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Attracting Top Talent For Your Company Here's how your enterprise can sustainably tap into qualified (and diverse) talent pools.

By Suhail Al-Masri

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You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Ever since the industrial revolution, the notion of globalization has become exceedingly prevalent, as a result of reduced costs of communication and transportation. And with globalization comes migration, and expatriation of talent looking for better opportunities. This, as a result, facilitates truly cosmopolitan cities, such as that of the GCC countries, to boast very diverse workforces. Many nationalities are compelled to move to the GCC predominantly due to its unparalleled level of international strategic importance, which, in one way or another, stems from their strategic geographic location, and the fact that they hold abundant amounts of opportunity and high standards of living.

On the positive side, this presents companies with a plethora of talent with various backgrounds, skills, and qualifications. On the flipside, the challenge lies in digging deep to find and hire the best caliber, as well as maintaining healthy balance and diversity. Many companies nowadays need to position themselves as an ideal employer for national talent and expatriates alike. Now, the question is: how can employers, and even startups, sustainably tap into qualified and diverse talent pools? Here's how.

Talent acquisition methods in all sectors can easily fail if they remain reactive instead of proactive. That is to say, where activity only starts when team managers need to fulfil a certain quota or oblige with a particular law. Instead of doing that, employers should take a more proactive approach towards talent management. This begins by acknowledging the role of the HR department as the partner within the organization, and by working collaboratively to develop a conclusive talent acquisition strategy that goes alongside the goals of the whole organization, as well as the broader governmental regularizations or nationalization targets. That being said, this talent acquisition strategy should never lose sight of the organization's goals and priorities. Factors like technical requirements, desired soft skills, culture fit, and so on, should still serve in a fundamental way as a yardstick for fulfilling talent needs.

Many employers easily fall into temptation of galloping through the hiring process with little to no consideration to competencies, mainly as a result of limited funds, time, and need. Which can easily lead to a large number of underqualified or unqualified employees who don't have the right skills for the jobs they hold- that is the wrong employee in the wrong position.

According to the 2017 Bayt.com Middle East Skills report, talent mismatch is a serious concern. More than six in ten employers and five in ten job seekers believe there is a skills gap in the Middle East and North Africa region. This study conducted by Bayt.com sheds light on the fact that even with the abundance of choice, companies need to adopt effective recruitment strategies to perfect the matching process. This also means that the development of competency frameworks that employers can base their talent management strategies on is a must. A competency-based strategy is much more sustainable than going with the flow and hiring for the sake of filling their vacancies in the shortest amount of time and at the lowest cost possible.

The benefits of having a competency framework can include the following:

By having a competency framework, employers can effectively develop and map a workforce plan that is solely based on competencies that goes alongside the organization's demand and supply of certain skills and predicts future needs. Employers need to know what type of skills are required at their organization, in order for them to know their workforce needs, which can then aid in targeting relevant talent pools.

When employers have an outline on the type of competencies that they are looking for in employees, it makes the whole process of talent recruitment and acquisition much easier and efficient. This is mainly due to the fact that it can help focus recruitment processes on job related qualifications and base candidate attraction, shortlisting and screening on competencies. And what better way to plan and organize this process than with a fully automated applicant tracking system (ATS) such as Bayt.com's Talentera. By taking advantage of this kind of technology, employers can be sure to always have a healthy pipeline of talent for their workforce plan, as it can help them in sourcing, tracking, assessing and hiring professionals that best fit their needs.

Related: Standing Tall: Two Lessons On (Great) Leadership That Apply To Every Company

By knowing employees' competencies, employers can set certain learning and training programs that appropriately address the skills that they need to be develop. Along with that, career development and succession plans will depend on a clearer route. Constantly giving your employees opportunities to learn new skills and grow is one of the best ways to invest in your company's future, which can ultimately help bypass the skills gap problem completely, as you can then build your top talent from within, as well as improve retention rates. You should try to aim to form somewhat of a continuous learning culture, where your employees proactively strive to participate in their own development, and feel empowered to broaden their skillset by learning new things, and take on new projects.

Acquiring diverse talent is not an easy feat. However, these sentiments are gradually changing. The Middle East has a very young population, where a huge influx of graduates enter the labor market every year, altering such perceptions, and redefining what makes up the ideal workplace and the perfect job. Indeed, employers need to accommodate monetary and non-monetary expectations by revamping compensation and reward strategies, workplace culture, learning and development opportunities, and all other factors impacting talent attraction and retention.

With an organization culture that focuses on people and that rewards performance, employers can facilitate an employer brand that can seem more compelling to various nationalities or backgrounds. According to 2018 Bayt.com Ideal Workplace in the Middle East and North Africa Survey, medical insurance at 38%, followed by transportation allowance at 24%, and bonuses at 23% emerge as the top compensation benefits given by employers. The same study states that 58% of respondents feel that their potential workplace should promote flexibility by giving employees the option to work remotely– pinpointing to the alternative perks and benefits an employer can offer to increase attractiveness. Likewise, a culture of open communication and transparency goes hand-in-hand with the concept of people-first and diversity targeting. Employers who take true measures to ensure information is disseminated within the company, and transparency is seen even to job seekers, will have more success in their recruitment efforts.

An important step in establishing and communicating a company's unique culture is engaging in employer branding. Thousands of employers now turn to the online world to ensure they have a well established image among target professionals, in order to also draw a large talent pipeline and an engaged audience. With a comprehensive employer branding platform, employers can create their own personalized company profiles, which they can utilize to show off their company culture and brand. Not to mention the fact that they can communicate and engage with massive talent databases, targeting certain talent segments, and growing a follower-base.

Talent acquisition processes can vary between different companies, where each can have a certain objective when it comes to overall talent management, and where each can have a different outcome. This emphasizes the importance of constantly monitoring talent acquisition results as to shed light on any possible trends, and to identify any key areas of improvement. Companies need to look at very specific talent acquisition metrics such as yield ratio, time-to-hire, and offer acceptance rate, in order to have a methodical approach towards talent management and to compare the effectiveness of the various recruitment tools used. By doing this, employers can gain insights on what certain talent groups respond to best and what they don't respond to at all, which can help in adjusting their strategies to better suit the company's hiring goals and needs.

Related: In For The Long Haul: Building A Strategy To Attract (And Retain) Talent At Your Enterprise

Suhail Al-Masri

VP of Sales, Bayt.com

Suhail Al-Masri is the VP of Employer Solutions at Bayt.com. Al-Masri has more than 20 years of experience in sales leadership, consultative sales, account management, marketing management, and operations management. His mission at Bayt.com goes in line with the company's mission to empower people with the tools and knowledge to build their lifestyles of choice.

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