Great Place to Work® Institute UAE, part of a global research, training and consultancy firm that recognizes the best workplaces in over 45 countries worldwide, revealed its third annual list of ‘Top 15 Companies to Work For in the UAE’ during an awards ceremony at The H Hotel (formerly The Monarch) in Dubai yesterday.
Reclaiming the number one position in 2013 was inaugural winner Microsoft Gulf. Having been edged out by FedEx Express last year, the company put significant effort behind many of its workplace programs such as its Work-Life Balance Charter, which according to the Institute helped the company to achieve the highest score in its proprietary trust measurement tool, The Trust Index®.
Following increased participation in this year’s program, the annual benchmarking study – which assesses the level of credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie within an organization – has expanded from a list of top 10 companies to a list of the top 15. Only companies that achieve 75 points or higher appear on the list with scores based on a confidential employee survey and an audit of management and HR practices by the Institute.
This year’s runner-up was Marriott, which climbs one spot from its 2012 result, followed by last year’s winner FedEx Express in third position. THE One and DHL came in fourth and fifth places respectively.
Ranking from sixth to 10th place on the list were Ericsson, Omnicom Media Group, Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), Bayt and EMC. Rounding out the final five positions on the list were Pepsico, Dulsco, Merck Serono UAE, General Electric and Mondelez International.
In addition to its awards for overall workplace excellence, the Institute gave special recognition to the country’s ‘Top Companies for the Millennial Generation’ and ‘Top Companies for Women’.
Microsoft, THE One, DHL and Marriott were acknowledged for implementing best practices in hiring, developing and retaining millennial generation talent. According to the Institute these companies’ programs hold valuable lessons for the UAE business community on how to develop the highly influential and tech-savvy demographic of 20-something year olds.
Based on the importance of women’s empowerment, and their full and equal participation at all levels, the Institute recognizes globally the best workplace environments for women. In the UAE THE One, DHL, Marriot and Paramount were four companies commended for their efforts in enhancing the workplace experience for women.
Commenting on the Top Companies lists, Dr. Michael Burchell, Vice President of International Operations at Great Place to Work®, and Partner & Director of Great Place to Work® Institute UAE, said: “We would like to thank all the participants in this year’s program. The expansion of the 2013 list is testament to the value UAE companies place on human capital development. We are also really pleased to see the entry of new companies on the list, among which is our first government entity. With human resource development a core focus of the UAE’s 2011-2013 economic strategy, we hope more businesses will adopt the Top Companies program as a measure of best practice.”
David Robert, CEO of Great Place to Work® Gulf, added: “What is really exciting is the significant improvement UAE companies are showing in terms of employee trust levels and effective HR programs. Benchmarking these companies against our global lists shows the UAE ranks as the eighth-best nation for trust in the workplace.
“We also felt it was important in 2013 to recognize the top companies for the millennial generation and women. These are two segments of the population that are radically changing the way in which business is conducted and the best companies are implementing some extraordinary programs to multiply the contribution these groups make to their organizations.”
The ‘Top 15 Companies to Work For in the UAE 2013’ and what makes them great:
While Microsoft has a business focused culture, it also works to create a sense of work/life balance. To that end, it introduced across multiple teams & businesses within Gulf the idea of having a visible Work-Life Balance Charter that the whole team prepares and signs together. This sets the principles that the team feels would assist in raising awareness of some of the key issues impacting an individual’s work/life balance.
Employees at Marriott benefit from a culture of appreciation. As an example, a Certificate of Excellence comes in the name of the associate from the Corporate Headquarters in Washington DC, and signed by the Company Co-Founder J. Willard Marriott, if an associate receives a thank you note from a customer on excellent service.
Fed Ex’s P-S-P or “people-service-profit” philosophy guides all of their efforts. To thank employees who exemplify PSP, it uses the Purple Promise Award (PPA) which recognizes a team member who goes beyond the typical expectations for his or her job to ensure the customer’s needs are met. Sometimes the individual’s effort requires the assistance of coworkers. In such cases, more than one employee may receive a Purple Promise Award for the same endeavor.
4. THE One
At THE One, employees are invited to participate in the organization’s community involvement efforts. THE One set up THE Onederworld – a Sustainable Village Community programme with balanced quality Education at its heart. Presently, six classrooms of a brand new school have been built in the Pimbiniet community in Kenya in conjunction with Free The Children.
