Tips on how to cut staff turnover rates in the UAE

Opinion: Firms can reduce employee turnover through intelligent hiring, says regional head of Monster.com
By Sanjay Modi
Tue 29 Aug 2017 12:47 PM

The most valuable asset to successful businesses are the employees who help them grow. However, the reality is that turnover rates are high in today’s workforce.

Global rates are predicted to rise from around 20 percent in 2012 to more than 23 percent by 2018, according to the Hay Group, and the trend is particularly prevalent in the UAE and the rest of the GCC given the transient nature of the expat population, which makes up a large proportion of the labour force.

Reasons for employees leaving could include a variety of options, including family circumstances, immigration, higher positions, pay increases or more attractive companies. And, when employees move on, businesses are left with a void that needs to be filled starting with a seemingly endless flow of applications.

The challenge lies in building a strong and efficient team that works well together and can take the business forward. The key question is, therefore, what measures must be taken to build such a workforce, particularly in the GCC?

Statistics show that GCC companies and worldwide receive on average 100-200 CVs per job, which is a substantial amount of resumes to sift through for each position available. Although it may seem that large numbers of applications offer more options for employers, it usually makes it harder to find an ideal candidate.

To minimise the time spent sifting through applications and creating a shortlist of quality candidates, a system must be put in place using the following guidelines:

1. Re-evaluate specific business needs – Many recruiters make the mistake of posting vacancies that mirror the role of employees who have moved on. However, business needs are dynamic and talent requirements change. Before launching the search, carefully evaluate current and predicted business needs, then create an outline of the ideal, new candidate.

2. Market the vacancy attractively – Recruiters recognise good talent, which puts that talent in a position to be selective. To encourage talent to apply and accept any offer, promote the vacancy as an exciting opportunity by highlighting the company’s pedigree, describing a favourable working environment, demonstrating how the position can fulfil personal needs, or offering a competitive compensation package.

3. Set realistic expectations – That said, by making a position appealing, recruiters invite a higher number of candidates, so it is important to clearly outline the skills required for the job so applicants know whether they can fulfil them. Setting the right expectations will also serve as a guide through the interview process.

4. Eliminate unqualified candidates – Most jobs attract some applications from the wrong talent pool. Administering simple automated capability tests in the early application stage are an effective method of weeding out unqualified applications. However, keep these initial screening tests to under 10 minutes to maintain interest from applicants. More conclusive tests can be given at a later stage.

5. Check for undesirable traits – Thoroughly examine a CV to provide insights overlooked by recruiters. A candidate might appear to possess excellent skills, but a closer look may reveal flaws that indicate traits you would not necessarily want on your workforce, for example, lack of attention to detail, slow career progression and low loyalty levels.

6. Establish a candidate shortlist – Limit the final shortlist to the top 10-12 candidates. To do this, meticulously compare applicant skillsets and experience to the business needs established in step one. If you still have a large pool, start comparing applicants to the predefined superfluous criteria that are not necessary but would be a good addition to the team.

By Sanjay Modi, managing director APAC and Middle East, Monster.com

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