There are many challenges of doing business in the Middle East but one that is not often considered is the high rate of attrition among key stakeholders.
The region has been historically populated by a high rate of educated, expert expats and this trend is expected to grow. Currently the United Arab Emirates’s (UAE) indigenous population stands at 13%, with the western population at 8.5% and the remaining predominantly from Asia and South Asia (1).
Typically, a western expat stays in the UAE for around four years and often less than that in the same role, choosing to jump to better opportunities during their stay. Local decision makers also rarely stay in one role for more than two years, sometimes being moved around arbitrarily and at short notice. This can often result in long term stakeholder engagement being littered with inconsistencies and cause a bumpy road for any opportunity or project cycle.
For many companies, including our own this is an uncontrollable variable, but one that must be taken seriously and be prepared for. New stakeholders come to the table with new ideas, a different approach and another “settling in period”. While this can sometimes lead to a positive outcome, more often than not it can negatively impact the journey of an opportunity, and can bring the substantial progress back to the initial stages of qualification and planning. We are then forced to start the process with new stakeholders once again, causing a greater level of overall inefficiency.
The impact on a company’s pipeline and accurate projections are at risk, it is critical that companies ensure that they have done all they can to mitigate the fall out.
The best method to counteract attrition is to ensure as wide a stakeholder buy-in as possible. This looks like a triangle of client contacts, with the main decision makers who are all working on the project coming out on top, with a shared goal. Within larger company’s this is usually achievable however it is harder to manage as the company size goes down.
In our experience this means ensuring we have a wide cohort of stakeholder buy-in both within departments and also throughout the hospital or healthcare organisation, engaging with stakeholders such as clinicians, IT and management. Through good awareness and a lack of complacency it is possible to avoid an impact on the business.
Jessica Broun - Branch Manager UAE, Sláinte Healthcare
Jessica is Branch Manager of Sláinte Healthcare’s UAE Operation, based out of our offices in Abu Dhabi. Jessica has primary responsibility for the management of the Operational and Administrative functions for our activities in the Middle Eastern region. With over 10 years experience in high value customer and vendor management, as well as a background in FMCG, Jessica brings a wealth of experience to our team, having worked in roles across most business disciplines including sales, marketing, communications, national category and account management. Jessica has represented Slainte at the HIMSS, Hospital Build and Infrastructure and other eHealth conferences in the UAE.