Regional organisations need to recast their approach to employee engagement and retention.

Building human capital is one of the desired outcomes of the UAE Vision 2021 and increasingly becoming a priority for organisations, both in the public and private sectors. seeking to unlock their true potential.

While human capital development must be ingrained as part of an organisational culture, it assumes even more significance now, especially in times of dramatic social change and driven by unprecedented digital technology. It is important, more than ever before, to future-proof organisations to external and internal vulnerabilities, and your workforce serves as your first line of defence.

As the old mantra goes — your people are your best assets. Without a pool of talented, engaged employees, a business will struggle to maintain competitive advantages. Here are four powerful tips that will help maximise the human capital strategy of your organisation this year:

Act on your 2018 engagement insights

Organizations understand the importance of continuous dialogue with employees to enhance their experience. According to Aon’s “2018 Employee Experience Research Report”, nearly 82 per cent of organisations in the region are measuring engagement, and 96 per cent are planning to do so in the next two years.

If your organisation ran an engagement survey in 2018, now is the time to act on the key findings. Invest your time in the most impactful drivers of engagement and identify the best interventions to elevate the employee experience, which will not only add to employee morale but boost retention.

Key factors of engagement can include engaging leadership, talent focus and the ability for organisations to be agile, in addition to the basics of employee satisfaction such as reward, work-life balance and job alignment.

It is worth noting that employee satisfaction is not the same as employee engagement. An engaged employee is somebody who is deeply involved and invested in their work, resulting in higher productivity, customer satisfaction, innovation, retention and quality.

Research suggests engaged employees also require less training time, experience less illness breaks and have fewer accidents. Employee satisfaction should be considered as a prerequisite that needs to be met as a minimum, for an employee to be fully engaged.

If you did not undertake an employee engagement survey, it is never too late to start. Our research shows that best employers focus on gathering and acting on feedback continuously, throughout the employee life cycle, creating more opportunities to enhance the employee experience and drive business performance.

Make succession planning the norm

The pace of transformation in the Middle East — and the world, at large — is extraordinary, driven by digital technology. With so much change in the region, ensuring organisations have a strong pipeline of leaders with digital readiness should be at the top of every employer’s agenda.

Across any business, new ways of thinking and acting upon ideas are becoming the norm rather than the exception, because young, digital-savvy people are more attuned to the aspirations of their peers and seek to engage with them in ways entirely different from legacy practices.

This, no doubt, also creates conflicts in organisational hierarchy. But it is important for businesses to look at the transformation change around them with greater objectivity and plan for the long-term. They need to be agile, flexible and relevant, and in this, clear succession planning is important. Organizations must ensure they have a robust framework in place to identify core traits and behaviours that will drive success in the future.

Identify and invest in high potentials

Identifying high potential talent at an early level will help build future-ready talent and allow you to retain your best people. Traditionally, organisations in the region have not been proactive enough in identifying top talent with the right skills/competencies to drive their business forward. However, the digital era we live in today is changing the rules of the game. And it is important not only to identify and hire young talents who will drive the organisation’s digital culture, but also to nurture their talent and create opportunities for career progression.

A more impactful recruitment policy

Organizations should focus on modernising their approach to talent acquisition utilising tools and data that will enable smarter recruitment decisions. By assessing talents through tools such as psychometric tests and Artificial Intelligence solutions, organisations can pinpoint the right people, reduce costs and time-to-hire.

These tools help recruitment managers quickly identify the best candidates, predict their behaviour and take informed decisions to employ people who are engaged or serve as the right fit for your company.

‘By making your human capital strategy a key priority, your business will benefit, and this is the most powerful tip of all. ‘ said Chris Page is CEO, Talent, Rewards and Performance at Aon Middle East and Africa.

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