What's the Secret to the Success of DHL Express?

Henry Fares, Head of HR, DHL, Middle East

DHL Express’ pioneering training philosophy and corporate culture has enhanced its market leadership position in the Middle East logistics industry, writes Henry Fares, Head of Human Resources - MENA at DHL Express. Interviewed by Simon Stephens, Head of Frazer Jones Middle East.

In my opinion the right corporate culture will soon be the main sustainable competitive advantage that will differentiate companies from each other. Here at DHL Express we care about our staff and customers. We embed the quest for “continuous improvement” in our daily activities.

Our continuous efforts at improving are underpinned by our Certified International Specialists (CIS) training programme. The initiative is not a traditional training platform, as it was designed first and foremost as an engagement tool. It has been delivered to our entire 100,000-strong workforce and seeks to give best-in-class advice on various sectors.

It has proved to be very successful, as we have one of the highest skilled and engaged workforce and we were recently named for the second consecutive year as ‘Best Employer’ in the Middle East and North Africa for 2014 by Aon Hewitt. Best of all is the fact that this award is based on employee engagement and best in class HRM practices, so we know we are connecting with our staff.

Succes of DHL Express

The key to success

There has always been a mystery behind great successes and achievements, as finding that X factor is vital. The key to our success has been our ability to employ highly motivated staff, who are customer-centric and willing to deliver their best day in, day out.

In order to make sure staff are well equipped to continually deliver the best results, we simplify our strategy. While we appreciate that strategies have to be complex and compelling in order to be successful, they still have to be simple enough so they can be understood by everybody. If you understand your product well you can sell it better, and if you understand your vision well you are better equipped to work towards reaching your end goal.

By simplifying processes and structures DHL has been a success. Under our strategy, everyone - whether they are the most senior or least senior worker - must connect with the brand on an emotional level and know how they can and are contributing.

We follow the 70, 20, 10 development framework, which sees training time allocated to on the job experience, direct feedback and formal training respectively. People typically learn best through a combination of the three training options and this includes online courses, mentoring schemes and job shadowing.

HR in the Middle East

Of course, resting on your laurels is not an option in the HR world, as companies should always be looking to update their policies and programmes with a focus on continuous learning as they who out-educate you today will “beat” you tomorrow.

When it comes to HR, the challenges are almost always the same, but it is the solutions that need to evolve. For example, talent management will be a major consideration, but the approach taken towards the issue will alter over time because of various factors.

The key is to react to new trends over time. By making sure every single employee has an entrepreneurial spirit, we know we make decisions immediately. As the first logistics operator in the region, more than 35 years ago, DHL Express has been a pioneer in the Middle East. We keep on developing people as we believe this is the best way to maintain our leadership position and deliver best-in-class services to you customers.