“There cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to employee retention and engagement,” says Jayde Walters of Acer
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Jayde Walters is a wife, a mom and a true Human Resources visionary. Jayde started her career as a graduate researcher in HR before being promoted to the post of Divisional Head at Emerald Technology in the UK.
In 2009, Jayde moved to Dubai where she set up a headhunting consultancy. Two years later, Jayde joined Hewlett Packard as their Senior Staffing Manager in the Middle East where she not only managed all internal and external talent acquisition for HP across the Middle East region, but was also the local HR lead in mergers and acquisition hiring, led employee engagement and wellness initiatives, and was the Graduate Program leader for Middle East and Africa.
Today, Jayde Walters is Acer’s HR Manager for Middle East and Africa (MEA). At Acer, Jayde is responsible for the business’ headcount cost management, staff engagement and wellness programs, CSR initiatives, policy and process development and implementation, and strategic HR alignment that compliment Acer’s strategic business objectives.
In this interview with Bayt.com, Jayde talks about her life in the UAE, the biggest challenges she faces when recruiting talent, and her advice for employers and job seekers in the region.
1. How do you like living and working in the UAE?
My family and I have lived here for five years and are very happy. The diversity of the country and the region as a whole provides both opportunities and challenges, particularly for HR professionals. Of course, like all expats, there are home comforts that are missed, being from the UK that is namely “proper” fish and chips!
2. What would you say is the most important thing Acer looks for in new hires?
Great people make for great companies. This is why Acer looks to hire for attitude and potential rather than a tick box of skills. We operate in a dynamic and competitive industry; those who are willing to ask the ‘big’ questions, challenge convention and create value are the best candidates for us.
3. What is the biggest challenge you face when recruiting talent?
It is often said that we are moving from an era of ‘Capitalism’ to ‘Talentism’. Employer value propositions have taken on new significance where the question of “Why should I hire you” has become a question of “Why should I work for you?” Perhaps the biggest challenge for us, like most companies, is not the recruiting itself but the engagement and retention after that.
4. What is your top tip for fresh graduates?
Prepare, prepare and then prepare some more for job interviews.
The best graduates whom I have interviewed (and I have interviewed many at Acer!) are those who have researched the company, the role and even me! It demonstrates motivation, initiative and provides an insight on how they operate. After all, you wouldn’t go to a client meeting unprepared, so why do this at an interview?
5. Many HR professionals are increasingly embracing the social recruiting trend in their hiring practices. What do you think about this?
The recruitment process is evolving in the digital age. I think that companies need to utilize recruitment channels and strategies that best reflect their values and can reach the talent pool unique to their hiring needs. Social media platforms offer a fast and cost effective way to reach large numbers of potential candidates. However, quantity does not necessary mean quality and 4,000 applications will result in the issuance of 3,999 rejection letters as well.
6. What advice do you have for companies who want to retain top talent?
To retain top talent, is to know your talent. There cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ approach to employee retention and engagement. What motivates and inspires one person will not the next. HR professionals need to be more flexible and innovative in this area and not be constrained within policies and procedures that were crafted in a bygone years. At Acer, we emphasis the need for work-life balance and can accommodate flexible working as an example. While there is no ‘cookie cutter’ approach for all, sometime it’s the small things that make a big difference!
7. Can you tell us about your experience with Bayt.com? Which Bayt.com feature do you think is the most useful to you as an employer?
Coming from a search background, I’ve been a Bayt.com user for many years. I’ve always been impressed by its ease of use. The comprehensive filters it offers are a blessing for recruiters and represent a great feature if you’re looking for the ‘perfect match’ for any given job.
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