At global logistics firm, DHL, their human capital work has centered on their ‘employee value proposition’ which includes Growth, Impact and Pride – all of which are evident from their onboarding programme to the customized learning and development plans each employee receives.
For over 10 years Ericsson employees have provided essential mobile communications to support disaster relief and humanitarian aid through Ericsson Response. Ericsson Response is a non-profit employee volunteer initiative that works in partnership with aid agencies to facilitate ICT solutions for their key missions; humanitarian relief work in disasters and enablers of economic growth and quality of life. This non-profit activity engages Ericsson employees in volunteer work with no commercial objective and is a key component of Ericsson’s corporate responsibility activities. Not only is it inspiring those who participate but is a source of motivation, empowerment and value creation for all Ericsson employees.
The OMG’s HR forums are championed by the senior management and HR Leaders and provide a confidential team environment for all employees to have a voice about their working lives. This incorporates all facets associated with discussing company initiatives, policies, idea generation, learning and development and enhances the collaboration between management and employees to create empowerment across the entire organization.
On January 29, 2000 H.H UAE President issued a federal decree to set up a public authority in the UAE’s capital, which was called “Securities and Commodities Authority – SCA” The Authority enjoyed a legal entity, financial and administrative independence with the control and executive powers necessary for it to discharge its tasks in line with the provisions of this law and the regulations issued in implementation thereof, noting that the authority reported to the minister. SCA earned a spot on the top UAE companies list in part because of its creative approach to thanking and motivating its employees. SCA offers a continuous variety of awards, recognition programs, and incentives that drive employees to grow and drive toward both personal and professional goals. SCA also offers generous benefits – such as enhanced maternity and paternity leave – and interest free loans to employees for cars and homes.
Bayt works hard at creating an employee-centric culture. In developing employees, for example, it conducts a daily training. These 30 to 40 minutes training sessions are called STARS training and the content is prepared by a baythead and the same content is shared across the offices each day.
EMC works hard to provide a caring culture, going beyond what is required. For example, it grants paternity leave, marriage leave, compassionate leave, even though it is not required to do so by labor law. And it grants public holidays in excess of government announcements.
Employees at PepsiCo benefit during welcoming from an assigned “functional onboarding coach” and a “culture coach.” These two mentors help the new employee adjust to the company and its culture.
Dulsco actively listens to employees. Its open door and ‘open office’ model facilitates two way communication, especially down-up, and it also has Suggestion Boxes across every location/department to encourage suggestions through awards and recognition. The GPTW employee satisfaction survey is conducted each year to understand the areas of strengths and weaknesses and to understand how it fares against other companies. The results are shared with the management and plans are designed for improvement in the following year. Results are announced to the entire organization along with the improvement plans.
13. Merck Serono UAE
Effective communication is important to Merck UAE. It developed an “Employee Council” where every 15 employees elect one member to be their voice to senior managers. The employee council meets directly with the managing director of the organization, the HR director and the VP of the region. In this meeting, all issues are discussed openly and there are no barriers to topics. Direct feedback is given to the employee council who transfer the message back and answer all queries of their respective teams.
14. General Electric
HealthAhead is a GE company-wide initiative for employees that promote a culture of health through support, programs and resources to promote healthy living at work and at home. HealthAhead focuses on a variety of topics crucial to employee health, including nutrition, tobacco cessation, exercise and preventative health workshops. In addition, healthymagination is a GE corporate initiative that focuses on employee and public health. It’s about becoming healthier, through the sharing of imaginative ideas and proven solutions. It goes beyond innovations in the fields of technology and medicine, celebrating the people behind these advancements. Healthymagination also builds stronger relationships between patients and doctors, allowing them to gather, share and discuss healthy ideas.
Every year in the first week of October, Mondelēz International globally participates in CSR work. A testimony to the sense of pride and CSR the employees have…last year, Kraft Foods MEA, FZE created the Longest Line of Sandwiches (Guinness World Record) and then distributed these sandwiches along with a few more of our products in the Labour Camps in Dubai (5500+ meal boxes were distributed). These sandwiches were completely made, packed, delivered and distributed by Kraft Foods MEA , FZE employees. This year as well, employees packed 5000 + meal boxes to be distributed to camps in Somalia and Pakistan. Similar CSR efforts of packing food for the hungry, educating at-risk youth about health and nutrition, supporting disaster relief efforts, and providing aid to the elderly, disabled and low-income families were replicated in its plants in KSA and Bahrain.
Do you work for any of the companies listed above? If yes, why not share with us on why you think your company deserve to be on the top!