Posted on October 13, 2014

There’s no arguing: Qatar is an exciting place to be these days. It’s a country rapidly growing in just about every sector and industry, which means plenty of opportunity for businesses and enterprising individuals. Let’s say you’re the manager of a brand new consultancy here in Doha. You’ve won your first few contracts – well done! Your clients love you and want to hire you for more work. The problem is, you’re stretched thin – there just aren’t enough hours in the day. What now?

It all comes down to people. Whether you’re a fledgling startup or an established multinational firm, all companies eventually face a common challenge: how to identify, attract, and retain talented professionals. In the professional services industry, your people are your most important asset. After all, it’s their time, expertise and counsel that clients are buying.

So employee retention is not only important to your company, it’s critical to the success of your clients. Providing a stable account team allows you to build lasting relationships with your clients, with both client and consultancy growing side by side. But the expat community in Doha is notoriously transient, with people rotating in and out of the country every couple years. So how do you attract employees who are in it for the long term? Here are Memac Ogilvy’s five steps to attracting and retaining top-notch talent in Qatar:

  1. Samer Abboud Memac Ogilvy 1 [].jpgEnsure that candidates are a good fit before you hire. A critical part of employee retention is making sure that the individuals you hire share your company’s values and culture. For us, that means finding people who are pragmatic, driven, and humble – they take their work (but not themselves) seriously. Candidates who share your values will thrive; those who don’t may find themselves frustrated or at odds with their coworkers.
  2. Emphasise the unique opportunity for professional growth in Doha. From the business landscape to the very skyline of the city, everything here is changing and growing. With so many startups looking to build their brands from the ground up and local brands looking to expand regionally and internationally, Qatar is truly a great place for advertising professionals to hone their craft. Contrast that with other, more established markets, where agencies are often limited to implementing or adapting existing brand strategies. Not bad, certainly, but we think Doha is much more exciting for those who want to innovate and create.
  3. Create a healthy work environment. Your employees spend half (or more!) of their waking hours at work, so why not make the office a place they’re happy to be? At Memac Ogilvy, that means zero tolerance for office politics and fostering a family-like atmosphere where people have fun (while delivering serious results, of course).
  4. Make professional education a priority. The business world changes rapidly, so if you don’t work to continually better yourself, you can easily get left behind. We keep our team up-to-date via weekly webinars on social media and periodic trainings on creativity, strategy, management and presentation skills. These trainings raise the professional standards and skills of our people, expose employees to the wider Ogilvy network, and strengthen the collaboration and sense of community in the regional network. It’s a win-win situation: employees are more likely to stay if they feel a company is invested in their growth. Clients, in turn, receive service from professionals who really know their trade.
  5. Hire people who find Qatar as interesting as you do. We believe that Doha has something to offer for everyone, whether you’re interested in schools for your children, fine dining and luxury shopping, water sports and world-class art museums, or strolling the corridors of Souq Waqif. We make sure all our prospective employees have a sense of what it’s like to live in this unique city.

We’re invested in the future of our employees and our clients. And with so much happening in Doha today, the future’s looking bright.

published by Samer Abboud