Creating a sense of belonging

Comfort. Connection. Contribution – Belonging.

We all know that the diversity of our global workforce is a huge source of strength for Deutsche Post DHL Group to become a great company to work for all – that all the differences that make each of us unique are key to delivering the innovative products and services that make our customers successful.

Without inclusion – making sure we are guided by mutual respect, openness, honesty and the spirit of trust and cooperation – we cannot tap the potential that our diversity represents. That's why our Diversity & Inclusion motto is: “InclusionDeliveredTogether”. It’s a powerful and a proven idea. But our work here is not done.

Our understanding of diversity and inclusion – and the inherent opportunities and challenges they represent – continues to evolve. We’ve seen the Great Resignation during the pandemic, which has shed more light on the stubborn reality of toxic corporate cultures, on the failure of companies to promote and truly live diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And we continue to deepen our understanding of the negative impact of systemic inequality and injustices in the workplace. This is why equity is so important – providing extra support for everyone by creating a level playing field. We need these three elements – diversity, inclusion and equity – as the foundation for each one of us to thrive.

Without a feeling of belonging, you might feel like you need to hide an important aspect of your life – to “check it at the door” when you arrive at work. Maybe you’ve experienced how your uniqueness becomes your defining USP; maybe you’ve heard comments like: “It’s good to have a woman on our leadership team” or “It’s great we have the LGBTQ+ view on this topic.” This might be true and they might mean it in the spirit of diversity and inclusion. But it could put you in an uncomfortable position nevertheless. Because it makes you feel like your race, gender or orientation are more important than, say, your business acumen or education.

And if your difference is constantly being highlighted, you won’t feel like you truly belong in the company. Furthermore, lack of leaders role modelling inclusion or those leaders whose subtle behaviors unconsciously (or consciously) exclude based on our uniqueness can lead us to feeling disconnected and uncomfortable and as a result we don’t contribute.

So how do we make sure that all of us feel like we belong, regardless of our uniqueness?

  • First, I need to feel comfortable at work, which includes a feeling of psychological safety and feeling like I am treated fairly and respected by others.

  • Second, I need to feel connected to the people I work with.

  • I need to feel that I’m contributing to a meaningful purpose – that my unique strengths are an important part of achieving this purpose and making my team and my company more successful.

Belonging – part of every day’s work

Company-wide tools and programs have a similar effect: First Choice, for example, as the Group-wide approach to continuous improvement and excellence; Certified as the Group-wide program to take our individual performance to the next level; Deutsche Post DHL Group’s Leadership Attributes, which provide common guidance on desired behaviors, and other approaches like employee recognition (DHL’s Got Talent, CEO Awards). And then of course Global Volunteer Day, GoHelp, GoTeach, GoTrade, GoGreen and the We Help Each Other relief fund – all of which provide us with highly effective, gratifying ways to contribute our time, expertise and/or resources for the good of people in need. Working side by side and pushing each other towards new heights and a higher purpose – all of this creates a sense of pride in each other, which is another key to that sense of belonging.

A feeling of belonging in each and every one of our colleagues is the goal as a great company to work for all; it’s where we need to be. If diversity, inclusion and equity are addressed in the right balance, belonging occurs naturally. But it is also fostered by common values, a common purpose and all the initiatives, programs and policies that fall under the umbrella of Common DNA. And ultimately, belonging emerges as more than the sum of these parts as it is the key to sustainable diversity, sustainable inclusion and sustainable high performance.