Employee Retention – An emerging crisis in the Gulf.

Employee Retention

Employee Retention – An emerging crisis in the Gulf.

Expo 2020 in Dubai is going to transform the United Arab Emirates and impact greatly on neighbouring GCC states such as Qatar and Oman. In the last ten years, the population of the UAE has more than doubled to nearly 10 million. The conservative estimate of visitors to Expo 2020 is 25 million over the six month Expo period. It is estimated that roughly 275,000 associated jobs will be created. The list of statistics between today and Expo 2020 is endless and exciting. However, for organisations in the gulf one major headache is emerging.

This headache is how to retain employees. This is already a major issue in Dubai and neighbouring countries – but based on all projections the problem is only going to get worse, significantly worse.

The UAE and Dubai in particular, is a fast moving, young, competitive, unpredictable marketplace. Recently, Prakesh Menon, Executive Director of Thought Leaders Middle East said at the Dubai launch of the Retail Master Programme “In the months to come, we are going to witness a fierce war for talent among business groups and companies to retain not only their best employees but also recruit the leading achievers from among the competition’s ranks.”
Over the coming months OMT Global will publish a series of blogs which will help identify ways and means to begin to deal with this issue.

While there are numerous causes to high employee turnover, we believe that Learning and Development have a critical role in dealing with 3 of them.

These three topics will be discussed in our blog series called Employee Retention in the Gulf’

  1. 1.   Poor Management
  2. 2.   Lack of Performance Management Knowledge, Skills and Attitude
  3. 3.  The Learning & Development Bubble

Our series will feature Poor management of frontline Staff where managers have for too long been deemed a success by what KPIs they have achieved, not how they have achieved them. In an employee’s market, poor management has a massive impact on staff turnover. Worse still, even if your L&D department are training staff well, it could all be for nothing since they are not being developed on the job. The revolving door where one exits and another enters will find L&D spinning its wheels for the foreseeable future as long as it allows poor management practices to continue to silently drive up costs.

Another key issue is lack of performance management. High performing organisations manage staff performance well. The knowledge, skills or attitude to effectively retain staff through positive performance development and achievement is critical. Far too many managers have ‘back of cereal packet’ sound bites on performance management with no substance.

The last in this series is what we describe as ‘the L&D Bubble’. In many organisations L&D are often massively out of touch with the business. Training Needs Analysis is often done through a menu driven approach where management simply click on what courses they want to send their staff on. This is a Training Wants Analysis! If staff retention is a critical business issue L&D need to develop solutions. L&D often hide away developing curriculum without really focusing on the key business issues.

We welcome your questions, comments and participation.



Eddie O'Connell

With over 25 years’ experience in Marketing and Management Services, 16 of which were spent in the Asian Market, Eddie brings his international flair and multi-cultural understanding to his consultation, coaching and facilitation interactions. As a highly competent Culture & Communications Specialist Eddie has worked with Senior International Managers from large multinationals right across the world on a one to one and group basis helping them integrate with various Business Cultures. At OMT Global, Eddie sits on the Board of Management and has led a global roll out of a retail excellence programme to over 45 countries for the world’s leading travel retailer. He has also developed a global associate network of over 80 associates. Eddie enjoys working with OMT because of the diversity across the team and the support given to each individual. Eddie has a true passion for developing people, helping them to better understand themselves and become a better, stronger and more capable people.

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