Recent years have seen several life-altering events that changed the business landscape altogether. Rising inflation, unpredictable market trends, and the coronavirus present difficult challenges for companies and employees. Around 85% of the United Arab Emirates’ labor force is demotivated and disengaged at work.
More than ever, employees are demanding an improved candidate experience alongside flexible work hours, and professional development, amongst other things. When hiring the best talent, companies implement systematic strategies to maintain a balance between productivity and work culture.
Let’s look at the current top 8 HR practices in the UAE.
What Are the Latest HR Trends in the UAE?
The Human Resources (HR) landscape is continuously transforming for the greater requirement of adaptability to turbulent workforce dynamics. Both employers and employees strive to find common ground by navigating through various trends and practices which address the needs of both parties.
According to a global survey of 70,000 working adults, 75% of UAE participants reported searching for new opportunities in the job market, even while employed. This indicates that employers desperately need to build an employee base that is long-term by incorporating foolproof employee retention strategies.
Thus, HR professionals are becoming more wary of this phenomenon and are gearing up to overcome it. From enhancing automation, utilizing AI, and focusing on employee well-being, HR trends are reforming the current workforce dynamic.
Top 8 UAE HR Trends for 2024
Automating the Process
The pandemic digitalized all operations and revolutionized the meaning of work for several organizations. Now, employees enjoy the efficient and swift process of completing tasks, due to automation software. While the UAE has made automation effective, it still has ways to go for optimal automated workflow.
Therefore, 2024 is the year where HR professionals and divisions are working on developing self-service procedures which streamline work for employers and employees. Automation encourages HR teams to shift their attention to complex tasks that have tangible growth advantages. Payroll management, expense reporting, and admin-heavy actions are now left to the software.
This HR trend maximizes productivity company-wide as trivial and mundane tasks are automated. It creates more space for creativity and a people-focused approach to functions that produce maximum results.
Incorporating AI Tools
Similarly, HR is now utilizing more AI analytic tools to identify employee retention, engagement, and talent gaps. Mastering HR Metrics is now a human-computer partnership, as AI’s benefits become increasingly apparent. As the UAE is the first country globally to elect a minister of Artificial Intelligence, it is rapidly adopting new technologies.
HRM solutions are using data insights to their advantage in making informed decisions and boosting organization growth. AI Talent Scouts are reshaping the hiring process, enabling a synchronistic relationship between employees and companies from the get-go. Additionally, generating interview questions and job descriptions are given to AI for a seamless, fast-paced hiring journey.
Emphasizing Business Resilience
All in-demand jobs in the UAE guarantee business resilience within the organization. UAE-based organizations are keenly observing changing market trends and preparing to align with them than resist them. While the UAE is storming ahead with operational flexibility, 2024 looks like the year when companies finally solidify this HR strategy.
Business resilience depends on three factors. Individuals – or, the employees and how engaged they are; information and how accurate it is; and, how integrated AI and employees are for increased company performance. Ensuring the quality of these elements produces more flexible resources, stronger work culture, and rich insights into company functions.
Prioritizing Employee Wellness
92% of UAE employees have faced at least one burnout symptom, revealing a massive concern for HR in terms of employee well-being. Previously known for its vigorous and relentless working environment, the UAE is now redesigning what culture means to them.
Given how overwhelming COVID-19 was, it is no wonder that after the ‘Great Resignation’, employees are prioritizing culture-related aspects of work. Through heightened engagement surveys, wellness check-ins, and implementing well-being strategies, HR is now equipping innovative work culture tips to ensure employee wellness.
Read more: Learn more about Compensatory leaves
Normalizing Remote Work
98% of UAE-centered firms are thoroughly exploring hybrid work dynamics after the pandemic as the key to employee satisfaction. In fact, a recent Workspace Report - the leading UAE trade show for workplace technology - states that the UAE is progressing to become a “global centre for hybrid working”.
