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Hottest information about 10th Annual HR Excellence MENA Summit:
Compensation and Benefits

6 JULY 2020


Group HR Director

Retaining Top Tech Talent Is a Huge Problem in the IT Industry

by Suzan Abdeen


A recent report from LinkedIn notes that IT industry suffers from the highest employee turnover rate in the business world. This report places the tech turnover rate at 13.2 percent. Even the top companies in this sector – Amazon and Google – only boast a median employee tenure of around one-year, according to another report.

Challenges we face:

Ultimately, it is a candidate-driven market out there. With an acute shortage of talented tech professionals, companies pay a premium to get somebody to leave their current position for a chance at something new. Still, the LinkedIn report notes the leading reasons IT professionals give for leaving a job, and it is not all about salary.
A lack of opportunities for advancement, poor leadership, an unwelcoming culture, not enough challenging work, and uncompetitive compensation rank as the top five reasons. Thankfully, these are all items that any forward-looking tech organisation is able to handle.

EastNets strategies to retain its talent:

IT employees want to know if working for your organisation is good for their career. Provide a meaningful career ladder using a great training programme, innovative work, and tuition reimbursement. Requiring employees to stay for a certain period after accepting a tuition benefit easily boosts your retention rate.
A welcoming culture known for open and thoughtful leadership is another must. Finally, ensure your company’s compensation and benefits packages are near the top for your area. All told, it is a well-considered approach sure to help keep your top talent professionally satisfied.
Our mindset in EastNets: Tech professionals with skills in AI, machine learning, and information security are currently worth their weight in gold.

26 JANUARY 2020


Vice President Learning and Development
Etihad Airways

3 Questions For Andrew Stotter-Brooks

How to link business strategy with compensation strategy?

Helping our team understand the behaviours and skills that are required to be successful. Clarity around what employees must Know – Do – and Be for Etihad Aviation Group.

How is artificial intelligence reshaping the C&B landscape?

The future is microlearning that indicates trends and knowledge gaps that allow precise learning intervention at a granular level. Employees are viewed as individuals and training is planned and delivered according to what they need to know in manageable micro chunks across multiple channels.

What can we expect in the future for C&B?

Clarity, simplicity and bespoke created specifically for employees from learning needs identified as early as the recruitment phase of their employee life cycle.


Head of Compensation & Benefits
CIB Egypt

3 Questions For Hatem Abou-Elenein

How to link business strategy with compensation strategy?

During the last decade we have witnessed disruptive forces that constantly change the way businesses behave such as big data, artificial intelligence, IOT, sustainability and diversity. Meanwhile, just few organisations were able to reflect it in their compensation philosophy.
Long-term incentives (LTI) have been proven efficient in aligning employees and shareholders’ interests, finding the right balance that serves the business strategy is crucial in rewarding employees on achieving results. However, it is not common to see organisations apply LTIs across the board.
Organisations that are willing to let go the “mainstream compensation” to develop agile and flexible remuneration solutions that mirror their business strategy will be ahead of the curve in rewarding, retaining and attracting the needed talents to achieve sustainable results.

How is artificial intelligence reshaping the C&B landscape?

Gamification will be playing a critical role in reshaping HR arena not just the compensation but the entire employee lifecycle activities and experience. Lately, we are observing the introduction of advanced technology in HR like AI or People analytics to create for example success factors per role, chatbot to instantly answer staff members’ questions through mobile application, WhatsApp or even intranet.
The ultimate goal is to have tailored HR offerings to each employee taking into account pay and benefits bundles that suit their actual needs. HR should provide an employee-centric culture internally since staff members will always be considered HR’s primary customer.

What can we expect from C&B in the future?

Total remuneration offerings and packages for employees to choose from will be available in the next few years – this will require HR Heads to headhunt talented analytical HR calibres driven by technology and data crunching to pinpoint genuine opportunities to make an impact that matters.

Hatem is the Head of Compensation & Benefits at CIB, where he leads a team of professionals in developing competitive pay solutions and provides people with insights to relevant stakeholders across the bank. Before joining CIB, he worked for Hay Group Middle East (currently Korn Ferry) as Consultant and Business Developer where he advised various clients across different industries in the Middle East in delivering HR solutions. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and International Trade from Misr International University in Cairo. Hatem is a jazz music fan and currently learns music theory as a guitar player.

13 JANUARY 2020


Global HR M&A and Head of Rewards

3 Questions For Borja Burguillos

How to link business strategy with compensation strategy?

This is the holy grail in any organisation. How to ensure employee compensation is aligned with the business strategy in order to improve productivity and increase the profit margins.

In order to simplify a complex question, I agree with my colleague Mike Henezi (Vice President and senior consultant of Apri Insurance Services) on emphasising in the three steps needed for linking the company compensation to the business strategy.

  1. Identify the top business objectives first
    These objectives will vary depending on your current priorities and the age of your business.
    If your company is still relatively young and in the growth phase, your top objective might be to increase your market share. If your company is more established, your top objective might be to become more productive and get more work done with your current workforce, and so on. It all depends on the company and business priorities.
  2. Now define what are the desired employee behaviours
    While you know exactly what the company objectives are, the employees might not. Employees need to be guided towards behaviours that will help the company meet its objectives.
    Here, it would be recommendable to create a list of any employee behaviours that will push the company in the direction it wants to go. If the top objective is to become more innovative, desirable behaviours may include things like coming up with new ideas for products. If the main objective is different, behaviours would be different.
  3. Then you are ready to design the appropriate company compensation plan linked with the company business strategy
    Since you already know what your top objectives are, and what behaviours you want to incentivise, this is simpler than you may think.
    Survey the employees to find out what types of incentives they would value, and then choose the most appropriate incentives for your company (bonuses, extra vacation days, profit sharing, stock options, etc.). If you are not sure what to include, consider partnering with compensation specialists.

