Insights

The most important ingredient to finding success in business and in life: Connections

By Mike Parra

“It’s all about connections” is a common phrase we hear in business. But just as meaningful connections are critical to a company’s success, they are critical to living a fulfilling life.

When you are building better relationships with international partners and stakeholders, engaging with employees, improving your environment, and giving back to your community, you are of course building faith in your company. You are building your customer base and generating loyalty. But you are also building a better world, where real lives are impacted and improved.

Indeed, relationships are key to the world’s economic and social future. Look no further than the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and international response to understand just how important it is for each region of the globe to be linked. For instance, the Pfizer vaccine includes 280 components sourced from 19 different countries. Its creation was the result of international cooperation, and its success has required a flexible, global manufacturing and distribution network.

That’s why at DHL, our overarching purpose is connecting people and improving lives. It is not just a tagline to us… it is our calling. It is our sense of duty and our capacity to work as one for a common goal. The global pandemic has only amplified our purpose to connect people and improve lives. In the U.S., for example, we have moved more than 50 million vaccine doses through our hubs to reach people in other countries, and we are continuing to transport critical supplies and doses around the world.

Ultimately, making connections around the globe is not just good for your business – it’s good for our planet, and our ability to forge meaningful social progress. Let’s take a closer look at how your company can make a difference by making deeper connections:

Connecting with communities

It has been said before but merits repeating: giving back to the world through philanthropy, volunteerism, and community partnerships makes powerful business sense, but more importantly, it is the right thing to do. While your company needs the support of the communities where you do business, those communities need your support even more. In a connected world, social injustice and inequity are easily perceived and diagnosed, but they can also be more directly addressed. A networked, worldwide response is possible, and the business community has a central role to play.

For your organization, this means developing a plan to give back. You can target specific social and economic groups to support financially, and incentivize your employees to volunteer and get involved.

At DHL, our operations take place in individual communities worldwide, and so we have launched our Go Programs to make an impact locally – but on a global scale. 

To build stronger connections with our employees, we launched DHL’s Got Heart program five years ago. This program celebrates and rewards employees who embrace the spirit of giving back. We are incredibly inspired by our employees who give so much to the causes that they are most passionate about, and we want to celebrate their efforts by encouraging them to share their personal stories of charitable activities.

Connecting with your community also means ensuring recognizing the challenges our environment is facing. To that end, sustainability should be part of your mission, and it should be built into the bedrock of your organization. It inspires customers and your community – they increasingly expect it of you. It helps your employees feel like they are part of a bigger mission. But most importantly, our future depends upon our taking dramatic, powerful action now.

Regardless of size, your organization should commit to working with sustainable partners and reducing waste and emissions. Small acts or token efforts aren’t enough; we need bold action. At DHL, we have set an aggressive Zero Emissions by 2050 goal, employing science-based targets in pursuit of a zero emissions economy. For your company, goals and strategies may differ, but making stronger environmental connections is essential.

Our mission is clear: to connect people and improve lives. DHL is committed to making a lasting social impact, by helping those at-risk, by leading the charge toward a more sustainable future, and by giving directly to causes that matter. Deutsche Post DHL Group has pledged to give 1% net profit each year to help communities and make life better for people around the world.


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Connecting with employees

Your employees are not just the lynchpin of your company’s success, they are your friends, colleagues and neighbors. They are members of your community. You should be passionate about helping them forge a positive path forward. Strong employee engagement programs, rewards and appreciation efforts, and professional development programs should all be part of the equation.

We also want to equip our colleagues with the tools they need to succeed and advance, which is why our Certified International Specialist program is so important at DHL Express. We also make employee appreciation a central part of our approach, and I am absolutely committed to the idea that the good work of DHL team members needs to be recognized and broadcast for all to see.

All of our efforts to continuously improve and invest in our people have paid off as DHL Express has been named the 2021 number one best workplace worldwide in the annual list published by Great Place to WorkTM (GPTW) in collaboration with Fortune Magazine.

Connecting with customers

Your customers should feel like they are part of your mission. This is especially important for small businesses, where there the loss of a single key customer can have an outsized impact on the bottom line. Connecting with global customers means having a system of proactive outreach, culturally sensitive communications and storefronts, and strong customer support system.

Is your company ready to make a global impact? By making stronger connections with your employees, customers, partners, communities and the environment, you will be.


Published: November 2021


Images: DHL


Mike Parra

CEO, DHL Express Americas

With over three decades of transportation and logistics experience, Mike Parra leads the second largest region within the DHL Express network, the Americas, as CEO. His strategic direction of 56 highly-diverse countries and territories encompassing approximately 27,000 employees has contributed to the organization’s enormous success in growth, quality and employee satisfaction. As a member of the DHL Express Global Management Board, he also has direct oversight for the company’s best-in-class training and development program (Certified International Specialist), as well as its portfolio of global sponsorships. Mike exhibits his passion for social responsibility by building housing for needy families, biking for MS, and being active within his church.


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