Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) is a leading logistics company with operations in post, freight, supply chain and e-commerce. DPDHL is made up of a family of close-knit business divisions all working together to meet customers’ needs.
For DPDHL, it is important to focus on what excellence looks like in this digital world and how its people can adapt to that change. With the pace of change moving at incredible speed and new skills becoming increasingly vital in today’s world of work, DPDHL turned to artificial intelligence (AI) to help align skills with future challenges for the business.
A major part of DPDHL’s 2025 talent strategy is identifying the skills currently in their team today and uncovering potential skills that are relevant to tomorrow. This is especially important as DPDHL created 20,000 new jobs last year and now has 570,000 employees in 220 countries, some 400,000 of which are customer-facing in the field. One of the biggest challenges tied to this objective is how to bring in a skills ontology that can reflect the differences between desk-based roles and field roles, such as those handling and delivering parcels. This is where AI comes into play.
DPDHL turned to Cornerstone’s skills ontology offering, an AI-powered skills engine that identifies capabilities within the organization, which can then be matched to jobs within the company and pinpoint potential skills gaps. The Cornerstone Skills Graph is built on a robust and constantly updated skills taxonomy of over 53,000 unique skills pulled from millions of job positions across every industry around the globe.
“At the click of a button, we can identify what might be the next career move for an airside handler or a supervisor in a warehouse, and what skills they have that might be transferable to other parts of the business, or that they'd like to develop in order to be an interesting candidate for another division or another country,” says Meredith Taghi, VP of group learning, talent and platforms at Deutsche Post DHL. “It opens up endless possibilities.”
In choosing the right partner, DPDHL set out clear objectives to answer both the needs of its employees – fluid career paths – and the needs of the business – retaining its talent and futureproofing itself.
Once the skills are out on the table, the employee can then choose what areas they’d like to develop in order to move up or into a new career path, opening up many possibilities and mapping out their future with the company.
Choosing this strategic skills-first approach to development means that employees at DPDHL are continually growing and learning, setting career paths that are not necessarily linear and instead completely personalized to them.
As a result, DPDHL has increased employee retention, promoted from within and has saved millions of dollars in external recruitment costs. In addition, DPDHL has already gathered more data on their employees' skills after three weeks of being live with the skills profile than they did in more than five years of their previous profile, giving them a stronger baseline understanding of who their people are.
Employees at DPDHL are benefiting from:
· A structured career path. Beyond matching employees to opportunities, DPDHL aspires to offer employees a way to keep career development in sight on an ongoing basis – from planning future roles to receiving suggestions to develop the necessary skills.
· Increased employee retention. As employees can envisage their future at DPDHL, fewer are leaving and there is a decreasing need to hire externally. In fact, DPDHL has had a drop of 10% in external recruiting resources, saving millions.
· More visibility to internal recruiters. DPDHL enables its recruiters to have increased visibility of the internal talent pools based on more than received applications for a position. That way, employees will have a way to raise their hand for new positions and recruiters will be able to see their matches without a need for an active application.
· Both talent management and talent development. DPDHL wants its people to grow, and for that to be celebrated. It may feel hard on managers when employees move teams and departments at first, but in the long-term, people are engaged, their experiences are improved and the business is overall more efficient and effective.
· Sense of purpose. Thanks to AI and Cornerstone, employees now feel like they have a sense of purpose in the workplace, which is one of the most important attributes that people look for in an organization today.
· Plugging the skills gap. From an HR perspective, AI allows DPDHL to identify skills gaps which otherwise would go unnoticed until it is a bigger problem. This better prepares the company for the future and as a result, DPDHL becomes a more sustainable business in the long run.