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Opportunity the key to fostering an 'employer of choice' culture

COMMONLY held perceptions suggest that a company positioning itself as an "employer of choice" is all about paying the highest salaries, passing out the richest bonuses and delivering the most diverse provident funds with the highest possible returns. While these bottom-line considerations are important and do often sway some people to choose a particular employer, they do not present the complete picture.

These days, employees want more than money. And employers of all sizes and in a broad range of industries need to take notice.

As an employer, just consider for a moment the effect on your business if you lose 20-30 per cent of your staff every year. How would this affect your profitability, productivity and the morale of those left behind, still working at your company, with many demoralised as they see more and more of their colleagues leave?

Employer value propositions in essence go beyond the money factors and elevate the importance and status of creating a sustainable company human-resource infrastructure. This carefully nurtured culture of a company enables employees continually to get better at what they do and make a contribution to the success of the company through the responsibilities they are given, the challenges they face daily and the recognition they are granted for a job well done.

Increasingly our employees confirm that while they very much belong to and are an integral part of a company and its growth, they want to have more independence and autonomy with considerable power to make largely unrestricted decisions on their own. They want to feel empowered, and increasingly that features very prominently as a factor in increasing employee loyalty.

Even with the advent of the digital era, employees are very important to the best organisations and constitute a primary competitive advantage in retaining current customers and winning new ones.

Our Certified International Specialist (CIS) training programme ensures that literally all of our nearly 1,000 employees in Thailand have the requisite knowledge of all relevant facets of the international express business. Modules for these and many other training programmes need to be continually reviewed and updated to match current market dynamics in any given country and ensure total and meaningful engagement with employees.

The whole essence of employee engagement is to drive outstanding customer service and loyalty, creating a customer-centric organisation. We introduced the CIS programme globally in July 2010. CIS is not a traditional training platform. It was designed first and foremost as an engagement tool. To underscore its importance, it has been delivered not only by professional trainers, but by our own management.

The programme employs innovative learning methodologies to train employees across all functions on the fundamentals of international shipping, enhancing their knowledge of essential aspects, such as import/export documentation and transport regulations and processes. Through video interviews, it has also engaged former executives of the company in telling the story of the entrepreneurial roots of DHL and the values that helped the company to become a global leader in logistics.

To date, CIS has been delivered to more than 100,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, making it one of the largest corporate training programmes ever implemented. The materials have been translated into 42 languages.

Our business, like most others, is still operated and managed by human beings, and the benefits of multimillion-dollar investments in transport infrastructure and technology will be rendered meaningless if a courier who is delivering a shipment decides to take a bad day at home out on a customer. In the case of a courier who is enthused and passionate about the work he or she does, however, it goes without saying that the benefits will increase over time.

However, this measurement means very little, because the impact for our business goes way beyond these numbers. The CIS programme has reformed and reshaped the culture of our company, empowered employees to be part of the growth story and helped them to develop skills that they can build further on within their own careers.

With these and other training and development programmes available to employees, there is indeed no limit to the upward fast-track career trajectory within successful companies for motivated and determined staff. Couriers should be given a path to becoming, and can indeed become, country managers at the very best and award-winning employers of choice.

Chananyarak Phetcharat is managing director, DHL Express Thailand-Indochina


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