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DHL forges a safe space where colleagues feel comfortable

DHL forges a safe space where colleagues feel comfortable

 July 03, 2024

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With a lot of talk about improving workplace culture and fostering a sense of belonging at work, DHL asks: what does that look like in the real world?

DHL’s growing Pride Alliances are one example of people coming together to create a place where everyone belongs. 

"When you hear the word community, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s your neighborhood or town or your local team or club. But what about the workplace? In today's workplaces, people want to feel a sense of belonging – to be part of a close-knit professional community with a common purpose. We want a space where we feel comfortable and connected and can contribute, no matter how we identify, where we come from, or our gender, abilities, age, experience, or beliefs," explains DHL.

"It’s also no secret that diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) can make a difference for business. An inclusive and equitable workplace is better equipped to face the challenges of today’s global market. That all sounds great, doesn’t it? But how does that happen? The answer: passionate people committed to bringing their colleagues together to share experiences and make an impact," adds DHL.

A proud and passionate ally of the LGBTQIA community

DHL HR Graduate

These passionate people include women working across DHL's various business units, such as DHL Global Forwarding UK HR Graduate Human Resources, Francesca Perry [pictured above], who is a proud and passionate ally of the LGBTQIA community.

"I relish the opportunity to be part of an inclusive, open, and friendly community that shares my passion for making the world a better, more inclusive place!" says Francesca.

Francesca really enjoys the sense of community and the opportunity to share her experiences with and listen to the stories of other like-minded colleagues.

"I find I am often able to answer questions others have, and I enjoy learning and expanding our knowledge and understanding together," she says.

Creating a comfortable and safe workplace


Like Francesca, DHL Supply Chain Thailand Senior Director of Operations Excellence & Pride Alliance Country Lead, Challika Pothisarattana, believes in creating a comfortable and safe workplace for herself and her colleagues.

"We spend half of our lives at the workplace. How wonderful would it be if DHL could be their second home so they can be their true selves," says Challika.

Celebrating diversity across DHL

DHL Express Pride Month

DHL Express USA Senior Manager for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging and Pride Alliance Country Lead, Dy'an Marinos shares her thoughts on DHL's Pride Alliances.

"I know the positive impact these groups can have on workplace culture," says Dy'an.

DHL Supply Chain Head of Operational Resourcing & Pride Alliance Country Lead, UK Hayley Mason-Davies adds: "We’re creating an environment where all of our sites are informed around LGBTQ+ issues and really celebrating diversity across the whole DHL Group."

Connecting employees with one another 

What started as many grassroots networks around the world has now become a global initiative. DHL Group calls its employee resource groups (ERGs) Alliances@DHL Group. The DHL Pride Alliance is one of the first.

Alliances are voluntary, employee-led groups for colleagues with shared identities and interests. They are open to all employees who wish to connect with others, share their experiences, or support the Alliance's mission and goals. Alliances share a common framework with a clear mission and goals. The collective purpose and common experience help Alliances develop and grow to attract even more participants to get involved. 

Like any network, community, or program, Alliances live from its members and especially from its committed and passionate leaders. These people have the experience and knowledge to best reflect what each Alliance stands for and identify room for improvement. Individuals often lack the ability to see our surroundings from other points of view. Additionally, employee-led Alliances often garner greater trust and credibility within the workforce. Initiatives originating from peers rather than management are more likely to inspire engagement and support among colleagues.

Forming part of DHL's DEIB framework

DHL Alliances are part of DHL's DEIB framework and linked to DHL's six DEIB pillars. DHL initially launched Alliances@DHLGroup in four countries and focused on two of the pillars: Ability and LGBTQ+. By starting small in scope and geography, DHL aims to gain experience and insights so that the company can scale up and roll out in other countries.

The Pride Alliance, for example, was established in 2023, building on similar yet disconnected groups around the world, such as the RainbowNet in Germany. This global framework is built on grassroots efforts, with country leads who manage day-to-day activities, drive growth, and collaborate with other leads to share knowledge and experiences. While they take the lead, each member’s voice and contribution drives the group forward. 

Fostering a sense of belonging

DHL Alliances LGBTQ

Alliances@DHL Group foster a sense of belonging. In this way, they are closely connected to DHL's aspiration of becoming a great place to work for all, where our people feel comfortable, connected, and empowered to contribute.

Alliances@DHL Group journey has only just begun. This means that together, DHL wants to gain cross-divisional experience to better and consistently understand how Alliances@DHL Group will become a sustainable part of DHL's corporate culture.

When the question of where to start this journey came up, DHL's central DEIB team was in close dialogue with the global DEIB teams of all its Divisions and Group Functions within DHL Group. Together, they saw in the already existing LGBTQAI+ networks a great starting point for evolving them from a network into an Alliance.

DHL is strongly committed to creating a more inclusive and equitable working environment day by day. Alliances@DHL Group create a safe space where people can talk openly about their experiences in their private lives and at work. An Alliance is open to all community members and people interested in DEIB who want to support their colleagues as Allies. Alliances help DHL identify processes and behaviors that need to be adapted and improved to create a working environment in which everyone feels that they belong, feel connected and comfortable, and are enabled to contribute to shared and meaningful purposes. In addition, DHL's Country Alliance Leads offer various activities to inform, involve, and inspire all participants.

"We all want to belong, whether in our communities or our workplaces. Alliances help our people come together to connect and feel comfortable. They provide a forum to voice opinions, improve visibility and understanding of DEIB issues, and foster equitable and inclusive workspaces. They add value at every level as we aspire to be a great company to work for all," says DHL.

What do DHL employees enjoy about Alliances? 


“Feeling valued and connected. Our Pride Alliance provides a forum for employees to feel connected, heard, and accepted. It also allows a safe forum to share stories and challenges. For those who join as allies, listening to these stories helps them better understand the challenges that the community sometimes faces and better understand how to best support our LGBTQ+ colleagues.”

“Colleagues sharing their stories, being in a room where I truly feel like I belong and don't feel judged.”

“Being part of the Alliances gives me a heightened sense of belonging. On the days when I sit in the office feeling like I shouldn't be here or everyone here doesn't want me here, I remember that I am part of something bigger. I am part of Pride Alliance, and we are trying to make things way better for people like me who are yet to join DHL; this fills me with joy and makes things that much better.”

DHL is a company where people belong

In a global business like DHL, the opportunities are endless. So join DHL to grow and stay with the company.

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