GNcareers, from Gulf News

UAE's 15 best companies to work for

UAE's 15 best companies to work forImage Credit: Supplied

The latest study by workplace consultant and research company Great Place to Work (GPTW) Institute has named the best employers in the UAE.

These winning companies, representing a wide cross section of sectors including logistics, technology, finance, media, retail, hospitality and manufacturing, were chosen based on confidential employee feedback on workplace culture.

Organisations that have appeared in the top 15 list have, in one way or another, proven that they have built an ideal workplace, one in which employees enjoy and have pride in what they do, and feel that they are being treated fairly by the management.

Many of these companies have employee-focused initiatives that are designed to help staff advance in their careers and enjoy a better work-life balance, thus the benchmarking study serves as a great guide for jobseekers when looking for new employment opportunities.

''If a company is certified as being a great place to work, there is no higher validation than that. Their employees were the ones that said that anointed them so to speak. That certification is a competitive advantage in the race for top talent,'' Ron Thomas, chief executive officer of GPTW Gulf, told Gulf News.

However, the best companies don't necessarily offer the best salaries in the market. Thomas said the great workplaces are the ones that are able to establish a connection with their staff. ''You can pay a person top salary but if the environment is not suited to them, it is only a matter of time before they decide to leave,'' said Thomas.

''Money is a short-term motivator. Companies need to find ways to continue to connect with their employees. The new worker today is seeking more than a job, they are seeking a company that while seeking to maximise profit also are seeking to treat their most important asset as a partner.''

The institute has also named five small and medium enterprises that offer the best work culture in the UAE.

The top 15 companies to work for in the UAE and what makes them great:


This is the second year in a row that DHL wins the Great Place to Work for award. ''DHL proved it puts its workplace initiatives on top of its strategic plans,'' the institute said. The company has several people practices and policies that seek to inspire its staff to give their best. ''Every aspect of the employee life cycle at DHL, from recruitment to retirement, is closely aligned with the company's core values, its business objectives and mission of inspiring people to give their best - both in and out of the office.''

2. Ericsson

The company has a system in place that ensures it hires people who are closely connected with its culture. ''This enables new hires to succeed in their fast-paced and challenging environment. They have developed competencies for each role so that it enables the hiring process to narrowly define what is needed for each role,'' the GPTW institute said.

3. Omnicom Media Group (OMG)

OMG wants its employees to enjoy a good work-life balance. It conducts human resources (HR) forums and allows employees to voice out any concerns related to their work. ''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,'' said the GPTW institute.

4. 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,'' the institute said.

The company has set up ''THE Onederworld,'' a sustainable village community initiative. Through the programme, six classrooms of a brand-new school have been built in the Pimbiniet community in Kenya in conjunction with Free the Children, an international charity organisation.

5. Marriott

The company, that operates 4,200 hotels across the globe, has implemented an orientation and induction programme called ''In the Beginning,'' in which newly recruited managers meet with the management team that oversees the hotel properties and get introduced to the company's culture, standards, history and milestones. The hotel's employees are also given the option to work at any Marriott hotel around the world. Through its programme ''Spirit to serve our associates,'' the hotel helps employees advance in their career. ''Marriott International Inc. is one of the good companies that care about employees,'' the institute said.

6. Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder does what most UAE companies probably don't. Recruits receive a welcome card before starting their work at the company. Expatriates, in particular, are provided with a book called ''Don't they know it's Friday,'' which is a resident's guide, which includes a map of Dubai, explaining some of the differences in living in the Middle East.

The book is couriered to employees before they join. It also has a programme called ''Dream space,'' which is a digital collaboration tool for employees to encourages staff to share any innovative ideas with the company. ''It is an innovation portal for idea generation. It basically aims to empower every employee to innovate and lead from every chair.''

