Managinga Diverse Workforce, Stress Management, and Participative Management:UAE Case
Overview of the Noor Takaful
Noor Takaful is a Sharia compliant Takaful (Insurance) companyestablished in 2009. It serves as a subsidiary of the Noor InvestmentGroup which is a sister company to the Noor Bank. Noor Takafulprovides various personalized commercial insurance products such ascommercial family and commercial property insurance covers. Servicesoffered by this company are regulated by Sharia Board. As at 2015,the company had 132 employees, with various expatriates from suchcountries as the UK, and other GCC countries. Noor Takaful targetsUAE market where it has operations in three locations. Currently,Hussain AlQemzi is the CEO of the company (Noor Takaful, 2016).
Profile of Suhail Qazi
The interviewee in the study was Mr. Suhail Qazi. He is a branchmanager with Noor Takaful and is located in Dubai. He is in charge ofthe operations of one of the branches of the company, with his rolesincluding ensuring employees and customer satisfaction and settingtactical strategies for the branch. Mr. Suhail Qazi has a bachelor’sdegree in insurance and banking. Before his position, he served asregional unit manager, corporate sales manager, underwriter, andassistant underwriter at the Noor Takaful Company giving himextensive experience in the industry.
Managing a Diverse Workforce
According to Podsiadlowski et al., (2013) globalization has increasedthe level of workforce diversity, necessitating management to createa culture of diversity. Managing diversity requires carefulconsideration of unbiased strategies regarding gender, race,personality, education and cognitive style. Successful workplacediversity management takes a high level of awareness and sensitivityto ensure all employees work together cohesively (Harvey &Allard, 2015). For managers to excel in managing this workforce, theyhave to understand some basic features. First, they need to establisha serene work environment where talents from different countries orbackgrounds can grow and flourish. Second, to facilitate smoothcommunication, addressing communication and language barriers shouldbe given priority. Finally, they have to manage different views fromevery person within the place of work about age, gender, educationand nationality. Successful integration of diverse people enables theorganization to harness exceptional and competent skills,experiences, talents and job commitment (Certo, 2015).
While some stress in the workplace is normal, too much stress arisingfrom such issues as budget cuts, layoffs, and inconsideratemanagement can interfere with employees’ productivity. To manageand cope with workplace stress, it is vital to recognize signs ofexcessive stress which include sleeping problem, stomach upsets,social withdrawal, and loss of interest in the work (Gorman, et al.,2012). To lower stress, it is important to start by stabilizingphysical and emotional health, through engaging in such activities asregular body exercises. A critical way of reducing workplace stressis to organize and prioritize job-related activities, which will bewell received by subordinates, top managers, and coworkers alike.According to Girdano et al., (2012) improving emotional intelligencegoes a long way in helping to manage job-related stress. This can beachieved by such ways as developing a capacity to overcome challengeswith humor.
Participative management has gained popularity over the years due toits ability to empower, and motivate employees. By creating anenabling environment for employees to contribute in settingorganization strategies, and problem solving is an indication ofmanagement that understand the importance of having a strong employeerelation. Certo, (2015) carried out research for ten organizationsand revealed that the management style in the contemporary businessis inclining more and more to allowing contribution fromsubordinates. Litwin & Eaton (2014) noted that participativemanagement facilitates designing and creation of strategies thatfactors in and unifies all views and as such, reduces the likelihoodof resistance to change that is brought about by the introduction ofnew strategies. The idea of involving employees in alldecision-making stages is an honest, straight, and open communicationwhich leads to high organizational productivity.
According to Suhail Qazi, his organization has employees fromdifferent nationalities, genders, and background and to unify themthey ensures principles of equality, openness, and open communicationare implemented. This ensures everyone has a sense of ownership andbelonging to the company. Diversity can create international issues,but it brings high skills level. He cited stress as the majorcontributor to employee’s performance especially in the serviceindustry where customer relation is critical. In managing the stress,Mr. Qazi encourages an open environment where employees can share outtheir issues and endeavor to maintain work-job balance. In the issueof participative management, he said his company is maintaining anopen door policy where employees can raise any issue at any timeeither through suggestion boxes or direct to the senior management.When implementing a new strategy, the company gives an online formwhere it seeks an opinion from all stakeholders not only employeesbut also other stakeholders like creditors and government agencies.This has led to a low turnover rate of less than 2% and leavingemployees are given a form to fill about their turnover reasons. Thisis used to formulate human resource strategy.
