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Prime Mover Magazine


DHL CEO reveals growth strategy

Frank Appel, CEO of logistics company, DHL, said that his employee engagement strategy includes sharing purpose and doing good.

In an interview with The Financial Times, Appel explained that he measures three bottom lines at the helm of the global logistics company.

Alongside financial performance, he also measures employee satisfaction, through an annual company-wide survey, and environmental impact via a carbon efficiency index.

Appel noted that it is crucial that companies have, and employees fully understand, a clear purpose, both for engagement and growth.

“What drives people is not top-line growth,” he said. “Our purpose has to be very explicitly understood by every employee. The more it is understood the better the performance of the company.”

Appel explained that his experiences working at consultancy McKinsey earlier in his career showed him that the best companies were those where engaged employees were making the lives of customers easier, and engagement can be achieved by recognising workers’ core needs.

“We have three needs,” he said: love, hope and purpose. “If you treat them properly, humans are very similar.”

DHL’s social efforts include its research and development into green – electric and emissions-free – courier vehicles, and its Go Help initiative, which utilises DHL’s logistics expertise to respond to crises such as the impact of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017.

“We cannot say, ‘Listen, our strategy is to make money and if we have time left then we’ll do something which is good for the society’,” he said. “Our job is to do something good for the society, and to do that, we have to make money – otherwise we can’t continue to invest.”

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