Written by
Markus Wiesner

Published
04 Feb 2016

Motivate your talent in the GCC

04 Feb 2016 • by Markus Wiesner

Both the workforce and workplaces in the region are already in a state of rapid evolution: demographically, with the region’s employable population expected to double by 2050; socially – in light of the Arab Awakening; and culturally, with more and more young people and women expected to participate in the labour market.

As a result, there will be a much greater revival of regulatory changes and government-led policies impacting the labour market across all Gulf states. This would most likely advance towards further nationalisation, especially with an emphasis on greater participation of local talent in the private sector. The public sector will be under increased pressure in terms of efficient public spending and is already facing its own challenges of lower engagement and productivity.

Low engagement levels among nationals?

Over the past five years, we solicited the views of more than 20,000 employees in the GCC, via our Qudurat study, with an objective to understand the region’s human capital development. The study has revealed interesting findings on levels of employee engagement in the region. In particular, it points to mediocre engagement among GCC nationals. An alarming trend of low engagement has also been reported by public-sector staff, who are evidently not as motivated to do their best work every day.

How can you motivate key national talent?

It’s vital you face these issues if you want to invest wisely. For GCC national talent, our analysis indicates that addressing the following aspects of their work life will help you engage and motivate this talent towards higher performance:

Provide ongoing and consistent organisational support: Findings state that organisational support provided to GCC nationals, policies ensuring adequate work/life balance, more role clarity via well-documented descriptions and proper communication and the necessary job resources to perform their work well, will have a high impact on improving their engagement levels.

Inspire stronger confidence in leadership and managerial support: To increase engagement for your GCC nationals, consider policies that ensure higher visibility and communication from senior leadership to staff. Stronger communication and transparency is likely to make employees’ alignment with the broader organisational mission stronger.

Improve learning and development: Consider focusing more on applied learning rather than classroom training. Action-oriented learning, such as job rotations, means you can nurture nationals for senior posts.

Manage pay and career expectations: GCC nationals, younger and older generations and males and females at all organisational levels, place great significance on career growth and pay. Ensuring fairness in wages is critical and achieved through streamlined grading structures, job evaluation and robust internal performance management. Communicating pay changes to employees in a transparent way helps manage expectations. Career processes can also be better managed by building more robust career paths as well as setting realistic employee expectations.

There are no ‘easy’ solutions to the nationalisation challenge. But if your organisation is serious about investing in attracting and retaining nationals, leadership must be committed, and the organisation will need a systematic approach to address all aspects of the employment lifecycle to make it work for all staff.

Prevalence of learning modes for developing national talent