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Posted by Hays UAE, June 2016

This month we discussed in the press how 94% of UAE employees want to stay with their current employer. But that doesn’t mean they will stay.

Employee loyalty isn’t always about money. Yes money is important for putting food on the table – but many studies conclude money’s more of a sub-motivator than a prime mover. It’s the factors which stir our intrinsic ambitions which truly evoke loyalty, such as increased autonomy, acquiring new skills, being able to express ourselves.

With that in mind, here are five ways which you can create loyalty in your workforce:

1. Learning and development


By up-skilling your employees you’re showing them both that they matter to the business, and also that there is room for progression within their role. I’d recommend conducting a skills assessment before deciding on what training you’re going to organise for each employee. The employee will better appreciate, and be more motivated by, a sensible and well-considered plan of training for them. You need not worry if your business/department has no budget for learning and development – many don’t – there should be plenty of free and relevant networking events and conferences your employees can attend, you just need to look around.

2. A clear path of progression

It’s not enough just to send employees off on training courses though. Employees need to be shown that there are more rungs on the career ladder that they can climb to within your business.

Make sure that you regularly (ideally at least twice a year) have meetings during which you discuss the employee’s ambitions and their promotion prospects within the business. If their promotion aspirations can’t currently be realised (due to lack of financial resource or that position being currently filled) then giving that employee increased autonomy or say within the business could be a satisfactory compromise.

That real sense of effort being rewarded with wider opportunities, whether it’s a promotion within the same department, another area of the business, or working in a new role in another country altogether, will fuel the motivational drive.

3. Recognition


Employees must be acknowledged and compensated equally for all of their contributions and achievements. Recognition comes in many forms, and it’s largely up to you and your good people management skills how well you execute it. Some employees would be greatly stirred by a formal recognition in front of other colleagues, such as a certificate or a team lunch, while others would prefer some extra praise and insight from yourself.

4. Autonomy and responsibility

It’s important that your employees know where they stand within your business and feel like a vital cog – you can help improve their sense of this by giving them more meaningful tasks and responsibilities. The more impact an employee has in your business, the more likely they are to feel connected to the business, and to aggregate the business’ success with their own.

Employees should also feel as though they have room and license to voice their opinions and ideas where necessary, without fear of being ignored or pulled rank on. Welcome feedback from your team wherever possible, and instil in them the feeling that their views matter to you and the business.

5. Work environment

Work-life balance is important, and can be greatly helped by being granted extra autonomy or flexibility, but it’s not just by increasing the life side of the balance that you improve your wellbeing. There are many ways you can help improve employees work environment which will greatly benefit their work-life balance, and thus their overall satisfaction, productivity and motivation.

Convivial working conditions such as proper ventilation, lighting and cleanliness are to be expected, however many companies have now advanced their work environment offering considerably, and consider it to be a real differentiator when it comes to attracting clients.

Creating a workplace that people enjoy being in and feel inspired by is another way of maintaining the motivational buzz – although that doesn’t mean blowing the budget on hiring interior decorators or buying the most expensive espresso machine. Why not ask your team to come up with suggestions for ways to improve the workplace environment, agree a wish-list, and then action at least some of these tangible, collective rewards when a specific target is reached?

A sense of friendship and belongingness is also a sub-category of ‘work environment’ which serves as the most powerful antidote to absenteeism and conflict within the workplace. Team building activities can help strengthen trust, respect, comradery and, ultimately, motivation.


Motivate before it’s too late!


Our press stories on Employee loyalty

The National: Employees leaving UAE jobs because of lack of career development

Gulf News: Are UAE expats still job  hopping?

Emirates 24/7: Loyalty or limited options? why more UAE employees aren't changing jobs