7. Weber Shandwick

The company, which has recently moved offices, ensures that its staff feel they're part of the team and that the management values how they feel. One of the many things it's done for its staff, the company has custom-built its reception desk to suit the height of its receptionist. ''The Weber Shandwick Dubai office is branded with all of employee's voices... From the plants chosen, to the imagery on the walls and even the bespoke welcome desk,'' said the institute. ''It chose to engage all team members when branding the company, bringing its motto of 'engaging always' to life.''

8. Hyatt

If you're a new recruit and based outside the Middle East or UAE, expect to get a warm welcome upon arrival at the airport. ''Hyatt's culture is centred on its people. New joiners coming from outside the UAE are welcomed in the airport by their assigned buddies. Joining gifts are given to all employees,'' said the institute.

On special occasions, such as birthdays, expect someone from HR to send a post card and give the staff a call. Every month of June, Hyatt hotels around the world participate in a week-long event that seeks to make staff feel valued. During this week, UAE employees get to participate in Zumba classes, photography workshops, pastry workshops, treasure hunt, Iceland/Wild Wadi Waterpark outing, special breakfasts and ice skating, among many other activities.

9. Leminar

Leminar is one of those few employers that go out of their way when an employee is in serious trouble. When one of its staff members came back from his wedding vacation and found out that his house was taken by another tenant, the company provided him with a suitable house until he was able to find a new place. Its employees get to enjoy holidays that are not mandated by the UAE government. Through its ''festival leave'' programme, any employee can take a vacation according to their needs and culture.

The company organises and celebrates events for women's day, breast cancer awareness and Ramadan. It pays attention to work-life balance, employees' lifestyle, and celebrates cultural and children's day, where kids can participate and perform anything they like. It never runs out of employee-focused activities, such as the Annual Picnic, Sports Day, Annual Party and Marathons, among many others.

10. Fun City

To ensure that its employees have a high degree of creative enthusiasm, the company has created an initiative called Spark, which stands for Spontaneity, Passion, Attention, Result and Kindness. ''This process identifies the competencies and traits that Fun City looks for in candidates. A truly unique approach to interviewing and hiring.''

11. EMC2

EMC2 ( is one of the few companies in the UAE that offers leave benefits beyond what is required by law and lets employees enjoy longer holidays. Employees can avail themselves of a paternity leave, marriage leave and compassionate leave, on top of their annual vacation. ''EMC works hard to provide a caring culture, going beyond what is required.'' ''It grants public holidays in excess of government announcements.''

12. WSP

Aside from maintaining a culture that is open, honest, welcoming and inspiring, the company hosts networking events that allow employees to meet likeminded professionals and gain industry knowledge. It has a newsletter that updates employees on company initiatives and celebrates staff contribution to the business. ''In WSP, the process of listening to employees and caring about them is the main key to success. Employees during their working hours, can feel free and enjoy their presence.''

13. Apparel Group

Employees at the global fashion and lifestyle brand are encouraged to share any innovative ideas through the programme called ''Bright idea.'' Interested staff can share their thoughts through email or via a designated drop box. Apparel Group employees also enjoy discounts on all brands when making personal purchases. The company provides free transport services to all employees located in all emirates and are allowed to take a day off during special occasions, such as birthdays.

14. FedEx Express

The company ensures it recognizes its employees that exemplify its ''people-service-profit'' philosophy (PSP) through the Purple Promise Award. The award ''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 co-workers. In such cases, more than one employee may receive a Purple Promise Award for the same endeavour.''

15. MasterCard

Also putting great emphasis on employee recognition, MasterCard has created a have a ''HEART'' award programme whereby any employee can nominate a colleague at any time to receive an award for having demonstrated the company's corporate values. Winners bring home a certificate and cash award of up to $500. The company has put in place a dedicated Women's Leadership Network that seeks to drive the role of women in the business and the promotion of women in the technology sector.

The most distinguished SMEs to work for in the UAE:

 1. biz-group
 2. Dabo & Co.
 3. Abu Dhabi Finance
 4. Eton Institute
 5. Advanced Watertek

Check out the top UAE companies who launched extensive hiring campaigns

Source: Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter,