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#iBelong: How people engage at work to build a community of pride

There’s a lot of talk about improving workplace culture and fostering a sense of belonging at work, but what does that look like in the real world? DHL’s growing Pride Alliances are one example of people coming together to create a place where everyone belongs. 

Comfortable, connected, contributing: Bringing people together matters

DHL people

When you hear the word “community,” what comes to mind? Maybe it’s your neighborhood or town or your local team or club. But what about the workplace?

In today's workplaces, people want to feel a sense of belonging – to be part of a close-knit professional community with a common purpose. We want a space where we feel comfortable and connected and can contribute, no matter how we identify, where we come from, or our gender, abilities, age, experience, or beliefs.

It’s also no secret that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) can make a difference for business: An inclusive and equitable workplace is better equipped to face the challenges of today’s global market.

That all sounds great, doesn’t it? But how does that happen?

The answer: passionate people committed to bringing their colleagues together to share experiences and make an impact. 

Alliances@DHL Group: Voices that matter. Impact that lasts.

Portrait Alexander Scheithauer
Alexander Scheithauer, Senior Expert Engagement & Enablement at DHL Group and Head of Alliances@DHL Group

What started as many grassroots networks around the world has now become a global initiative. If you’ve heard of employee resource groups (ERGs), you know the concept. At DHL Group, we call them Alliances@DHL Group. The DHL Pride Alliance is one of our first.

Alexander Scheithauer, Head of Alliances@DHL Group, shares how Alliances and the Pride Alliance, in particular, came about.

  • Our Alliances@DHL Group journey has only just begun. This means that together, we want to gain cross-divisional experience to better and consistently understand how Alliances@DHL Group will become a sustainable part of our corporate culture.

    When the question of where to start this journey came up, our central DEIB team was in close dialogue with the global DEIB teams of all our Divisions and Group Functions within DHL Group.

    Together, we saw in the already existing LGBTQAI+ networks a great starting point for evolving them from a network into an Employee Resource Group, or Alliance, as we call it at DHL Group.

    Furthermore, we are strongly committed to creating a more inclusive and equitable working environment day by day. The 2024 study “LGBTIQ equality at a crossroads - progress and challenges” by the European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights reinforces the need for action. Across Europe, 45% of those surveyed say they hide their queerness at work for fear of discrimination.

    This and other reasons led us to start our Alliances@DHL Group with the launch of Pride Alliances.

  • Alliances@DHL Group create a safe space where people can talk openly about their experiences in their private lives and at work. An Alliance is open to all community members and people interested in DEIB who want to support their colleagues as Allies.

    But that's not all. Alliances help us identify processes and behaviors that need to be adapted and improved to create a working environment in which everyone feels that they belong, feel connected and comfortable, and are enabled to contribute to shared and meaningful purposes.

    In addition, our Country Alliance Leads offer various activities to inform, involve, and inspire all participants.

    But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what some of our participants have said:
    “Feeling valued and connected. Our Pride Alliance provides a forum for employees to feel connected, heard, and accepted. It also allows a safe forum to share stories and challenges. For those who join as allies, listening to these stories helps them better understand the challenges that the community sometimes faces and better understand how to best support our LGBTQ+ colleagues.”

    “Colleagues sharing their stories, being in a room where I truly feel like I belong and don't feel judged.”

    “Being part of the Alliances gives me a heightened sense of belonging. On the days when I sit in the office feeling like I shouldn't be here or everyone here doesn't want me here, I remember that I am part of something bigger. I am part of Pride Alliance, and we are trying to make things way better for people like me who are yet to join DHL; this fills me with joy and makes things that much better.”

  • Like any network, community, or program, Alliances live from its members and especially from its committed and passionate leaders.

    These people have the experience and knowledge to best reflect what each Alliance stands for and identify room for improvement. As individuals, we often lack the ability to see our surroundings from other points of view.

    Additionally, employee-led Alliances often garner greater trust and credibility within the workforce. Initiatives originating from peers rather than management are more likely to inspire engagement and support among colleagues.

    It is important to remember that all these people, especially the Country Alliance Leaders, do this voluntarily.


Follow us on social (#DeliveredWithPride) as we celebrate Pride Month in 2024 and share your experiences!

More about Alliances@DHLGroup

  • How do Alliances@DHL Group work?
    Alliances are voluntary, employee-led groups for colleagues with shared identities and interests. They are open to all employees who wish to connect with others, share their experiences, or support the Alliance's mission and goals.

    Alliances share a common framework with a clear mission and goals. The collective purpose and common experience help Alliances develop and grow to attract even more participants to get involved.

    This global framework is built on grassroots efforts, with country leads who manage day-to-day activities, drive growth, and collaborate with other leads to share knowledge and experiences. While they take the lead, each member’s voice and contribution drives the group forward.
  • How are Alliances@DHL Group like employee interest groups (ERGs)?
    Employee Resource Groups are voluntary, employee-led groups aiming to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned within their organizations. Our Alliances are based on this model. Learn more at Great Place To Work.
  • How do Alliances@DHL Group fit into DHL Group’s Sustainability Roadmap?
    Alliances@DHL Group foster a sense of belonging. In this way, they are closely connected to our aspiration of becoming a great place to work for all, where our people feel comfortable, connected, and empowered to contribute.
  • What kinds of Alliances@DHL Group are there?
    Our Alliances are part of our DEIB framework and linked to our six DEIB pillars. We initially launched Alliances@DHLGroup in four countries and focused on two of the pillars: Ability and LGBTQ+. By starting small in scope and geography, we aim to gain experience and insights so that we can scale up and roll out in other countries. The Pride Alliance, for example, was established in 2023, building on similar yet disconnected groups around the world, such as the RainbowNet in Germany.
  • What do all Alliances@DHL Group have in common?
    Alliances are open to all employees. They are united behind a common mission and goals and aim to create a shared experience for everyone who joins. Alliances also share a set of visuals, activities, and tools to help make this happen.

It’s all about #iBelong

We all want to belong, whether in our communities or our workplaces. Alliances help our people come together to connect and feel comfortable. They provide a forum to voice opinions, improve visibility and understanding of DEIB issues, and foster equitable and inclusive workspaces. They And they add value at every level as we aspire to be a great company to work for all!

You BELONG with us!

In a global business like ours, the opportunities are endless. So come and join us, grow with us, and stay with us. DHL is the place where you belong!

Published: June 2024

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