Always remember that this is not set in stone. Companies are alive, we live in a very fast and dynamic world in which company’s top objectives change all the time. It is important to review the top business objectives regularly in order to adapt to the desired behaviours and the compensation plan.

How is artificial intelligence reshaping the C&B landscape?

Artificial intelligence in compensation & benefits management automates tasks that require manual actions to deliver an improved employee experience, combined with machine learning which recognises patterns, predicts performance and explains drivers and influencers to optimise compensation models and incentive plans, and increase employee and sales performance and retention.

Machine learning-based AI can help companies use compensation analytics to identify their employee challenges and predict trends. This will give businesses invaluable opportunities to address employee needs and optimise compensation and incentives for targeted populations, resulting in higher employee engagement.

By taking advantage of AI to make compensation fair—based on a variety of rules including education, experience, certifications and more—businesses move closer to closing pay gaps.
Natural-language processing can help with employee sentiment detection and react quickly to retain and engage employees.

What can we expect in the future for C&B?

It is essential to start rethinking what compensation and benefits means to the employees. Gone are the days where cash is the king. In a shrinking pool of talent that has adequate future-ready skills, employers need to be creative and holistic in the benefits they offer beyond the traditional C&B models to attract and retain star talent.

According to the lastest Global Benefits Surveys from Mercer, AON and TWT, managing their health is a top priority for two-thirds of employees in Asia. Moreover, more than half suffer from elevated levels of stress.

While employer’s endeavour to engage their staff in an increasing array of non-traditional benefits, there is still a disconnect with employees according to the survey. Finding the “right” programmes and leveraging technology will be the key as employers start to take a more strategic approach towards health.

The latest research conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management says that over 40% of employees consider wellness and health-related benefits as the next best thing after cash in order to retain and attract talent.

This is ultimately based on supply and demand. HR is increasingly looking at what employees really want and need when it comes to benefits and then tailoring individual solutions while balancing business interests. This means that prevention is better than a cure.

Borja Burguillos has more than 13 years of experience as Global HR Executive, as Management Consultant and in Global HR Strategy corporate roles.
Specialist in the Rewards field and with strong analytic and strategic thinking. Experience in large projects about HR M&A, Transformation and Compensation & Benefits harmonisation. Passionate about what is next in HR, tech and startups.

7 JANUARY 2020


Cluster Director Talent & Culture

3 Questions For Mohamed Abdelkareem

How to Link Business Strategy with Compensation Strategy?

In today’s competitive market, an effective business strategy must be in place in order to provide clear direction for companies to succeed and achieve the desired goals. On the other hand, a good compensation strategy helps companies in maintaining a competitive advantage over their competitors since it helps with attracting and retaining top talents who will drive those desired goals in return. Therefore, it is the key to align compensation strategy with business strategy; otherwise, it can be a challenge for the success of the company. Hereunder are three steps to link both strategies together:

1. Define and review business goals and objectives: This is the first step and it includes defining & reviewing the short, intermediate and long-term goals & objectives that the company desires. Objectives should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound in order to accomplish a particular goal.

2. Review current compensation strategy: Now once goals and objectives have been defined by using gap analysis the company will need to look into its compensation & benefits (C&B) strategy and see if it supports the specified goals & objectives. This can be done through market C&B survey as well as by asking its current employees how they rate their salary compared to others in the same level in a different company. By doing so, the company will know where it stands on the market and if their C&B strategy is effective. If it stands in a good position to attract, retain & engage top talents, then it needs to keep that strategy. If not, an action plan should be prepared to enhance the C&B strategy considering the overall financial situation of the company and the possibility of doing so.

3. Periodically review the link between business and compensation strategies: The last step is to review from time to time the link between both strategies and make sure it exists. Some indicators like monthly, quarterly and yearly business results can be a window to check that. In addition, employees’ turnover related to C&B as well as employee engagement survey’s results are also great sources of information to help strengthen that link. Being up to date with the changes on the market is a key to stand a better chance of maintaining a competitive advantage to achieve the desired goals.

How Is Artificial Intelligence Reshaping the C&B Landscape?

As employers look for new ways to hire and retain their best talents, they begin to use artificial intelligence (AI) as a way to attract and compensate their employees. In comparison to manual systems, AI provides more precision, fairness and accurate data that help company assess its current compensation and benefits strategy against other companies on the market; that is done in an automated, consistent and often less expensive way. AI also provides new insights and services in businesses that have a positive impact on reducing headcount and overall cost.

What Can We Expect of C&B in the Future?

With the constantly changing market and higher employees’ expectations, compensations and benefits are changing towards non-material trends. That includes broader concepts such as wellbeing, inclusion and diversity, corporate social responsibility, career development and flexible work policies. That being said, benefits are now being considered as a tool to attract, retain, develop and engage top talents at a work place.

Mohamed Abdelkareem, senior HR Generalist and internationally certified as HR Manager, HR Consultant and HR Professional. He has worked in hospitality chains such as Hilton, Rotana, Millennium and currently works with Accor. He is interested in changing the way companies recruit and passionate about culture transformation and the involvement of artificial intelligence and machine learning in human resources.



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