Statistics show that amongst the future UAE workforce, or Gen Z, 70% prefer hybrid work. Thus, organizations have begun to devise plans to optimize engagement with remote teams. Normalizing hybrid work environments also strengthens work culture, concentration, and overall productivity. Therefore, this switch in HR trends is seen as a fruitful one.
Creating an Employee-Centric Culture
The insecurity ushered in by the pandemic forced Emirati firms to acknowledge the unique needs of employees in such times. More employees want transparency, benefits, and flexibility in their work styles. UAE HR trends quickly restructured around emotional intelligence in the workplace to fulfill both employer and employee demands.
Thus, many companies now lead with employee-centric HR solutions that are based on well-being, physical and mental wellness provisions, and work-life balance. For this, hybrid working, automation, and taking an inside-out approach by utilizing people metrics have proved effective.
Funding Upskilling and Reskilling
The Great Resignation impacted companies globally, including the UAE. This enlightened employers to the skill and talent gaps in employees working in a changing world. A major UAE HR trend, hence, has become the funding of skill development which corroborates with the new, digitized way of working.
Life skills, self-taught skills, and behavioral skills are becoming integral components in HR hiring guides as they screen new candidates. Several HR platforms have designed a Learning and Development (L&D) sector that encourages skill-building, reskilling, and mentorships. Occasionally, these include gamification which incentivizes professional growth.
Letting Millennials and Gen Z Lead
Data insights reveal that the younger generations are expected to reach 75% of the total employees in the UAE by 2025. Prabhu Ramachandran, the founder of Facilio Inc., shared with Gulf News that “young workers are changing workplace dynamics to reflect their priorities”. With this, HR trends are constantly adapting to nurture all rising talent.
Millennials and Gen Z navigate the workplace almost entirely digitally. Thus, many leading organizations are undergoing a digital transformation. That is, they are consciously swapping manual procedures with digitized software, mobile apps, and smartphones for higher engagement and productivity. For these tech-savvy generations, this poses as an ultimate game-changer in their workflow, enabling them to maximize their productivity and accomplish far-ranging achievements.
Also Read: Top Job Platforms in the UAE - and find your talent now!
What are the HR Trends for future in the UAE?
While the region is making substantial technological and practical advancements, it still has some way to go before perfecting the system. HR trends must alter and adapt to keep up with its rapidly growing economy, population, and job demands.
Firstly, it is fair to predict that the UAE will continue to invest in growing the virtual work landscape. The concept of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality has caught the attention of several corporate giants in the UAE. Furthermore, the existence of the metaverse is bound to be incorporated into firms to promote engagement and collaboration in employees, globally.
Through these digital workstations, UAE HR solutions can aim to enhance the quality of hybrid working, nurturing increased performance and efficiency. Therefore, these additions can play a crucial role in the future.
Secondly, as the UAE heightens its focus on digitizing workflow, it must then be wary of its carbon footprint. For this reason, the future of HR will include an environmentally-cautious approach to working.
There is expected to be an emphasis on Carbon Neutrality and ESG, encouraging employees and employers alike to upskill and reskill in coordination with eco-friendliness. Till now, the UAE is first on the leaderboard regarding meeting its Net Zero targets by 2050.
Lastly, we forecast that HR trends in the UAE will begin to focus on diversity in the workplace. Metropolitan cities like Dubai are being replicated and the job market now calls for more inclusivity in the hiring process. As citizens from different backgrounds flock to the UAE for its rapidly developing work landscape, HR trends will use this to their advantage.
More diversity and inclusion ultimately result in different yet rich viewpoints merging to produce something revolutionary. Therefore, it is almost inevitable that the UAE adopts this practice to foster tolerance, cooperation, and innovation in the workplace.
To meet the evolving needs of their workforce, organizations in the UAE are embracing these top 8 HR practices of the moment. They encompass various areas, including embracing technology and artificial intelligence, adapting to hybrid work models, and enhancing the employee experience.
By embracing these HR practices, companies in the UAE can not only navigate the current challenges but also create a more engaging and productive work environment. As the business landscape continues to evolve, organizations must remain adaptable and proactive in their approach to HR to thrive in the dynamic and competitive market.