Q&A: Deepak Goyal: "Qatar's Vision 2030 will significantly boost employee engagement"

Author: Kirsty Tuxford | Date: 21 Sep 2016

The senior HR consultant on why employee engagement is a new priority for the country’s corporate sector

Deepak GoyalHR experts in Qatar met at a seminar organised by HR solution provider Dulsco recently, to discuss the importance of employee engagement and how it can boost the growth of the country’s corporate sector. While many Qatari organisations are focusing on developing more sophisticated employee engagement strategies, some reports say that certain groups, such as local graduates, are not being reached. People Management spoke to Deepak Goyal, a senior HR consultant who has worked with WABCO and General Motors, to find out who is leading the way in employee engagement.
 
How sophisticated are employee engagement initiatives in Qatar?
More organisations are starting to pay attention to employee engagement as the region shifts towards productivity and retention. Traditionally, there have been some limitations on foreign talent being able to change employers within Qatar, but with the government set to liberalise this, I expect to see more focus on employee engagement.
 

 The government is also creating a lot of initiatives focused on human capital in line with the Qatar 2030 Vision, including significant improvements for blue collar workers.

 
What key elements of employee engagement are organisations getting right?
What they are getting right is to realise the need to have it, and the government supports this too – ‘The Right to Development’ aspect of the Vision 2030 will significantly boost employee engagement.
 
Qatar Gas and Qatar Petroleum, for example, have taken a very comprehensive approach towards employee engagement, and have been doing this for over a decade. They hire, develop and promote local nationals in a very systematic fashion – and offer overseas placement, education, mentoring, challenging roles, etc. This has resulted in some excellent local leaders who have taken C-level roles in other big organisations.
 
Milaha – a maritime and logistics company – also has excellent trainee development programmes, which include sponsorship of higher education, on-the-job training and coaching. This is supported by a strong management culture from the top, to treat employees fairly. They are outperforming the market by at least 50 per cent on attrition. Their attrition rate is in single digits compared to the market average of 16 per cent, according to an Aon report.
 
Recent reports suggests Qatari organisations do not understand the needs of nation’s graduates – going on to say that thousands of graduates are unable to find proper jobs.
The market has certainly taken a beating, and there are fewer opportunities. But some graduates also have unrealistic expectations – they expect managerial or senior roles as their first job, which is simply not possible.
 
Not all organisations have spent enough time understanding and developing an employee value proposition for nationals, nor do they have a varying employee engagement strategy to meet the needs of different age groups. Unfortunately, many employers still take the attitude that they merely have to ‘meet a quota’, so they lack meaningful programmes to develop future leaders. As per the data, Qatari nationals demonstrate a strong desire to achieve high-level managerial positions as quickly as possible, with 72 per cent of Qatari youth regarding their current role as a step to their next job.