HR Masterclass with Regine Buettner

Regine Buettner
Regine Buettner
DHL Executive Vice President of HR Global
3 min read
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Putting your people first, and making sure that they’re motivated from day one, should be the priority for any HR department. We asked DHL executive Vice President of HR Global, Regine Buettner how learning and development programs can shape your team into the best business assets you’ll ever have.

What are the best ways to develop your staff’s skills?

“Firstly, understand your business needs and, more specifically, the requirements of each role, and what it takes to be successful. Here at DHL, we have a program which certifies every new joiner as an international specialist, making sure that all our colleagues have a deep understanding of our company, business model, vision, values and culture." Regine believes anyone could rise high within DHL, no matter where they start. "We regard it as essential to train our leaders in their role as managers, in order to become cultural ambassadors and foster our culture of recognition.”1

When gearing up to hire new faces, it's obviously crucial to carefully consider the skill set needed for a role. But you should also make sure you consider the personality traits needed for the job – don’t be afraid to look outside the obvious areas, as ‘unconventional’ hires can sometimes become the real superstars2.

So, how do you strike the balance between hiring people for personality and then training them, or hiring for skills?

“In an organization like DHL, where we’re very people centered and culture focused, we go for personality. However, there are roles where specialist skills, or very specific expertise are needed3. In those cases, it makes sense to hire specialists – and we make sure that they’re a cultural fit too,” says Regine. 

When launching a recruitment drive, make as much use as you can of the job specifications that you already have on file. But do look carefully at the skill sets needed, and decide which are crucial and which are just ‘nice to have’. Take a look at how Neurodiversity is changing the approach to the recruitment process4.

What’s your personal experience with learning and development?

Regine continues, “We spent a lot of time looking at how to better meet the needs of our organization and embed our development activities in our culture of recognition. So, we’ve been piloting a new program for the employees who work as supervisors in our hubs. Handpicked supervisors from all over the world come together in one destination to learn about new ways to apply themselves in their work and leadership.

“They build their network, they exchange ideas as part of challenges to work out and find solutions and best practices. And they take home their newly acquired knowledge and skills to extend to their teams. It’s our way of recognizing the supervisors selected, which gives them a motivational boost, as well as upskilling them and their teams5. We’re discovering that it’s highly efficient and impactful.” The long road to business success might start by providing the right kind of training for your senior people, to make sure that they’re fully equipped to lead. Boosting your employees’ skills should combine ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ training, so that no-one is left behind.

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How do you start to build a learning and development program that aids the growth of your company?

“In my experience, it is important to have the commitment of the company’s leaders to putting people first, to make sure that they are motivated and committed right from the start. For our business, it’s crucial that our employees are committed to delivering on our customer promise: overcoming obstacles. Which is why the first thing we do is create a common basis. We invest in our employees so that we can put our customers first.”

When choosing programs to upskill your employees, think about whether they promote the same values as your company, help identify and or promote your existing company culture and address your specific business needs.

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What tips can you give us on what types of learning and development to avoid?

Regine says, “Don’t fall into the trap of setting up a training program, where you, as HR, believe it will have the biggest impact. Instead, look at the needs of your business, the feedback of your employees, key HR performance indicators and then, before investing in a big rollout, test it – and, as always, make sure the impact can, and will, be measured.”

And, finally, are face-to-face courses better than online ones?

“Ideally, tailored learning means a mix of learning formats – there is no general right or wrong, as the main thing is to make sure that it’s a successful learning experience. But keep practicability in mind. The setup of your organization and what’s convenient for your employees, as well as how much you’re willing to invest, are all key factors.”

It's clearly a good idea to keep an open mind about how to go about training your staff. Whether you're a small startup or a huge international, there's no effective one-size-fits-all approach available. What's more important is whether their output will be consistent with your company values.