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Opinion: Hermes recruitment head on training the logistics leaders of the future


Leanne Hamley, head of talent acquisition and development at Hermes, discusses the company’s processes for finding and investing in the right staff.
Buoyed by the phenomenal growth of ecommerce, home delivery companies cannot afford to stand still when it comes to investing in their network of hubs and depots, their fleet of vehicles, and, most importantly, the calibre of their people – and at Hermes, it is no different.

The number of parcels we deliver each year has jumped from 190 million in 2013 to 335 million in 2018, representing a rise of 76%. As a result, it is vital that we continue to attract the best talent in order to support our operation and plan for the future. However, in a highly competitive industry, and with a growing skills gap within the logistics sector, this is becoming more difficult.

This is why our HR Team is wholeheartedly committed to shifting the culture across our business, in order to empower people to strive for excellence and flourish within their roles. Our learning and development (L&D) team is focused on creating a foundation for people to develop to proactively promote from within the business.

As part of the cultural change programme, and to assist with the creation of an overall HR Strategy, the business launched a new set of values and behaviours: do the right thing, dare to be different, strive for more, and be customer obsessed. All of our L&D programmes have been built off the back of these values, with the aim of nurturing the existing talent within the business, regardless of their level of seniority.

For instance, earlier this year we worked in collaboration with Common Purpose to run a ‘Hermes Leadership Programme’ for 16 talented individuals who were identified by the UK Executive Team. Participants took part in individual ‘deep dives’ which identified the current strengths, weaknesses and areas for development backed up by one-to-one coaching sessions and a collective ‘impact’ day.

The results, so far, have been impressive. Many of the techniques learnt during the programme are now being used within wider teams across our business, including the peer-coaching groups. Following the programme, individuals who attended the programme have volunteered to act as coaches and values champions, working with other talent across the business. In addition, efficiencies have been gained through collaborative working, whilst several spin-off projects have also been developed from ideas generated through the learning groups.

Development is key across our entire business, and therefore we have taken the opportunity to launch an 18-month programme called Rise, which has been exclusively devised for those colleagues currently working at junior management level. 30 employees are currently taking part in the programme that incorporates the prestigious Franklin Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ management programme. It will include a thorough individual pre and post 360 assessment to identify skill gaps and focus areas, whilst providing the option for individuals to select their desired pathway based on their role and development needs.

We are also looking to the future on skills shortages and have identified where these are and as a result we have introduced a Road to Logistics programme, which will help us to address the UK driver shortage, whilst helping unemployed workers gain valuable skills and the possibility of full-time employment. The course is funded through the Apprenticeship Levy and will see us recruit a number of LGV Apprentices who currently have no driving experience, supporting them to achieve their Cat C and Cat C&E Licence.

In conclusion, we understand that by managing the development of our colleagues can build a high-performance workplace, encourage a learning organisation, and add value through improving skill gaps. This will not only help us to continue to provide exceptional levels of service for today, but also puts us in the very best position for tomorrow and beyond.

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