Tougher business competition, the growing use of new technologies and the arrival of a new generation of workers will result in big changes to the Middle East Human Resources sector in the coming years.
According to biz-group, a UAE-based business consultancy, here are the top five trends that will transform the regional market.
1# Learning and development: the need for a huge makeover
The gap between workforce skills and business expectations continues to widen. It has become urgent to address the skill shortages of the local workforce in a way that effectively contributes to the bottom line of business, and meets the expectations of a new profile of overwhelmed, impatient, distracted and digital-savvy learners.
With the growing use of the Internet, smartphones and social networks, technology will play a key role in remodelling the learning and development experience, by providing new formats of training programs including bite-sized, just-in-time and customized courses, videos and tutorials.
Among the most promising disruptive learning experiences is serious gaming, which facilitates the transmission of complex messages without boring the audience, while enhancing motivation and engagement.
2# Up-skilling HR is not an option anymore
There is an urgent need to reskill and redefine HR as an enabler and builder of talent, and a critical business function.
Although many companies are aware that HR up-skilling has become a priority, few have set up a comprehensive programme within their HR department to develop skills internally.
The coming years will see the HR function mature with more sophisticated and strategically-aligned training development programmes for HR practitioners that will align HR capabilities with business goals, supported by relevant analytic tools.
HR departments still lack adequate analytics and measurement processes that correlate HR data and performance to business data and objectives. Setting up such processes will highlight ROI and help senior HR executives strengthen their influence among high level senior management.
3# Culture and engagement: looking for a meaningful experience
Careers have changed and people, especially among the new generation, are looking for an experience, not just a job. The millennials, the generation who grew up in an electronics-filled and increasingly online and socially-networked world, eye companies with a strong corporate culture that are able to offer a real meaningful experience.
They place culture, much more than compensation, at the forefront of their priorities when accepting a job. Attracting and retaining millennials is a challenge for HR professionals in the Middle East where nearly one in three people are between 15- and 25-years old.
Companies must focus on developing HR programmes that measure and improve engagement, while defining and improving corporate culture, and that eventually contribute to drive and improve retention, knowing that 50 per cent of millennials intend to change jobs every two years.
4# Leadership: It’s time to prepare the next generation
More companies are aware of the importance of improving leadership skills and developing leaders at all levels, not only at senior level.
Although investment in leadership programs has increased over the past few years, there is still no real impact on results.
Leadership is treated as short-term training instead of a strategic initiative, and this approach comes to its limits in training the next generation of leaders effectively.
5# Workforce-on-demand: flexibility, capacity building and innovation
As a result of the increasingly unsteady and fast-moving business environment, the workforce-on-demand trend is on the rise.
Enhancing workforce capability by subcontracting freelance staff on a demand basis allows a company to shrink and expand more easily.
Beyond flexibility, the workforce-on-demand model can also offer companies the ability to explore and identify potential innovators, technical experts, and seasoned professionals.
In order to engage the on-demand workforce and retain talents, companies will need to consider how their HR programmes, strategies, and analytic tools can be applied to this specific audience.