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Certified to deliver excellence in logistics

“Certified Freight Specialist” is our key program at DHL Freight to drive employee engagement and thus execution excellence. Stella Jory and David Urban explain, how customers benefit from top-qualified teams.

What is the Certified Freight Specialist program all about?

Stella Jory: Certified is a unique and leading edge program that makes a commitment and an investment into our people. Started ten years ago in our Group’s DHL Express division, “Certified” aims to make the DPDHL Group the world’s first globally operating company to certify each and every employee. At DHL Freight, we have established the “Certified Freight Specialist” program – CFS – and are celebrating five years of CFS this year.

David Urban: CFS is our key program at DHL Freight to foster employee engagement and thus execution excellence. We do this with the evolution of our Freight culture, with CFS explaining who we are, how we work together and in bringing our values to life. At the same time CFS enhances the capability of our people and our organization on all levels, from functional excellence to our management culture.

How are the sessions organized? Who is doing the sessions and who can participate?

Stella Jory: The CFS portfolio offers a range of programs and modules, some for all employees and others for selected target groups.

What makes CFS so special is that it is delivered from colleagues to colleagues: Our own people are trained to become Facilitators, delivering the “Certified” sessions.

Stella Jory, Head of Certified, DHL Global Forwarding & DHL Freight (© DHL Freight)

David Urban: Our CFS foundation “Welcome to my Company” is targeted at all employees. You can have a country CFO next to a team leader from a terminal meeting in the same session. With further modules, we drive the functional excellence in areas such as Customer Service or Dispatching. And ultimately, we have “Certified” modules targeted at our people leaders to drive the management culture at DHL Freight with our values Respect & Results.

In what regard are Certified Freight Specialists a USP in Germany and abroad?

David Urban: Our people are recognized as the only true competitive advantage. We rely on their expertise and their capability. Certified is positioned to evolve both of these to excellence. A good example is a Certified Driver who fully buys in the purpose of his work, has an emotional connection to our company, is sure to engage with our customer more effectively, and over all also delivers great service.

Stella Jory: Or think of a Certified Dispatcher: He or she works with a Dispatcher Excellence Mindset, being customer-centric, driving an efficient network and achieving profitable growth.

In what way do DHL Freight customers benefit from “Certified” teams?

Stella Jory: Our Certified Freight Specialists go the extra mile, they are committed to our company’s purpose of connecting people, improving lives. CFS supporting our people and culture is what makes the difference for customers of DHL Freight.

David Urban: We build our “Certified” program on the Human Sigma approach, promoted through Gallup. Human Sigma is about driving success by effectively managing the moments where employees interact with customers. With CFS we invest in our people, as engaged employees do impact customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Have customer needs changed in recent years – and, correspondingly, has the CFS program done so?

David Urban: Yes, customer need is an ever evolving approach and we need to keep them as the center of our priority. CFS has evolved to align to customer needs: Our CFS module “Leading Change @ The Frontline” does exactly that. We equip our managers with tools and skills to build an adaptive workforce for the customers’ benefit.

Stella Jory: And with CFS, we drive customer centricity. That is one of our strategic initiatives at DHL Freight: The module “Our Customer Promise” targets all employees and helps them to explore our promise “Excellence. Simply delivered.” and how everyone can deliver this promise and make a difference for our customers.

How does the CFS program contribute to the strategy FREIGHT 2025, particularly concerning digital transformation and green logistics?

David Urban: CFS is a key conduit to FREIGHT 2025. The strategy is brought to the people via CFS, in an experiential and engaging way. With sessions on change management, we equip our people for the digital transformation, including the implementation of our new Transport Management System EVO. And we even have a dedicated “Certified” program on green logistics, the Certified GoGreen Specialist.

How many employees and managers have taken part in the program?

Stella Jory: Over the last five years more than 11,500 colleagues across 33 countries participated in our foundation module. With COVID-19 we had to pause our classroom sessions this year, but the first countries are ready to start the sessions again, to certify our colleagues who joined DHL Freight within the last months.

As for our managers, we are currently at a share of more than 60% and will re-start sessions depending on the health & safety situation in our countries.

What do employees appreciate most?

Stella Jory: The CFS programs are unique for their multi-sensory experience. People are always engaged in the learning methodology, with films, interactive activities and sharing of work experiences and expertise. They appreciate our CFS sessions as a great way to network and exchange ideas.

David Urban: It is amazing to see how our colleagues enjoy the CFS experience and learn about their value and the way they play a role in the purpose of our company. This really makes a difference for their commitment to DHL Freight. Our colleagues benefit from CFS building a community of Certified Freight Specialists, as well as capability and cultural understanding.

What are your targets regarding even higher participation and future trends to be considered?

Stella Jory: It is less about targets and more about doing the right thing. Certified is part of our jobs, the manager’s job is something we do each and every day. But we aim to have all our people attend our foundation, ideally within the first 90 days of joining DHL Freight. Managers should subscribe to the management portfolio, and we track our progress to have them all certified. Last but not least, for our frontline managers we are about to launch a Supervisory Excellence curriculum, embedded into our Group’s strategic targets.

How has COVID-19 changed the way of learning so far?

Stella Jory: Classroom sessions were impacted, but the CFS values and principles live on. We did make a transition to virtual offerings and also built up a pathway to transitioning back to the classroom, creating a safe and engaging CFS environment with new safety and hygiene rules.

Our CFS program plays a key role helping us all to embrace change.

David Urban, Head of Human Resources at DHL Freight (© DHL Freight)

David Urban: It was and is impressive to see how well our people manage the challenging COVID-19 situation. We believe that our CFS program plays a key role helping us all to embrace change, and leverage our Freight values Passion, Pace, Power & Pride to deliver excellence even during these challenging times. That openness towards change now also helped tremendously in adjusting to the new normal.

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