The IT market in the Middle East and Africa is booming at a time when most major technology solutions providers complain of declining sales in Europe and to a lesser extent North America.
The consistent performance of the IT sector in the Middle East makes it a prime market for growth. A number of western channel players are now looking at extending their capabilities to the Middle East given the massive potential.
Khaled Kamel, territory channel manager, Mena at Brocade Communications, said as competition in the channel increases, staff retention which has already been cited as a major pain point by channel organizations in the region is set to become even more of a concern.
In order to succeed, a channel organization must not only train, but more importantly retain its skilled staff. And while a healthy job market may make this seem like a challenge, the key to employees' contentment and overall job satisfaction can be found in the three P's: People, Projects and Pay, said Kamel.
Employees must have at least two of the three P's in order to be satisfied at work; and it can provide all three, then the channel organization will be well on its path to complete employee satisfaction.
People: No company can survive without people. It is the people who help innovate, design, build, market, sell, distribute and support whatever product the company has to offer – and this has a positive impact on financial business outcomes. In a nutshell, a company’s workforce needs to have the right balance of skills, knowledge, capabilities, and attitude in order to successfully perform their job. Channel organizations need to realise that only be investing in their employees can they arm them with these skill sets.
In addition to the tangibles, such as being in the right role/position/job level which leverages their strengths and skills; there are a number of intangibles, like team dynamics and co-worker camaraderie. Studies have shown that when people work with people they like or respect, they tend to report higher levels of job satisfaction, which in turn increases productivity and collaboration. Channel organizations need to create an environment where people actually want to come to work every day and HR plays a major role in this, from the initial recruiting process to the review process and beyond, said Kamel.
Projects: We’ve talked about the importance of people, but unless those people are doing what they love, what they’re good at and working on interesting projects, they will not remain engaged. Some projects involve working cross-functionally, some projects stretch employees to get out of their comfort zone and learn a new area, some projects are highly visible either to peers, senior management or even the board or shareholders, and some projects may involve a completely new concept, strategy or approach which could have a potentially high business impact.
Employees who know what they want should take every opportunity to speak up and make it known to decision-makers; in other words, never assume that “everybody knows.”
To truly maximize employee utilization and place the right person in the right position, channel organizations need to emphasise Individual Development Plans (IDPs). IDPs help to identify employee’s strengths, skill gaps, interests and what they want to do next. The IDP should be such that everyone involved has full visibility into the process. Employees need to know where they are going and how they are going to get there; without this insight, they will eventually get stuck doing the same things over and over and never get an opportunity to try anything new, which leads to increased dissatisfaction. On the other hand, by presenting high performing people with the opportunity to work on highly-visible, cross-functional projects, and move into other roles, and they grow within the organization and realize success through this.
Pay: People want to not only feel they are paid fairly, but also recognised for their efforts, accomplishments and hard work and want this type of reward at different times throughout the year. With competition heating up, a limited talent pool particularly within the engineering field, and the return of the start-up mentality, people have far more choices in terms of potential employers. The reality is, if employers want to attract and retain top people, “fair pay” just isn’t enough anymore.
Channel organizations need to review pay annually for all functions at all job levels and benchmark what they pay their employees to what other similar companies are paying their employees. Equally important is an incentive program which rewards employees directly for the level of contribution they are making towards achieving corporate goals. Channel organizations need to be flexible enough to proactively make adjustments to these compensation programs to ensure employees are being paid competitively.
While it may sound overly simplistic to narrow all of this down to three P’s, it is important to recognise that it is really that simple. In order to remain content and productive on the job, people need to feel challenged, valued and be compensated fairly, said Kamel. - TradeArabia News Service