Leading HR strategies from APAC’s top employer

We talked with the vice president of HR at this award-winning firm to find out how their company has managed to reach such great heights

International logistics firm, DHL Express, has been been awarded top spot in the Great Place to Work Institute's Best Workplaces 2016 survey for APAC within the multinational category.
HRD sat down with Amod Date, vice president of HR for DHL Express Singapore, to see why his company had received this prestigious award.
DHL Express has achieved a positive reputation worldwide, he said, with the firm winning the title of Top Employer in 43 countries. This, he added, is due to the company’s globally aligned HR practices which focus on four key pillars:
  1. Motivated people
  2. Great service quality
  3. Loyal customers
  4. Profitable network
A team of certified specialists
One way in which these pillars are adhered to is through careful employee training, Date said.
“In 2010, DHL launched our award-winning training programs: Certified International Specialist (CIS) and Certified International Manager (CIM).”
“These engage employees across all functions on the fundamentals of corporate culture & values, international shipping and their knowledge of essential aspects.”
At the time of writing, the CIS program has been offered to more than 100,000 employees in over 220 countries and territories worldwide, he added.
“We ensure that the training facilitators are from all functions in order to provide a diverse perspective. CIS is very important to us in building a powerful people network with the best trained workforce.”
Additionally, DHL’s management is put through the CIM program to strengthen their leadership talents, Date said.
“We are all trained as CIMs and are always looking for ways to energise our people, instill pride in them through developmental opportunities, and offer consistent and constant feedback to build a culture of trust and camaraderie.”
Aligning the culture at all levels
DHL Express also puts a lot of effort into nurturing a culture that everyone identifies with, Date said. For instance, it is not unusual for business leaders to deal directly with the customers too.
“Our leaders proactively foster bonds with customers. ‘Straight to the Top’ is one such channel linking customers with our managing director so that he can have their direct feedback.”
In fact, managers within DHL spend 70 per cent of their time with customers, Date said. This strengthens a customer-focused culture through all levels of the organisation.
Engaging a global workforce
These various efforts deliver real results, seen in DHL’s annual Employee Opinion Survey, he added.
“The APAC result last year scored higher than 90% in all key performance indicators including employee engagement, teamwork, job fulfillment and continuous improvement.”
A bright future for bright sparks
Looking towards the future, Date said that DHL has marked 2016 as ‘Year of the Supervisors’.
“We aim to make our 140 supervisors lead the benchmark of entry level managers in Singapore.”
In March, the firm launched the first module of the CIM Supervisory Excellence Program.
This will be followed by a series of HR-led workshops, coaching and mentoring sessions. In all, the 18-month program will help first-time leaders move from being individual contributions to leading a team, Date said.
Related stories:
Who are the Asia-Pacific’s top employers?
Revealed: Singapore’s best companies to work for
How vision and clarity made a three-time 'Best Employer'

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