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DHL aims to advance women in its ranks

New US maternity policy builds toward DHL Supply Chain’s goal of 30% women in management by 2025

DHL Supply Chain North America bolsters ranks of women managers. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Deutsche Post DHL Group (OTCMKTS: DPSGY) has stepped up its commitment to recruit, retain and promote women in its management ranks by announcing a new policy that provides three months of maternity leave at 100% pay for its North American supply chain unit.

The policy takes effect Jan. 1 and will also apply to adoptive parents, the company said.

Meredith Singletary, senior human resources director for DHL Supply Chain, North America (Photo: Courtesy)

“We firmly believe that the introduction of this maternity leave update is a sizable step in the right direction and positions us as an attractive employer not only among logistics peers but in the U.S. market overall,” Meredith Singletary, senior human resources director for DHL Supply Chain in North America, told American Shipper.

DHL in the U.S. has sought to increase the number of women in management roles for more than a decade.

In 2013, DHL Supply Chain’s U.S. operation formed regional Women in Logistics groups. These groups started out as informal gatherings to discuss issues relevant to women in the workplace and extend community outreach, Singletary said.

DHL Supply Chain now has nine North American Women in Logistics groups of about 100 to 120 employees each. The groups also meet at a national level to “identify obstacles and opportunities to career development for our female associates and to share best practices,” Singletary said, noting that the maternity leave policy came from one of those meetings.

“We have to acknowledge that there are a number of European markets that offer more extensive paid maternity leave programs,” she said. “At the same time, every market has a different structure, labor market dynamic, including variance of overall compensation and benefits, and regulatory environment.”

Shippers help drive change for DHL’s female workers

Singletary said DHL Supply Chain North America included best practices for its new U.S. maternity leave policy based on input from its shipper customers.

“Customers increasingly hold us to account on our diversity and inclusion policies and performance during the bid process, so it is also something we recognize as a competitive advantage,” she said.

DHL has in place policies that allow for short-term disability leave or paid vacation for employees who need time for different reasons during the prenatal period.

Singletary said DHL has also implemented attendance policies that provide more workplace flexibility for the company’s hourly workers to take time out to attend personal activities, such as doctor appointments, parent-teacher conferences, school performances and checking on elderly relatives, without the need to draw down vacation days or seek formal approval beyond notifying their supervisors.

“In many ways, it may seem like a relatively minor change, but it reflects a major shift in approach within our industry, particularly with regard to frontline workers, and is another policy change that can support pregnant women and mothers in our business,” she said.

30% female leadership by 2025

DHL has committed to increase the number of women in its management ranks to 30% by 2025. While the new maternity leave policy is expected to help achieve this goal, the company has initiated other human resources programs to bring more women on board.

DHL Supply Chain has increased its presence on U.S. college campuses in recent years to recruit women for internships and entry-level management positions. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the company said it has continued this effort by using the online Handshake platform.

Earlier this year, DHL Supply Chain started its “100 Years 100 Women Campaign” to involve both women and men to create an inclusive work environment.

“If we really want to create a sustained change, it comes down to culture and ensuring everyone is on board, including our male colleagues,” Singletary said.

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Click for more FreightWaves/American Shipper articles by Chris Gillis.

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.