people is of high priority.

"A minimum compromise on employee annual leaves, unpaid leaves, salary cut-off, reduced working hours or removing fringe benefits, bonus etc. might benefit instead of terminations and volume layoff," he added.


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