According to the interview stress management is critical infacilitating productivity in the place of work. Participativemanagement and workplace diversity determine the extent to which theorganization will grow. As such, it is important for all thecompanies, especially in UAE to ensure they have instituted anambient workplace environment tapping into strength of diversity,build upon participative management and focused on ensuring effectiveemployees management
Certo,S. (2015). Supervision:Concepts and skill-building.McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
Girdano, D.,Dusek, D. E., & Everly Jr, G. S. (2012). Controllingstress and tension.Pearson Higher Ed.
Gorman, A.M., Healy, S. J., Jäger, R., & Samali, A. (2012). Stressmanagement at the ER: regulators of ER stress-inducedapoptosis.Pharmacology& therapeutics, 134(3),306-316.
Harvey, C.P., & Allard, M. (2015). Understandingand managing diversity.Pearson.
Litwin, A.S., & Eaton, A. E. (2014). Participative management or managedparticipation? Worker participation and the mystery of the missingperformance effects. WorkerParticipation and the Mystery of the Missing Performance Effects(December 12, 2014). Johns Hopkins Carey Business School WorkingPapers.
Noor Takaful (2016). Noor Takaful Islamic insurance. Retrieved 24thJune from www.noortakaful.com
Podsiadlowski,A., Gröschke, D., Kogler, M., Springer, C., & Van Der Zee, K.(2013). Managing a culturally diverse workforce: Diversityperspectives in organizations. InternationalJournal of Intercultural Relations, 37(2),159-175.
How have you dealt with some of the challenges of working with people from diverse
Backgrounds? Could you please explain how these techniques haveworked out?
Some of the challenges include language barrier and culturaldiversity and integration problem. Working with diverse community 0fworkers has led to the creation of principles of equality, fairnessand trust that helps to create sense of belonging. This techniqueshas facilitated integration and ensured we work as one family.
How has stress impacted the health, performance and productivity of your employees?
Though in a minimal way, stress has led to customer dissatisfactionin some instances where employees would not handle customers well dueto either personal or job related stress.
Can you relate to us your most valued experience in working with diverse people? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of working with people with various demographics?
Working with diverse people has allowed me personally to learn aboutthe culture and values of various people around the world such asAfricans, Europeans and other GCC members. Advantages of working witha diverse people include having a talented group with diverse skills,and derive synergy from diversified set of culture and values.However, some of the disadvantages include language barrier andfailure to understand all the values of people coming from differentplaces. Foreigners had to assimilate to the local values which hasbeen difficult to some of the employees.
Discuss the forms of stress management programs in your company. Why do you think stress management programs are prioritized in most multinational companies nowadays?
Our company has an open door policy where employees are free to sharewith one another and with management any personal or jib relatedissue that they might have. Distress management has become importantafter realizing the extent to which the productive time is lostthrough stressed staffs.
Suggestion boxes, chat forums, town-hall meetings, diagnostic system review sessions where employees are but some of the participative management practices. What types of participative management practices are present in your company culture? Does your company encourage individual and team involvement? How?
Our company has a suggestion box and as stated we have an open doorpolicy. This allows feedback from the employees and otherstakeholders to reach the management. Our company allows bothindividual and team, involvement for example, we have periodicalsurveys that are sent to departments and to individuals to get theiropinions and dissatisfaction in various issues.
How does your organization manage change? What is the role of managers in coping with change?
Before a change is effected the company informs all employees aboutthe reason for change and allows them to express their opinions. Themanagement makes them, to understand the need for every change. Themanagement plays a critical role in guiding the rest of the employeesin implementing the changes.
What is your turnover rate like?”
The employee turnover in our company is considerable low, low than2%. This is due to considerate human resource policies that we haveadopted.
Do you conduct exit interviews with employees who are leaving? What have these interviews indicated in terms of areas of improvement?
Yes. Every leaving employee is given a questionnaire where theyexpress their reason for leaving. Over the years these feedback hashelped to create a stronger human resource policy.