Joumana Hathout, GM of People and Culture at OMG, explains the challenges and solutions to maintaining a happy and productive workforce.
How has 2022 been going at OMG in terms of recruitment?
2022 has been very active on the talent acquisition front, specifically in digital disciplines. We believe this trend will continue in 2023, as our business partners, both clients and media, further enhance their digital capabilities and strengthen their involvement in that space. We also expect to see further organic growth in our operational roles.
Did the Great Resignation predicted in 2020 materialized in the region and if so, how do you explain it?
We have certainly experienced the Great Resignation trend. According to the latest PWC survey conducted in the United States, workers prioritize flexibility and well-being. However, employees in our region have different priorities, including a desire to return to their home country, burnout, career shift, and others.
What are the main drivers behind employees’ decisions to change jobs or accept a new job offer in the GCC?
In the past few months, the main driver for changing jobs has been the exhaustion caused by the industry and clients’ demands. It’s been challenging, and the appeal of a less demanding industry is strong. What leavers seek is a role or sector where the load is more balanced. Another reason is a relocation outside of the GCC.
Which roles are most in demand by job-seekers coming to you? Which roles are you most looking for at OMG?
Applicants are primarily after marketing and planning roles, social media, and community management. We are continuously looking for candidates at various levels of seniority in all disciplines, digital and operational.
Have you implemented salary increases at OMG in 2022?
We haven’t implemented any increases in 2022.
Are you adapting your compensation schemes in any way to attract/retain employees?
We are not implementing any changes to our compensation schemes, instead focusing all our efforts on enhancing our employees’ experience, elevating our culture and engagement efforts, and redeveloping our training and learning curriculums.
Research shows that salaries are increasing more abroad than in the GCC. How does this impact recruitment and retention?
We are not aware of an increase in salaries abroad.
The GCC is a very attractive location from lifestyle, financial, and career perspectives. The region’s openness and attractive tax regimes mean that our ability to recruit and attract talent has not been impacted.
With inflation hitting economies worldwide, how are you supporting your staff?
The rising cost of living, notably energy and food prices, is the result of global factors, like geopolitical events and the ongoing pressure on supply chains from the pandemic. It is impacting all countries. Inflation is a global problem and a vicious circle. There is a limit to what cost increases our clients are ready to bear or able to pass on to their own customers. This leaves us very little room to adjust salaries. Salary increases, similarly to other years, are contingent on company and individual performance.
Many organizations in our industry are calling their staff back to the office, moving away from flexible/remote work. What about OMG and how does this impact recruitment/retention?
We’ve been back in our offices for the past two years. […] This is no longer a factor in our recruitment/retention approach. We still offer flexible options and support people who need to work remotely. Although our model may differ from country to country, the principle remains the same: agility and flexibility to deliver best-in-class results [for] our clients.
How have the new labor laws in the UAE transformed the way you approach employment? In KSA, boosted by Saudi Vision 2030, in terms of women employment in particular?
We are very encouraged by the new laws in the UAE and the ambitions of Saudi Vision 2030. Both are very aligned with the way we’ve been operating for years, with DE&I as a core pillar of our strategy. These laws will contribute to making the region even more attractive to international talent and support rich and fulfilling careers. That can only be a good thing for everyone.
Has the role of HR teams transformed and even been strengthened by the recent crisis? If so, how?
Talent has always been critical to our industry and the pandemic has just reinforced this notion, putting our function at the forefront of our response for both the business and the individual. If nothing else, we’ve had to become more ‘live,’ always on, virtually 24/7. We’ve had to watch and listen more, to respond more quickly and appropriately, in two ways.
One, using technology to get closer to the business, using people analytics and dashboards. These highlight trends and flashpoints earlier and more accurately than what we could do manually. Second, we’re getting closer to people, opening even more channels of communications and programs to provide support and advice, well-being and development programs to help them operate and be at their best. It’s about tailoring to individual needs in a coherent and consistent whole.
We are a people business after all. They are our assets and our investments. We must stimulate their growth at all times.
This article was published in Communicate's latest issue.