HR responds to COVID-19: DHL Supply Chain


A sense of pride in the DHL brand and the work that it does to keep the country running has been the resounding impact for employees at the delivery supply chain.

Now, more than ever, workers distributing essential goods are receiving recognition and have a very immediate sense of purpose, according to Lindsay Bridges, senior vice president of HR for DHL Supply Chain UK&I.

Though the company currently has a mixture of people working from home, on furlough and onsite it has also managed to successfully redeploy approximately 1,200 people from areas like aviation where work has slowed to sectors with increased demand like life sciences and food distribution, where demand is “almost bigger than the Christmas peak.”

Speaking to HR magazine, Bridges said: “We’ve had positive feedback [about redeployment] because people have been able to stay in work, but also because they've enjoyed learning something new, particularly where we've redeployed people into supporting the NHS. People feel that they're doing their bit.”

Offering further support the company has been able to accelerate the rollout of a dedicated communications app to all 40,000 of its employees in the UK and Ireland. So far, Bridges estimates that around 15,000 members of staff have voluntarily signed up.

She added: “The app has been able to fill a gap for people that maybe didn't have that gap before.

It's an information flow to employees but also a social wall a little bit like Facebook, so employees can actually post questions, post comments, and chat and engage with one another.

“We’re really seeing the user engagement in that ramp up quite significantly.”

Since early on in the outbreak, DHL Supply Chain has also had a dedicated HR Taskforce to answer employee queries surrounding COVID-19.

The taskforce is led and coordinated by a project manager, draws together staff from marketing and HR and has received around 1,300 queries to date.

She added: “It's kind of hard to get consistent messages and with COVID-19 it has to be done really consistently. The strong communication flow and management of the taskforce has been really important.”

Without doubt DHL employees continue to face challenges in adapting to COVID-19 work conditions, but overall Bridges’ outlook is positive. As part of a bi-weekly activity pack the company sends out to employees the company is doing its bit to spread the hopeful rainbow pictures in people’s windows (Only in the shape of a truck).

Bridges added: “There's a massive amount of general feeling of pride that actually we're really a part of this and we're making a difference.”

Further reading:

HR responds to COVID-19: Hertfordshire County Council

HR responds to COVID-19: manufacturing

COVID-19: The critical questions that all HR departments must ask