Recruiting and Growing Talent From Within at Dubai Duty Free

November 20, 2019

Bernard Creed from Dubai Duty Free: "In the company that I work for, Dubai Duty Free, a lot of the talent issues that we have are very similar to ones that are in the UAE for large companies that are customer-facing."

Recruiting at Dubay Duty Free

Dubai Duty Free has 6,100 employees, but over 41 different nationalities. And Dubai is a hub, a global hub, aviation hub. A lot of people are coming into Dubai, they're from different countries, there are lots of different cultural issues.

Hiring 41 nationalities to speak to 90 million passengers coming through the airport every year, is something that will always be faced as a difference. The assessments, talent acquisition and how  they are brought through training, it all is a challenge, because you've got lots of different cultural issues around those.

"I think that's probably the biggest thing. If you look at the UAE geographically, where it's placed and the nationalities, that's then ten percent who are actually from the UAE where ninety percent are expatriates. It's talking to those customers with a lot of different nationalities. That's the biggest challenge for us."

Every year Dubai Duty Free gets over 100,000 applications and they're all online now. They used to be offline which was a mammoth task to process. A lot of those go through competencies like language, written skills, numeracies. When they come, when they've been brought down to a much smaller base of people, they are interviewed face-to-face.

And then they go through a lot of testing.

Assessing for Talent

"What we like to do at Dubai Duty Free is to not recruit from the middle and up and really bring it from the salespeople, the people in our distributions center. When we're looking for talent, it is not just for customer-facing, it's for potential jobs in the future, also. We introduced this program a few years ago, called "Got'cha" and what it is, is that we watch people for good behaviors.

Instead of catching people for bad behaviors, we look at core competencies around good behaviors and we have a star and award program and we reward people around that. I would describe our company as very remedial in the sense of the way that we deal with people. People would always get a second chance and have a chance to move into areas that perhaps suit them better."

The Recruitment Process

Dubai Duty Free has a very strong induction process, it takes a number of weeks and it had a very good impact on all of the staff, because they come in in batches of sometimes forty or sixty different nationalities, but they meet everybody across the organization. They meet the finance team, the corporate social responsibility team, the HR team. And not just the front facing customer service and sales team.

It also gives them an insight into the ethos and the soul of the company and where they're going and what the overall strategy of the company is, in terms of not just the shop at the airport but also the airport itself and tourism. It gives them a long sight of, maybe potential jobs, that if they're ambitious and like to go into, because of the internal recruitment process.

That's had a big impact for everybody.

Read how Aon's Assessment Solutions has helped clients in the Aviation Sector.

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