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Slow and steady wins the race

Wilhelm Krah

There are people who put their heart and soul into their job but prefer not to make a fuss. Wilhelm Krah, Program Manager in HR Programs & Performance at DHL Freight, is one of them.

  • Age: 36
  • Occupation: Program Manager in HR Programs & Performance at DHL Freight
  • Began working at DHL: 2015
  • Passion: Coaching
  • Favorite music: Hip-hop and punk
  • Favorite teams: 1. FC Köln and Baltimore Ravens

Multitasking is not one of my biggest strengths,” says Wilhelm Krah with a half smile, gently closing his laptop. Wilhelm, or just Will, is an impressively tall 36-year-old with an alert expression and a firm handshake.

His family dining room is homey, even if he uses a corner of it for his home office. The soft sound of children’s voices can be heard from another room. There’s piping hot coffee in colorful glasses. Things are uncomplicated here, but always with a pleasant dose of attentiveness: Will asks if I’m OK drinking coffee out of a glass. There are no clean mugs left.

From village life to management consultancy

As Will explains in his calm voice, he’s actually a farm boy. “Before my teenage years, cities like Cologne or Bonn were basically unknown to me.” He eventually left Dörrenberg, his village (population 70) in the hills of the Bergisches Land region, and moved to Cologne to study business psychology.

Armed with his bachelor’s degree, Will cut his teeth in a management consultancy in Stuttgart. “Those were exciting times. To this day, I still benefit from what I learned back then. But I also knew that I’d eventually want to get my master’s degree.” And so he did, moving to Denmark and then the Czech Republic for a master’s in business administration and economics.

“Treating each other with openness and respect – for me, that’s what it’s all about. And a positive vibe makes everyone’s day a little bit brighter.”

The winding road to DHL Freight

In 2014, Will ended up doing an internship at DHL Group. He liked the company and decided to stay. In April 2022, after moving around within Post & Parcel Germany and the corporate headquarters in Bonn, he learned of a vacancy in Christina Giesen-Ruhl’s team at DHL Freight. Will jumped at the chance. “I knew that no job in the world could be better than working for Tina. I had an amazing time with her as my manager.” Will had worked with Christina between 2018 and 2021 in internal Group market research (MRSC).

The EOS – a mammoth undertaking

Now with DHL Freight, Will’s job focuses on something that’s familiar to everyone in the Group: the Employee Opinion Survey, or EOS for short. Working with team leader Christina, Will sees to it that this annual employee survey is rolled out and completed in every Freight country and every Freight organization.

“What I do essentially is classic project management. Specifically, that means working with a team of colleagues in the Freight countries and different stakeholders to break down a ‘big’ topic – such as compliance in HR processes – into multiple strands and timelines, with the aim of moving closer, step by step, to an overall objective,” explains Will.

It does sound like a bunch of challenging tasks and a lot of responsibility, But Will has way of slowing it all down when he talks about it. He chooses his words carefully and gives his explanations the space they need. “What my department lacks in size, it makes up for in ability. Everyone in the team has their own superpower. My colleague Nicole La Roche-Rose, for example, is our expert in HR metrics and reporting.” Will is a grounded guy. “When temperatures rise around me, I’m able to keep my cool,” he says.

I have a very white collar desk job, but I’m also handy with a chainsaw.

Wilhelm “Will” Krah

Of course there are times when things get stressful, says Will, but on the whole his team is really cooperative and harmonious. “We have a fantastic work atmosphere. For example, I know it’s OK to occasionally make a mistake. There’s no drama, just an opportunity to do things differently next time.”

Outside his team, too, DHL Freight feels like the right place to be for Will: “The division is highly international but also manages to stay down-to-earth and uncomplicated. Personally, that’s just how I like it.”

Since 2017, Will has been working part time. “To be honest, it took me a long time to admit to myself that I’d rather work a few hours less per week,” he smiles. “I’m so grateful now that I can work part time, with the full support of everyone from my direct superiors all the way up to the head of HR in Freight. In such a small team especially, it needs to be carefully organized.”

Riding longboard is Will’s way of winding down. But to get to work, he prefers to cycle.

Passionate about coaching

His 80% job means Will has more time to devote to his big passion: coaching. “I became interested in it back in my student days,” he explains. While working in internal Group market research, Will completed his training in systemic coaching.

Will’s DHL Group colleagues can now also benefit from his coaching expertise – thanks to the Internal Coaching Pool. This is something that’s available to anyone in the Group. “It’s an incredible project,” says Will. “And it’s wonderful to see trained coaches from every corner of the Group offering their skills to colleagues, helping them work on their issues without any fuss.”

The colorful glasses are empty, the coffee’s gone. “Unfortunately I need to crack on,” says Will. He opens his laptop and looks though his mails. “But the meeting shouldn’t last longer than half an hour – it’s something that we keep an eye on as a team,” he says. Just then a football crashes loudly against the wall in the room next door. Will slowly shakes his head and reaches for his headset. His working day is coming to an end. Soon he’ll be able to devote his full attention to his family again.

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