• 87% of placements
    were relocated from 19 countries

  • 230+ hires since launching
    Aspexx in 2021

  • 98% retention rate
    across all clients







87% of placements
were relocated from 19 countries

230+ hires since launching
Aspexx in 2021

98% retention rate
across all clients

No, this isn’t a typo, although hats off to you if you read this title without humming Salt-n-Pepa in your head. In all seriousness, when it comes to crafting the perfect Employee experience (Ex) in the design and digital space, there is a very wide gap between where companies pitch themselves and the reality that candidates actually face.

And here’s the thing – there is a chronic shortage of talent in these industries right now. Candidates have the pick of the crop when it comes to accepting job offers, which means employers can no longer pay lip service to Ex, it MUST become a focal point in their strategy to  attract, and crucially, retain talent.

It’s not like we’re suggesting businesses need to spend more money on the best perks either. No, our approach is to coach companies in how simple gestures go a long way to making someone feel welcome and like they are part of the community… before they even step foot into the office.

Here, we outline all the key touchpoints where the interaction must be spot on to foster the best relationship between candidate and employer.

Part I: The Interview

Let’s imagine you have the ideal candidate sat in front of you. They have interviewed well, presented their experience accordingly and demonstrated how they would be the perfect fit for the role. And then… you let them languish for weeks on end without a follow up.

Whatever rapport you had established at the interview will have evaporated and the candidate will have already gone elsewhere. It’s a scenario where everyone’s time is wasted and no-one gets the result they want.

So, here’s our advice on structuring the process to make it a more seamless experience, not only for the candidate but for the interviewer as well:

  • Create A Brief For Each Round: In our experience, three rounds is enough to really understand the candidate attributes, skills and personality. In our field, we refer to this as the Insights, Cultural & Tech rounds.
  • Timings: While we don’t recommend hard time limits it’s worth allocating about 30 mins -1 hour for every interview stage. Remember, you will have another opportunity to engage with them again in the upcoming rounds, so try to keep to your brief and maximize the time effectively.
  • Make Tasks Interactive: One of the best ways to engage a candidate is to give them an interactive task in the interview. If you ask them to prepare something ahead of time and just send it along, it doesn’t really show their capabilities in a live scenario.
  • Invest Your Time, Listen To The Candidate: If, for whatever reason, the candidate is hesitant to accept the role, the company should invite them back for one final round. The purpose of this is to help the candidate envision how they would fit into the business. They should be taken on a tour, meet the wider team, understand the office layout and where everything is based. It may be time consuming initially, but trust us, long-term this not only helps get things off on the right foot, but will make the employee much happier and content in the role moving forward.

Top Tip : Money isn’t everything, believe it or not! In our space, the roadmap and workflow is much more important to the talent we place. If you can offer a structured interview process, they are automatically more receptive because that’s indicative of who you are as a company, and by extension how they will work with you.

Part II: The Onboarding

This is such a key part of the process and easily where you will see retention drop off if you don’t get this bit right.

Before Official Start Date

  • Workstation Set Up: Everything should be set up in advance – their desk, software, access cards, email – nothing like this should be left until the day of arrival. It’s daunting enough starting a new role, but being sat with nothing to do while others get on with their work isn’t great. You may as well hang a sign round their neck saying ‘I’m new here’.
  • Reach Out & Chat: In line with the above, you should reach out to the candidate once the offer has been accepted and an agreed start date has been negotiated. This is a really powerful gesture because it evolves the relationship from interviewer and candidate to employer and employee.
  • Buddy Up: Assign your new hire a ‘buddy’ to help prepare them for starting at the company, maybe even take them for lunch ahead of time and offer some practical advice so that they will know at least one friendly face on arrival.

On Arrival

  • Meet & Greets: New hires should meet everyone (from the CEO down) in the company structure, even if they aren’t going to be working with them that closely. It helps them to understand who is responsible for what, easing their transition into the new work environment.
  • Welcome Pack: We really rate these because again it’s a simple gesture that goes a long way to making the employee feel at home from Day 1. These packs can include things like a branded notebook and pen, refillable water bottle or a coffee cup. We mean, who doesn’t love their own mug?!
  • Team Lunch – Hands down one of the best team building experiences, plus your existing team will get lunch on the boss, so really it’s a win-win.

Part III: Entice & Retain Strategy 

Invest and develop your employee benefits package, which could include things like:

  • Competitive salary at market rate – Be fair and consistent.
  • Learning & development program to help workers upskill and reskill – This is so so important, as it can help employees visualize how they can progress in the role.
  • Clear KPIs – This helps both parties know where they stand, so there isn’t an expectations gap that leaves everyone dissatisfied.
  • Flexibility – Both in how, when and where you work – the best way to earn loyalty.

Top Tips : These ‘benefits’ can’t be set in stone, your USPs need to move with the time. Think about what candidates find desirable now and how you can incorporate this without harming your bottom line or compromising your values.

Ultimately, talent makes or breaks the business. You are going into a partnership with someone who will help shape your company for the better. It’s so important for you to really drive home what makes you such a unique prospect so they will choose to work for you and not your competitors.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed dispensing our sage advice, don’t forget to follow us on our social media pages for further insights on the recruitment process, relocation tips and the REAL cost of living in Dubai. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.

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