Employee benefits are vital when it comes to successful and sustained employee engagement.
The unique structure of the UAE’s allowance and benefits guidelines allow companies to use their discretion to provide a wider range of employee benefits.
The best employee benefit programs are those that listen to the specific needs of the employees and responds most effectively to improve their job satisfaction.
To attract the best, you need to offer the best, and then you will get the best results.
As we have discussed in previous articles, strong employee retention and successful employee engagement are essential to ensuring the success and growth of your organization. It is your employees who can make the difference when it comes to your customer perception and your financial success.
Investing correctly in your human capital could be the best decision you make as a manager or business owner. To be competitive and recruit and retain the top talent, you need to make sure to consider what is most important to employees when it comes to their benefits and allowances.
Flexibility in your offering will put you ahead of others who haven’t responded to the shift in priorities within the modern workforce.
In fact, Harvard Business Review reported that 60% of people say that employee benefit programs and benefit offers constitute a significant factor in considering a job offer.
How allowances and employee benefits work in the UAE
While all of the Emirates have different departments and laws to govern their employment rules and protections, in the field of allowances, we can look at Dubai as a case study that is comparable to the remainder of the UAE. In Dubai, Federal Law No. 8 of 1980, also known as the Labour Law, currently governs the labor rights of employees in the private sector. Within this doctrine are legal requirements and guidelines on employer obligations to their employees. It covers areas such as working hours, vacation and public holidays, sick leave, employing juveniles, maternity leave, employee records, safety standards, termination of employment and end of service gratuity payments.
On the whole, the UAE differentiates itself from most other major cities in regards to their employment contracts. UAE employment contracts will include a remuneration package, and employee benefit offers as opposed to a single salary amount. Depending on the location or structure of the organization, employees can expect to see even the standard breakdown include:
- Their basic salary
- Their housing allowance
- Their transport allowance
- While not included in the monetary amount, these contracts will also cover health insurance and residential visa costs which are legally required .
It may also include additional employee benefits such as:
- Schooling allowance
- Flight home allowance
- Additional health insurance (i.e., Dental and optical)
- Family sponsorship allowance
Other employee benefit offers or incentives, however, are left to the discretion of the employer to inspire employee loyalty and improve job satisfaction.
The UAE has always facilitated the growth of international workers by encouraging companies to offer superior packages. Providing excellent employee benefits and allowances attracts a wider, diverse audience and helps grow the UAE economy. Employers who can offer more relevant and appropriate employee benefit programs will succeed in securing the best talent.
What are the most appealing employee benefits?
The diverse workplaces of the UAE include people from all different backgrounds, millennials to baby boomers. But while this diversity might mean their personal preferences differ, they are united in the common belief that finding a suitable work/life balance is crucial. This trend away from prioritizing work above all has highlighted the need for improved employee benefits, both financial and non-financial to properly engage employees.
The key to compensation benchmarking and offering the best solution for your employees is flexibility. You need to strategize what options are most important to your employees and work out what the company benefits you can offer based on your size and structure.
You must also take into account the unique priorities of the UAE workforce, for whom the cost of living can be cumbersome and therefore are more likely to desire employee benefits that combat that. Here are some of the options you could consider:
Financial-based employee benefits:
- Additional health insurance benefits such as dental and optical
- Child education allowances
- Pension planning assistance
- Performance related bonuses
- Overtime monetary compensation
- Profit-sharing or share allocation
- Rewards for good work – meals, trips, hotel stays, gifts
- Loan opportunities, i.e. for rent or car
- Referral bonuses
Non-financial employee benefits:
- Flexible working hours
- Remote working options
- Reward-based additional vacation days
- Time off in-lieu
- Fitness and Well-being programs
- Training and development opportunities
Recently the top employers in the UAE were announced by the Top Employers Institute. They were judged for providing good employee conditions, developing talent and optimizing employment practices. The winners, which included Adidas Group, DHL and Tata Consultancy Services, provided the highest levels of pay packages, perks, and engaging work environment. Some of the ones that were particularly highlighted were, “a salary above the legal requirement, the option of taking your child to work, offering a flexible-work option and the availability of several opportunities to develop an employee’s career.”
The most important element is that you listen to the needs of your employees and balance those as effectively as possible with the capacity of your organization. The benefit offers you make don’t always have to be financial; the non-financial ways in which you can improve your employees’ work/life balance are just as effective in engaging your employee and raising their productivity.
By having a flexible and competitive approach to employee benefits, your organization can ensure that it will not only attract the top talent but that it is far more likely to retain the existing talent it has. By putting your employees and their happiness first, you will significantly increase your organization’s chance of prosperity and growth.