Top UAE companies to work: Yours on the list?

We all look for jobs but only a few are lucky enough to get associated with a company that features on the list of top employers in the country.

These are the best companies where employees are truly happy to work. Yes, they are happy to come to work, do the work assigned to them and probably leave the workplace equally happy.

For those who aspire to be in such a place and are looking for a change from their so-called horrible job, this is the list for you. And, for some, who are lucky to be working here, this is your chance to be proud as you are in a company that has just been awarded as one of the best places to work for.

The Great Place to Work Institute (GPTW), a global research and management consultancy that recognises the best workplaces in over 45 countries worldwide, recently released its list of ‘Top Companies to Work for in the UAE’ and we brief you on the top 15 here.

Scooping the top position in 2014 was the previous list maker DHL. Ranked at fifth place last year, the company put significant effort into refining its ‘employee value proposition’. Forming the cornerstone of the firm’s human capital work, the initiative outlines guidelines for developing DHL staff in terms of its growth, impact and pride. GPTW says the effect is tangible right across the organisation, from DHL’s onboarding programme to the customised learning and development plans each employee receives.

Previous winner Microsoft is ranked second in 2014, followed by Omnicom Media Group third, advancing four places from its 2013 spot. Ericsson moved up two spots to claim fourth place, while THE One, the top local company, rounded out the top five.

Ranking from sixth to 10th place on the list are FedEx Express, Marriott, Bayt, Weber Shandwick and EMC respectively. Rounding out the final five positions on the list are Emirates Transport, Fun City, Hyatt, Estee Lauder and Mondelez.

The study assesses companies on the following counts - the level of credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie within an organization. Most of a company’s score (two-thirds) is based on the confidential feedback of their staff, with an audit of management and HR practices by the Institute comprising the remainder of the score.

Interestingly, the top companies in the country do not come from a specific sector. The list is made up of companies that come from varied sectors such as logistics, technology, media, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. New list makers in 2014 include Weber Shandwick, Emirates Transport, Fun City, Hyatt and Estee Lauder.

Here are the top 15 companies to work for in the UAE in 2014 and why.

1# DHL

At global logistics firm, DHL, its human capital work has centered on its ‘employee value proposition’, which includes Growth, Impact and Pride - all of which are evident from their onboarding programme to the customised learning and development plans each employee receives. Every aspect of the employee lifecycle at DHL, from recruitment to retirement is closely aligned with the company’s core values, its business objectives and a mission of inspiring people to give their best - both in and out of the office

2# Microsoft

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.

3# Omnicom Media Group

OMG’s keen focus on work/life balance makes it stand out as a leading example of how organisations should integrate health and wellness into a company’s culture. OMG also enjoys genuine dedication and commitment from its senior leaders. 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 organisation.

 4# Ericsson

Ericsson is passionate about its people and it has shown that it is willing to put its people at the center of its business strategy. Ericsson invests a significant amount of time listening to its employees and using their feedback to help shape future programs. Ericsson is also committed to giving back to the community, and the company encourages its employees to volunteer. The company helps to organise volunteer opportunities to connect employees with community engagements.

5# THE One

THE One is arguably the top company when it comes to the visible commitment and engagement of the CEO. Having authentic and consistent support and involvement from the CEO when it comes to the engagement of employees is critical. THE One provides a unique and compelling social mission that its employees can get emotionally attached to, helping to motivate and inspire them.

6# FedEx Express

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 recognises 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 endeavour.

7# Marriott

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.

8# Bayt

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.

9# Weber Shandwick

Weber Shandwick recently moved offices. They made their in-house creative team work as a liaison between staff members and industrial designers and printers to ensure everything in the office represents the staff. From the plants chosen, to the imagery on our walls and even the bespoke welcome desk (that was custom-built to suit the height of our receptionist) - the Weber Shandwick Dubai office is branded with all of employees’ voices. They chose to engage all team members when branding the company, bringing their motto of “Engaging Always” to life.

10# EMC2

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.

11# Emirates Transport

Emirates Transport (ET) encourages a culture of collaboration and innovation. The company offers more than 15 publications to employees and partners about different activities and initiatives within Emirates Transport. One of the outstanding publications is a booklet named “I am proud of my Job” which includes real quotes from ET employees about their working experience at ET and what makes the company so special to them, as well as emphasizing the factors that makes them proud to be part of ET team.

ET has an ongoing suggestion scheme that allows employees to give suggestion on improving any matter related to ET, 17 per cent of the suggestions received from employees in 2012.

12# Fun City

Fun City earned a spot on this year’s list mainly because of its innovative hiring and orientation programs. The company is thoughtful as to the type of employees it selects and is generous with its orientation and onboarding effort, with the intention of making new hires feel completely welcomed. In addition, Fun City has placed more effort on how it recognises heightened effort and successes, as a way to inspire and motivate employees.

13# Hyatt

Hyatt’s culture is centered on its people. New joiners coming from outside the UAE are welcomed in the airport by their assigned buddies. Joining gifts is given to all employees. Hyatt HR sends post cards and gives employees a call on their birthdays. Sending dinner vouchers for two on associate’s retirement anniversary.

Each June, Hyatt hotels around the world participate in “Celebrating Our People,” a week-long event that recognizes the company’s most important asset and their tremendous dedication.

Hyatt offers a variety of development programs that are dedicated to empower and develop employees within Hyatt.

14# Estee Lauder

Estee lauder strives to build a culture in which employees are supported and respected. New joiners are welcomed by a welcome card sent to them before joining Estee Lauder. Expatriate employees are provided with a book called “Don’t they know its Friday” which is a resident’s guide and a Dubai Map explaining some of the differences with living in the Middle East. The book is couriered to employees before they join.

Estee Lauder runs a lot of social campaigns such as 'breast cancer awareness campaign', which the company is doing consistently and in addition to World AIDS Day and many others.

Estee Lauder has a programme called 'Dream space', which is a digital collaboration tool for employees. It is an innovation portal for idea generation. It basically aims to empower every employee to innovate and lead from every chair.

15# Mondelez International

Every year in the first week of October, Mondelēz International globally participates in CSR work. A testimony to the sense of pride the company install in its employees. Mondelez employees feel emotionally connected to these opportunities and it gives them a sense of accomplishment and inspiration that they bring back into the workplace.