Developing staff develops the business

Educational opportunities for everyone, focus on recruitment and a strategic social-media effort are some of the tools aimed at giving DSV a head start in the struggle for the best minds. The HR plan has now been presented – and it is ambitious.

Jan M. Jensen and Helle Bach at the DSV HQ

Do you recognise the situation where you are sitting around the dinner table and the subject of work comes up? It can be difficult to explain why transport and logistics is the most interesting sector in the world when half the guests don’t even recognise the name of your company – and don’t quite understand what your work actually entails.

We need to change this. DSV needs to be even more proactive in its endeavours to brand the company, and the arena for doing this will primarily be familiar social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as Asian social media and the upcoming job portal at Together these must illustrate who DSV is and the type of people DSV wishes to attract.

The purpose is to boost our recruitment and retention efforts, and this starts with us telling who we are,

says Helle Bach, Group HR Director, who, along with Jan M. Jensen, Head of Global Training & Education, has just presented a three-year plan for DSV’s human resources.

"It will be more evolutionary than revolutionary, because it is healthy for us to be capable of keeping up with and seizing on the changes” Helle Bach says, pointing out that DSV is also in the midst of an enormous integration process involving many staff-related changes all over the world.

DSV Academy: training for everyone

Recruiting staff is one thing but retaining them is an entirely different achievement that cannot be accomplished through good branding on various platforms. Accordingly, the importance of training and development is at least equal to the keener focus on recruitment in the new HR plan.

DSV is a people-centric business. Every year we spend DKK 7.5 billion on wages, which requires us to maximise our investment and ensure that everyone is performing at their best to benefit both the business and the staff,

says Jan M. Jensen, who is currently gathering DSV’s global training initiatives under one hat: DSV Academy. The academy will offer sales training, customer service training, leadership training and – the latest addition – Young DSV, which could eventually develop into DSV’s global freight-forwarder training programme.

Customers want “One DSV”

Many of the training programmes will be mandatory whereas it will be possible to select other programmes on an individual basis. This will depend on the situation in the individual country and the current level of training there. The idea is to obtain a high level of training in all regions so that, insofar as possible, customers experience the same good service no matter where their point of access to DSV originates.

“Today, DSV has more large multinational customers than previously and more customers who impose stringent requirements on us through the higher degree of complexity in their supply chain. Obviously these customers expect us to be able to work effortlessly across divisions and national borders and that our services and solutions embody the same high standard throughout the supply chain, from one end of the world to the other,” Jan M. Jensen says, emphasising the direction of the company’s development: One DSV, one cohesive organisation which, despite different conditions, is capable of giving customers the experience of dealing with just one company.

“Dealing with global customers is an enormous responsibility and a shared global task which requires us to be good at collaborating and sharing our knowledge and resources throughout the organisation. Our job in Group HR is to work through local HR units to ensure that we have the skill-sets and level of management at global level to be able to ‘deliver the goods’ to all our customers,” Helle Bach explains.

Global struggle for talented employees

And we will further intensify our focus on recruitment. Everyone wants the best employees, particularly in IT, and to attract talented individuals, DSV has to heighten the profile of DSV’s values and send crystal-clear signals about issues such as educational and career opportunities, framework conditions and the individual’s contribution to the whole. “DSV is not starting from scratch,” Helle Bach points out, adding that the company itself is a good selling point: 

“People want to be part of a successful business but we can be better at spreading the good stories. This is where social media will be used as an expedient tool for branding us as an employer by providing strategic information to the target group in terms of recruiting and retaining skilled, talented employees,” she says, explaining:

Prospective employees want to know what kind of company they will be working for and existing employees want to be reaffirmed and take pride in having made the right choice. This is why it is crucial to spread the good stories about identity, culture and behaviour.

General idea of career paths and options

In relation to the individual employee, this obviously involves being satisfied with one’s job on a daily basis. DSV has traditionally practised retention by promoting its skilled and loyal employees to management positions but without having thoroughly prepared them for the new position in every instance.

Helle Bach at the DSV HQAccording to Helle Bach, a good HR strategy is based on the corporate strategy and adapted to the corporate culture.

Helle Bach: “Being a skilled freight-forwarder requires one set of skills but it takes something more to be an adept manager, and we need to focus on this at global level. Perhaps the best solution for both the company and the employee is not a managerial career, but specialising.”  

Therefore, Group HR will also heighten an awareness of the many other career options and build up a system for applying for jobs internationally so that being appointed manager is not the only personal development option within DSV. It must be easier to apply for jobs across country organisations and it must be easier for DSV to find qualified candidates who must eventually pass the same tests and complete the same interviews before being hired.

“Our in-house recruitment tradition gives us great strength, and we all benefit from it, but it needs to be further systematised, especially now where we suddenly need to consider the needs of 40,000 employees. Through in-house recruitment, we export DSV's DNA and knowledge, which is brilliant, but also challenging,” Helle says, emphasising how the Road division is typically the main supplier of the Air & Sea divisions, whereas DSV Denmark is the primary supplier of the rest of the world. 

“Sending the office's best man to the US might create turbulence if we’re not seeing a comparable food chain flowing back in the other direction,” she emphasises.

The company attracts, managers retain

This prompts the question: how will employees experience the fact that DSV’s operations are now based on a global HR plan? Jan and Helle reply that it will mostly be as training: partly by having one’s own skill-sets upgraded and partly through having more qualified managers.

“Each manager’s characteristics are crucial for their employees’ enthusiasm and desire to go to work. This makes it tremendously important for us to continue developing the skill-sets of our managerial staff because employees need job satisfaction, challenges and personal development, both in their day-to-day work and in relation to their immediate supervisor. It is pointless to be able to attract employees if we are incapable of retaining them and maximising their potential,” Helle says.

Learn more about a career in DSV

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