An archival image of the 20 winners in the 2015-2016 round of Top Companies to Work For Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

The logistics company DHL was last night named the best place to work in the UAE for the fourth year in a row, leading a list of 24 companies from around the country.

The award was conferred by the Great Place To Work (GPTW) organisation, a global research, training and consultancy firm that recognizes the best workplaces in over 50 countries worldwide. This year’s list of Top Companies to Work For is the largest of the seven years the benchmarks have been awarded.

“We’re definitely seeing a marked improvement in the standard of HR practices,” said Maha Zaatari, Managing Director of Great Place to Work in the UAE.

GPTW highlighted the way DHL creates a family experience that makes employees want to stay and prosper within the organisation. It places people first, above any other business practice, understanding that a motivated and engaged workforce is a productive and profitable one, the organisation said, pointing to the way it nurtures employee development, creates a fun work environment, offers transparency, listens and acts on employee feedback, and celebrates successes. What creates the competitive advantage is DHL’s close monitoring of the application of these HR practices and policies, leaving no room for deviation or bias. 

This year’s runner-up was media services company Omnicom Media Group, which advanced one spot from last year, followed by high-street brand Splash which also moved up one spot to take third. In fourth place was the furniture store The One, a position it has held since the list was launched, while communications firm Weber Shandwick came in fifth, climbing two places from 2016.

Ranking from sixth to 10th place on the list were Estee Lauder Companies, Hilti Emirates, FedEx, Hilton and Mars respectively. Rounding out the final 14 positions on the list were Biz Group, Hyatt, Eros Group, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Leminar, UAE Exchange, Al Fakher Tobacco, Dulsco, NMC Healthcare, Philips, Delta Partners, Danzas AEI Emirates, Mundi Pharma and Redington.

“The expansion of the 2016-2017 list is testament to the value UAE companies place on human capital development. Despite a challenging financial year, most companies that have been on the list previously maintained their position as great workplaces. This is an impressive accomplishment considering the high level of participation we had this year and the number of new companies entering the list. It’s great to see these organizations put into practice the lessons they have learnt from going through the Top Companies process,” Zaatari said.

As the UAE works towards becoming the world’s happiest nation, Great Place to Work says employers are starting to recognize the crucial role their companies can play in achieving this goal.

“We are seeing among the Top Companies a greater emphasis on CSR initiatives as employers respond to employees’ desire for meaning, to be part of something bigger. People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and depression. Happiness in the workplace is carried into the home and the wider society so it really is a foundational piece in building the happiness of a nation,” said Zaatari.

In addition to its awards for overall workplace excellence, Great Place to Work gave special recognition to Elie Khouri, CEO of Omnicom Media Group. Khouri was recognised as Leader of the Year for 2016-2017 for his efforts in keeping Omnicom Media Group on the Top Companies list for seven years and for achieving the highest Trust scores from direct reports amongst all leaders in the Top Companies programme.

The Top Companies to Work For list represents a diverse number of industries. It assesses the level of credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie within an organisation, and forms part of the world’s largest employee survey. Two-thirds of a company’s score is based on the confidential feedback of their employees while the remaining score is attained from an audit of management and HR practices.