Meredith Wellard

Vice President of Group Learning Talent and Platforms, Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL)

Supernova Award Category: 
Future of Work: Human Capital Management
The Organization: 

Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) is a leading logistics company offering a comprehensive range of postal and parcel services, freight transport and supply chain management services, as well as e-commerce logistics solutions. DPDHL is made up of close-knit business divisions all working together to meet customers’ needs and employs approximately 600,000 people in over 220 countries and territories worldwide. The Group generated revenues of more than 94 billion Euros in 2022. The purpose: Connecting people, improving lives.

The Problem: 

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 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 now has 600,000 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.

The Solution: 

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. 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 future proofing itself.

At the click of a button, DPDHL can identify what the next career move might be for an airside handler or a supervisor in a warehouse, using AI to pinpoint the transferable skills. Once the skills are out on the table, the employee will then choose what they’d like to develop in order to move up or across into a new career path, opening up many possibilities and mapping out their future with the company. This has opened up endless possibilities for employees.

The Results: 

By implementing an end-to-end skills-based learning solution, DPDHL is empowering its workforce to understand the depth of the skills they currently have, identify gaps that need to be filled to support their current role, as well as their desired career growth, and intelligently recommends training to help them achieve their goals. 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 retention of employees, who are already using the platform and will save millions of dollars in external recruitment costs, based on a multimillion-dollar business case. In addition, DPDHL 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.


Plugging the skills gap: AI identifies skills gaps which would go unnoticed, better preparing DPDHL for the future and helping it become a more sustainable business.

Structured career paths: DPDHL aspires to offer employees a way to continuously keep career development in sight – from planning future roles to receiving suggestions for skills development.

Millions saved on external recruitment costs: As employees can envisage their future at DPDHL, fewer are leaving and there is a decreased need to hire externally. DPDHL had a 10% drop in external recruiting resources, saving millions.

More visibility to internal recruiters: With DPDHL recruiters increasing visibility of the internal talent pools, employees can raise their hand for new positions and recruiters can see their matches without a need for an active application.

Both talent management & talent development: It may feel hard on managers when employees move teams and departments, but in the long-term, people are engaged and growing, their experiences are improved, and the business is more effective.

The Technology: 

The Cornerstone Skills Graph is an AI-powered skills engine that enables organizations and their people to implement “strategic skilling” to predict, prepare for and respond to dynamic business changes. 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, DPDHL leverages the Skills Graph to map skills to employees, roles and content to foster holistic employee development.

Disruptive Factor: 

2023 research has shown that over the next five years, nearly half (44%) of an individual worker’s skills will need to be updated, placing an even greater emphasis on the challenge that organizations, like DPDHL, are facing when it comes to finding innovative solutions for continuous skills development and creating an agile and adaptable workforce.

With the implementation of Cornerstone’s AI-driven solutions, DPDHL is uniquely positioned to face this heightened skills demand head on. Key differentiators include:

  1. Depth in source material: Skills Graph is built on data from more than 250 million employee profiles and multiple open skills ontologies, covering millions of jobs from every major industry around the world.
  2. Open technology: Unparalleled flexibility between skill sources (Cornerstone Skills Graph, customer skills data, and ability to synchronize data from HRIS systems into a single library) and how the skill can be used interchangeably in different aspects of talent management.
  3. Skills verification: Deriving a “predicted level” of proficiency for an employee’s skill-based work history, endorsements, peer feedback and manager/expert assessments.
  4. International reach: AI skills solution supports some of the most common global languages, including English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and more.
  5. Natural language processing power: Helping to understand and match similar terms and build relationships and proximity between skills.
Shining Moment: 

For DPDHL, the skills development, internal talent mobility and continuous learning opportunities that it can now provide its workforce has been its greatest achievement. Enabling employees to indicate interests and future jobs they aspire to achieve, DPDHL can now present a variety of career paths taken by others to obtain the position they desire and will also be able to recommend the necessary skills and training needed to get there, creating a truly exceptional experience for its people.

About Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL)

Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) is the world’s leading logistic company. The Group connects people and markets and is an enabler of global trade. It aspires to be the first choice for customers, employees and investors worldwide. DPDHL contributes to the world through sustainable business practices, corporate citizenship and environmental activities.