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A common culture is the key to global engagement

A consistent company culture is key to high employee engagement levels, but this can be difficult in a multinational business.

Employee engagement is fundamental to differentiating global businesses from their competitors, according to Regine Buettner, EVP HR global and Europe at DHL Express.

“Our competitors can copy our global network, they can copy our cars, but they are not able to copy our culture,” she told HR magazine. “That framework is essential in keeping our employees engaged.”

DHL Express operates in more than 220 countries worldwide, and handles one million packages per day. Buettner said that co-ordination is the key to maintaining global consistency across such a vast geographical area.

“Across the globe every employee has participated in our engagement programme,” she explained. “It’s all about the history of the company and what our different services are. We stress how important it is to be very customer-centric, and how individual tasks contribute to the overall global network.”

“There are also cultural differences to consider,” she added. “We have a range of employees, from blue-collar workers up to highly educated individuals such as pilots. We must keep them all engaged.

“A fundamental question was how we can deliver the same message to everyone across the globe, and how we can build branding that will be recognised everywhere.”

DHL is introducing a new onboarding initiative for employees. It will contain videos on company culture, country-specific employment law, and a guide on where to go for help.

“We can translate this package into any language,” Buettner said. “This will help our frontline people, as they will not need to look for information.”

The reaction from employees is also key. “Every year we ask for feedback on how we can develop further,” Buettner added. “Based on the responses, last year we implemented a twice-yearly appreciation week. This year the focus will be on supervisors. We want to encourage them to coach our other employees.”