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Our people

In our drive to be the best employer of choice, we strive to hire the best talent, provide training and development opportunities, and a healthy work environment combined with the best benefits and compensation structures in the UAE.

Our aim is to continue to set the benchmark for all other organisations within the UAE on employee training and benefits.

Please click on the tabs below to learn more about our performance in the respective areas.

  • Emiratisation and national development

    As an Emirati company, we’ve always believed that one of our foremost responsibilities is towards the country’s citizens – in helping them develop and grow as we grow ourselves, and contribute to the UAE’s knowledge, economy and vision.

    At the end of the year, 33% of our total workforce was comprised of UAE Nationals, and this figure stands at 54% for our senior management team. Our Fujairah Call Centre continues to be staffed exclusively by Emiratis, and its 90% female staff is a stellar example of our commitment to fostering women’s careers.

    We’re pleased to state that we recorded a significant reduction in the attrition rate of our Emirati staff – from 28% in 2013 down to 8% in 2015. This reduction is a direct result of several initiatives, such as our Career Development Programme, where we offer training and support to our Emirati colleagues, including coaching, mentorship, and on- the-job and classroom training to help prepare them for the next career level.

  • Employee engagement

    We are aware of the benefits associated with a highly engaged workforce, and as such, our efforts are geared towards actively listening to our employees and ensuring we have the best practices in place to boost their engagement and productivity. In 2015, we received the Gallup Great Workplace award for the second consecutive year in recognition of our continuous efforts to improve engagement.

    In the past year, 1,500 of our colleagues attended over 200 Action Planning sessions by the end of the first quarter. Most business units also went beyond this to actively discuss the outcomes of these sessions and company performance at quarterly “town hall” meetings. One of our other focus areas was related to improving collaboration and coordination between various departments. The launch of our ‘Be Our Guest’ programme was instrumental in achieving this by allowing our colleagues to rotate among departments and thus, learn more about other job functions.

    Our management also encourages innovative thinking throughout the company. Last year, we took our existing innovative ideas initiative one step further by adding a more organised structure and incentivising idea generation through a rewards and recognition scheme. The success of our ‘Ideas UK Platinum’ accredited scheme is evident through the results; over the course of 12 months, our colleagues generated over 4,000 ideas, of which more than 1,100 were accepted, and approximately 700 implemented within the year.

    We have a robust employee grievance mechanism that aims to resolve any complaints without discrimination, and in keeping with the UAE’s Labour Law. In 2015, we had five grievances filed, none of which were appraisal related or taken to the Labour Court. This is a 70% reduction in the total number of grievances against 2014. Our initiatives to enhance our colleagues’ understanding of their role expectations through clearer objectives and our Employee Performance Management System (EPMS) are key contributors to the reduction in grievances. We are now working to further develop our grievance process and communicate this to our staff, while also ensuring that there is absolute confidentiality maintained about any raised grievances.

  • Training and development

    We consider the growth and development of our people to be an investment in the sustainability of our business. Learning and development is delivered through du University, a career planning framework that develops technical, functional, management and leadership skills competencies for all employees. Flagship programmes under du University include the School of Leadership, Retail Sales & Service Academy and Enterprise Sales Academy.

    All our managers are required to conduct a structured annual review with their teams to assess performance, identify their learning needs and build their development plan using our customised competence development framework portal.

    We clocked an average of 54 hours per year per employee; women averaged 56.5 hours while men averaged 54.8 hours. In parallel, over 200 of our outsourced staff were trained via the Retail Sales & Service and Enterprise Sales Academies. Further, our aim to promote a culture of self-learning and development, facilitated through the availability of over 300 online training materials, was successful. Over the year, we recorded 22,803 hours of training online.

  • Employee wellbeing

    We are conscious of the need to promote the wellbeing of all our employees in order to gain the best performance from them. This extends beyond just the tracking and alleviation of illnesses, and looks at providing opportunities for our staff to engage in sports and fitness as part of improving overall work-life balance.

    Our commitment to wellbeing is championed by our Chairman, who himself participates in various fitness activities. This enthusiasm cascaded down our management team, where health and wellness was included in the overall KPIs for 82 of our executives.

    We offer a number of opportunities for our staff to participate in wellness activities. We started several sports clubs headed by our colleagues, and organised our first-ever internal Olympics. In our efforts to promote a culture of wellness, we also encourage our staff and their family members to participate in fitness activities by covering their participation fees.

    Our efforts to promote a healthier workforce also played a part in boosting our colleagues’ engagement levels, as evident from our Gallup results. Our staff rated their satisfaction with these activities at 4.4, and more importantly, rated the contribution of these wellness initiatives on overall wellbeing and productivity at 4.46. Our success is also evident in the average of six sick days per employee in the year, which is half of the entitlement of 12 days.

  • Diversity and equal opportunity

    We’re proud to foster an environment that celebrates the diversity and experiences that all our 1,889 colleagues bring with them. As of last year, we had a total of 1,653 full-time employees comprising 1,179 males and 474 females. Fixed term contractors were 236 of our total staff, split as 176 males and 60 females.

    Results from our initiatives to heighten employee engagement and satisfaction were also evident in the reduction of our attrition rate, which was under 10% at the end of the year. Over the course of the year, our employee turnover was at 9.21% - a reduction from 15.96% in 2014 – as a result of our commitment to heighten engagement.

    For all our full-time employees, we allow paternity leave of three days and maternity leave of 45 days. During 2015, 110 of our colleagues went on paternity leave and 33 instances of maternity leave. We are happy to report that of all the parental leave taken during the year, only one of our colleagues opted to leave our employment following the expiration of her maternity leave.

    Our stated policy commits us to providing equal opportunity to all, irrespective of race, gender or religion. In our last report, we mentioned the presence of four colleagues with disabilities. As of last year, all of these colleagues have remained with us, two of whom continue to maintain regular working hours. Of the remainder, one is working on reduced hours while the other has been provided with visual aid to support the disability.

  • Occupational health and safety

    Our Health, Safety and Environment Policy ensures that we provide a safe working environment for our employees and visitors. It also ensures that we are an environmentally compliant organisation by putting adequate measures in place to ensure environmental protection, thus being in line with global and local commitments.

    We proactively identify hazards and risks to minimise injury or ill health. In 2015, we visited and assessed a total of 73 sites – six office locations, two warehouses, 48 retail shops/kiosks and 17 technical sites, which were the key focus for these assessments.

    During the year, we recorded only 31 incidents, of which 26 required first aid or a hospital visit, with the remainder associated with fire-related emergencies. The overall incident rate was 0.9 for men and 0.8 for women. All staff and/or the identified HSE roles, as held by our 74 Emergency Coordinators, can report incidents through the self-service request system or by calling the call centre to report an incident.

    During the year, we also received the UL Indoor Air Quality Building certification which is the world’s first Comprehensive IAQ certification and preventative maintenance program. The IAQ certification also demonstrates our commitment to our employees’ wellness by complying to the many physical, chemical and biological hazards affecting employee health.