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4 Common Challenges Leaders in the KSA Face & How we can help

Since Cosmic Centaurs launched, we’ve been working with startups and scaleups, SMEs, multinationals, and government entities in KSA to help them build organizations that thrive. We work with leaders to help them make decisions, solve challenges, and set solid foundations for their workplaces. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has been attracting an increasing number of businesses looking to tap into the country's growing market, with the private sector expected to create 1.6 million new jobs by 2030. The country is also witnessing the bloom of many startups and scaleups - over 1,031 - because of the government’s significant support for innovation and technology.

Leaders in companies operating in Saudi face a number of organizational challenges, which are often resulting from the country’s rapid growth. Based on our work, we identified a few of these shared obstacles and listed them below along with the solutions we developed to tackle these challenges.

Challenge #1: Finding the right talent to grow the business

80% of companies in KSA struggle to find qualified candidates for their job openings.

Saudi companies are facing stiff competition in a crowded market. To stand out, they need to recruit and retain top talent to help them grow. However, 80% of companies in The Kingdom struggle to find qualified candidates for their job openings. Recruiting for a growth team is also very challenging because it requires finding individuals with the right combination of skills spanning from marketing, business development, sales, data-analysis, to product development in some cases.

Whether you are a startup finding your way into the market or an existing company looking to expand into new geographies, verticals, products, etc… We can work together on defining the company growth strategy. In those missions, we take into account the market conditions, the existing state of the company, the projected revenues, and we help you identify the skill set needed and the right outsourcing strategy in order to execute the strategy.

With one tech startup launching in Saudi Arabia, we helped set up the company’s growth strategy and team to achieve sustained growth. We supported the team in defining their key success metrics, and designed the product, sales and marketing strategies to achieve these objectives (the images below are some examples of how we do that). We then detailed the skills needed at the different stages of growth of the company in order to define the hiring and outsourcing strategies. We were also present at interviews, to ensure that the recruited talent is able to successfully do the job.

During the different phases of the project we documented all of our findings, the growth team cadence, processes, and tools to be used, and created all the collateral needed for the growth team to carry out the work when our mission ends.

channel sales strategy, launch, scaling, expansion, for a startup in Saudi Arabia (KSA)

Growth teams are structured based on goals and growth stage, startup, SME, entreprise. It depends on team size, goals, skills needed, pros, and cons

Struggling to find the right talent? We can help. Book a one-on-one with us today.

Challenge #2: Scaling without breaking

In 2022, startups in Saudi Arabia received $972 million in funding.

Today, there are over 1,031 startups and scaleups operating there. The stakes are high for the leaders of these companies, because scaling without breaking can be very challenging: 75% of venture-backed companies end up failing to provide any ROI.

One way we help leaders in KSA set solid foundations for their businesses is by boosting their operational efficiency and improving their team dynamics. Learn more about how we help scaleups here.

Documenting processes helps businesses maintain consistency in quality, reduces the learning curve for new employees, lessens confusion and errors, and enables the business to scale their operations without breaking.

With one digital agency in the Kingdom we supported the team in defining and documenting their main processes, which allowed team members to easily understand their roles and responsibilities within a project and work more efficiently. At the beginning of our intervention, we audited the existing ways of working, identified and addressed bottlenecks, and recommended tools and technology that can help optimize routine tasks. Then we designed and documented the processes and created all the documents and communication templates needed. Before our mission ended, we made sure all team members were aligned and well-trained on executing these processes and put in place a review system in order for the team to continue improving and optimizing them.

Below are some examples of process documentation deliverables:

organizational corporate process framework with different scenarios

business as usual process with centralized and decentralized channels

If you need to develop and document efficient processes, book a one-on-one with us.

Challenge #3: Disengagement from a lack of purpose

Only 28% of employees in Saudi Arabia feel engaged in their work

Saudi Arabia has a relatively young population with 50% of the population under the age of 25. This young generation of Saudi employees prioritizes meaningful work and companies in KSA are struggling to engage and motivate their employees, particularly the younger generation. One of the reasons for this, is that many leaders in KSA consider culture as a lower priority.

At Cosmic Centaurs, we address this challenge by helping leaders re-engage their teams around the company’s purpose and values. This goes from uncovering and documenting values, to communicating them across the organization and integrating them into each touchpoint employee's experience, to ensuring there is accountability to espousing values.

For one KSA-based non-profit, Cosmic Centaurs was appointed to support the leaders of a 200-employee organization to redefine the organizational values and engage employees around them through a series of workshops and learning experiences. We also developed and implemented an internal comms strategy that covers channels, KPIs, messaging, cadence, templates, content creation and upskilling.

To engage the young population, we leveraged the power of Miro (see below) to design a virtual learning space for employees to learn more about the organization's values through content and activities. The fun, interactive learning experience helps employees dive deep into each value and its virtues, and reflect on how to espouse them at work.

we leveraged the power of Miro (see below) to design a virtual learning space for employees to learn more about the organization's values through content and activities

If employee engagement is something you want to improve, book a one-on-one with us.

Challenge #4: Low employee retention

25% of employees in KSA are actively looking for new jobs

3 in 10 employees have also been offered a job by a headhunter in the last year.

This is due to many factors such as the lack of career development opportunities, limited autonomy, poor communication and insufficient recognition and rewards.

According to a study by Gallup, 38% of employees do not feel sufficiently rewarded by their employers for their work, and only 40% of Saudi employees strongly agree that their current employer offers good opportunities for development.

Low employee retention is also a result of disengagement: Gallup found that 47% of actively disengaged workers are actively looking for a new job, while only 19% of engaged workers are doing so.

To address this challenge, our recommendation is to first address the basic needs of your employees (seen below as the foundation of the Employee Engagement Pyramid).

Cosmic Centaurs' Pyramid of Employee Engagement

If employees are satisfied with the remuneration and benefits of your organization, we strongly suggest that you evaluate the individual needs of your employees through a mix of research methods. We talk more about how you can do that here.

We help organizations engage and retain their talent by upskilling their employees and setting L&D (learning and development) strategies. In our L&D missions, we first identify the skills and knowledge required to achieve the company's business goals, including technical skills, soft skills, or industry-specific knowledge. Once these skills are mapped, we design a program that incorporates a range of learning methods, such as workshops, skills sessions, assignments, resource sharing, and 1-on-1 mentoring.

We don’t believe in one size-fits all, so we always tailor the programs to the employees' needs and preferences. To ensure the program's success, we also engage employees in the process, gather feedback, and continuously evaluate and adjust the program as necessary. Check out our training brochure here.

Training L&D upskilling program design for a Saudi Arabia KSA company

An example of a training program we developed for a client.

These are some of the common challenges leaders in KSA are facing today and that we can solve for. Book a one-on-one with us to learn how we can help you build an organization that thrives.


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