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Sustainability

People-powered logistics in a digital age

In a world powered by logistics, we are a company powered by people. No matter what needs to be moved, building solid supply chains and logistics networks is about assembling strong, cross-functional teams and empowering each individual to give their best.

The human factor is our success factor

five employees

It’s no secret that new technologies are transforming many industries – and logistics and supply chain management are no exceptions. That’s why we have written a lot about the digital transformation in our industry. But digital is disrupting everything, including the way job seekers look for work and how companies attract top talent.

Right now, the world is fascinated by artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential for business, but we can’t neglect the one absolutely essential factor in every efficient, agile, and resilient business model: the human factor.

So, while the world depends on logistics, and today’s supply chains rely on technology. People are the critical ingredient for both.

75%

Of employers in the logistics sector anticipate a shortage of applicants

56%

Of supply chain leaders have a senior executive heading their supply chain function

87%

Of companies are concerned about skill gaps

6x

Organizations with inclusive cultures are 6 times more likely to be innovative and agile

Top employer in 2024

Top employees

To be the world’s leading logistics company, you obviously have to stay out in front. Technology plays a central role, which is why we integrate new tech into our business and upskill our workforce to meet the needs of the digital age.

But while we adopt tech early, we also adapt early – to ensure that we attract the right people, develop our leaders, deliver the skills needed, create a culture of belonging, and provide for the agility needed in our fast-paced, ever-changing industry. Those efforts have made us one of the world’s best employers.

Our HR team at DHL Supply Chain has released a complete HR Guide to Supply Chain. Below we share their insights into how we find the right people to keep supply chains running smoothly.

Attract and recruit the best

The supply chain and logistics market is highly competitive. This is partly due to shortages in certain roles and locations. The lack of drivers has been widely reported, for example. The International Road Transport Union has been tracking an increase in driver shortages globally, citing over three million unfilled truck driver jobs in 2023.

But empty truck cockpits are only one part of the problem. Demographics, changing skill sets, cost-cutting, and education also play a role.

With high demand and low supply, we have to stand out from the crowd – and we do that by pursuing our goal of being a great company to work for all. That starts by building on our strong reputation and developing our employer brand.

Technology and a candidate-centric mindset also play a key role in our recruiting process. We use innovative marketing and sourcing approaches to make us more attractive and target specific groups, such as gamers who are digital savvy. And we make sure to recruit from a diverse talent pool because there is real value in a team with a wide range of experiences and perspectives.

Entrance hall of a large company

Examples: employer branding and recruitment campaigns

Your Future, Delivered.

We are leading the way in combining consumer marketing and employer branding – an approach that has been highly successful. 

Esports

Working with a trusted influencer, we raise awareness of DHL as an employer of choice for tech professionals.

All markets

Based on extensive research, our global campaign positions DHL as an employer of choice to talent worldwide.

Build a leadership environment

Managers

In these uncertain times, a strong supply chain requires effective leadership at every level. When a supply chain leader departs, it can create a significant gap. It's crucial to have a reliable pool of leadership talent to ensure continuity. However, finding individuals with the necessary leadership qualities can be challenging.

One problem is the widespread lack of awareness about logistics and supply chain management, especially about the types of jobs that are available, says Hays, a leading global recruitment firm. The company stresses the need to showcase opportunities in our industry and inspire young professionals to join.

Internally, we focus on retention, training, and development. That starts by setting clear leadership attributes and expectations, giving us a sustainable structure that applies across all types of roles and guides us through the growing challenges in our rapidly changing world. Then we provide opportunities to develop the necessary skills for the supply chains of the future.

Inclusion is a critical aspect of leadership – taking actions that make people feel included. Our leaders devote a lot of effort to employee engagement, as people who feel like they belong are more likely to be enthusiastic about their work and strive to perform their jobs to the best of their ability. 

Develop skill sets head of market change

Supply chain tech has advanced in recent years, complementing human expertise in inventory, warehousing, transport, and service delivery. Picking robots and autonomous forklifts have made logistics safer, efficient, and less repetitive. As technology like robotics and AI grow, every employee who trains in data analytics and human-robot collaboration is more future-proofed.

As the workplace becomes more digital, we’re focusing on experiential learning (learning by doing) to keep skillsets ahead of the market. We’re also using apprenticeships, internships, and graduate programs to develop future leaders. Experiential learning allows employees to learn job-related skills through on-the-job experiences, which is informal and self-directed. Completing tasks and projects helps employees acquire new skills more easily. Our training and development programs help our people grow and be successful while giving customers a competitive advantage.

Create a workplace where people belong

Employees in yellow high-visibility jackets

Supply chain businesses are increasingly realizing the benefits of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). To create a close-knit community with a common purpose, people need to feel comfortable, connected, and contributing. An inclusive environment is the first step. Workers feel connected when they share the organization's purpose and values. The feeling of contribution comes when they see their unique talents and efforts make a difference.

We understand that our purpose as a logistics company is to connect people and improve lives, not simply to transport things from one place to another – and we value respect as much as we do results. We regularly create opportunities to connect and contribute, such as our Certified program.  And we provide highly effective and fulfilling ways to contribute our time and expertise to people in need, such as through our social impact programs.

Our goal is to be a place where everyone belongs and where everyone can thrive and be their authentic selves, which is why DEIB is at the heart of everything we do at DHL Group. As a responsible global business, we respect all internationally recognized human rights and accept responsibility towards our employees.


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Flexibility and agility are key

3/4

Of executives view robotics automation as a solution the shortage of young warehouse workers

44%

Of warehouse operators In the U.S. provide flexible shifts despite it being the most popular requirement among job seekers

Assemble a flexible, agile workforce

Happy employees

Organizations rely on supply chain partners to keep businesses running smoothly. Fluctuations in workforce requirements can pose a problem without a plan in place for flexibility and agility. The scarcity of supply chain labor has forced companies to be creative in their hiring and staffing strategy, reports McKinsey. Recruiting workers to handle the highs and lows of commerce is a challenge, especially during global labor shortages.

We tailor the way we help customers meet peak demands to the specific market. But to deliver the agility customers need, we must acknowledge the flexibility that short-term workers often require. We plan early and develop contingency staffing plans, working with approved agency partners and leveraging digital recruitment processes to bring people in and train them faster and easier. Technology like collaborative robots working alongside humans also helps during peak times.

Skilled, engaged, flexible, and resilient

Building a supply chain workforce fit for the future is really about asking the right questions. Are you recruiting from a diverse talent pool and leveraging technology for a better candidate experience? Do you engage employees at all levels? Can your employees bring their genuine selves to work each day? Are you recruiting young people with skills that you will need for the future? Do you have contingency plans for staffing peak times?

Logistics and supply chain management is an international business that is evolving rapidly, but the main HR challenges are pretty clear. Remember that the human factor is your success factor and the first step to building solid supply chains and logistics networks.

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Published: March 2024


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