Carlos Andres de Silva
Vice President of Human Resources
DHL Express Mexico
View from the Top

Proactive Talent Initiatives Necessary in Tight Labor Market

By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Mon, 06/06/2022 - 09:19

Q: What impact has the e-commerce boom had on the company’s associates?

A: As a logistics company, DHL Mexico was named an essential business at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by the federal government. As such, our associates were charged with supporting the sudden e-commerce boom that supported the livelihood of millions of people across the republic. The demand was so acute and so pronounced that we hired an additional 2,000 people at a time when a lot of companies saw themselves obligated to downsize. This was also intended to avoid burnout among our associates. Independently of tragedy that followed the COVID-19 pandemic we felt fortunate that we could keep our contributors on payroll and do our part to sustain the economy.


Q: How has DHL gaged wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: Prior to COVID-19, we had already undertaken a number of wellness initiatives, such as Fit for Life, Fit for Work, which attempts to contribute to the emotional, mental and physical well-being of our associates. This was supplemented by a psychological support program managed by a third-party company hired to support our associates at the regional level. This resource allowed our associates to connect with health professionals so that they could vent, receive advice and learn coping mechanisms on a one-on-one basis. We encouraged socialization and physical wellness through virtual events hosted by the company as a means of supporting emotional wellness and promoting social cohesion.


Q: How did DHL distill its best practices that were voted No. 1 in Mexico by Great Place to Work?

A: DHL’s best practices rest on three main pillars: motivation, fair remuneration and diversity, each with specific programs meant to foment their realization and development within the company’s organizational structure. Working backward, from the perspective of diversity and inclusion, we are trying to increase the presence of women within the company and to support our LGBTQ+ community with specific programs, such as our Rainbow Network and zero tolerance for discriminatory practices. Fair remuneration and benefits are an important motivating factor for our associates, which are complemented with incentives where they can receive up to six months of their salary. Lastly, DHL invests significantly in the interpersonal value it offers its associates, which fundamentally rests on listening to our associates so we can adapt our value proposition according to their changing needs. 

Looking forward, and in consideration of now standard digital work models, DHL is exploring the implementation of a flexible benefits program where individual employees will be able to hand-pick the benefits that are relevant to their identified needs. This is an ongoing development but it is a migration we are hoping to realize later this year.


Q: What do DHL’s annual employee surveys indicate about shifting values?

A: The values of our associates have shifted. This is most visible in regard to personal autonomy, namely flexibility. We are increasingly seeing candidates turn down positions because they are not 100 percent remote, despite having a 3-2 hybrid model that people can implement in line with their schedules and team needs. DHL has not discarded the possibility of a fully remote work scheme for some roles but it is too premature to implement given that we lack protocols and internal processes to support operations, at least for now. The values of our associates have moved away from individualistic, professional ambitions to internal growth, promotions, working abroad, work-life balance, social responsibility and other constructive values. The aim now is to adapt our value proposition to reflect this shift in personal values.


Q: How has talent scarcity impacted DHLs operability or scalability?

A:  DHL Mexico is facing an IT talent shortage, which has directly affected our strategic digitalization efforts, a focal point for the company at a global level in 2022. We have a specific need for talent specialized in algorithms, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. The problem is that this is a pronounced cross-industrial need. This demand has incited a domestic war for talent, which will go to the company that can offer the greatest remunerative benefits package. It is a market that increasingly is being encroached upon by foreign demand.


Q: Has DHL engaged in university outreach to meet ongoing talent needs?

A: Yes. In fact, we have invested significantly in upskilling our talent in the types of technologies and digital skills that DHL needs. Frustratingly, after they have completed their training, they receive an avalanche of offers from other companies but, for the most part, we have had a good retention rate.


Q: From a human resources perspective, what objectives does DHL have for 2022-2023 and how will it be measuring its success?

A: One objective is inclusion. For example, one goal is to have women represent at least 20 percent of the organization’s workforce in all areas within the next three years. This has already been accomplished within our retail and customer services areas, but they remain underrepresented in other segments. Another goal is to have at least 10 percent of people with disabilities working in various areas. In terms of individual development, we want to encourage the promotion of internal talent who have proven their commitment to the company. Lastly, as part of our digitalization strategy we are also in the midst of enhancing our HR department with technology applications and solutions.


DHL Express, supported by more than 380,000 employees, brings logistical solutions to clients and end users in over 220 countries and territories.

Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Journalist & Industry Analyst