image of dhl track on a road

HR Vision: A Digital Approach to Driving Performance

How do you harness digital to transform performance? Using a blended learning approach, NKD and DHL Express built a ‘business academy’ for Supervisors.

NKD co-hosted the Keynote speech: A Digital Approach to Driving Performance, at November’s HR Vision Conference in collaboration with Rick Jackson, Global Head of CIS at DHL Express.

Rick told the story of the Certified International Specialist (CIS) programme at DHL Express, and how it has harnessed technology and digital platforms to transform the organisation.

With a target audience of 100,000 people, CIS needed to make a consistent, and sustained impact across the world. Rick’s team quickly realised that to do this, they had to target one particular group in the organisation: Supervisors. Why? Because they are the “leaders of the future”. Supervisors influence the teams with the most customer interactions, and their development would be central to raising the performance of the company.

Using a blended learning approach, NKD and DHL Express built a ‘business academy’ for Supervisors. ‘Blended’ learning presented unique benefits in sustaining engagement, and developing Supervisors consistently across the world. Every single Supervisor at DHL Express has a Samsung tablet, which is their gateway to the CIS programme. Blended learning is where “the technology comes into its own”, as Supervisors take part in classroom experiences, self-directed, digital learning on their tablets, and pushed podcasts, articles and films. Technology allows DHL Express to continuously develop their Supervisors, and has opened up peoples’ minds to trying new things that are in tune with the modern world.

The boundaries of technology in learning are still being pushed. The future of CIS looks exciting, with Virtual and Augmented Reality and 360 film transforming the customer, and colleague, experience. But, as Rick says, the blended approach is key: “there’s one sure way to decrease your engagement, and that’s to stop the human interaction”. In a truly global organisation, the human element reinforces a sense of common purpose and identity, which is central to engagement.

The results of CIS speak for themselves: Since 2010, Employee Engagement has gone up by 20% to reach 88% globally, and Active Leadership has gone up by 18% to 87%. The organisation has gone from losing 2.5 billion euros a year in 2010 to making a 1.5 billion profit this year. DHL Express has also been ranked the 8th Best Company to Work this year. This success story shows the Service Profit Chain in action: engaged employees lead to satisfied customers, and a return on your bottom line. DHL Express invests between 40 and 50 million in CIS each year. But, in terms of investment per person, they spend less than their competitors. Rick argues that whether your company has 200 or 20,000 employees, your people are worth the investment and your bottom line will reap the benefits. At the heart of the CIS story is performance – engaging your people and helping to raise their performance can only increase that of your organisation.

To request the password for Rick’s studio-recorded presentation embedded at the top of the page, please send an email to or click here to connect.