Kuehne + Nagel: Feedback from all Employees Working at a Logistics Organisation

It is often quite a challenge in the logistics industry to involve all employees within the organisation. Getting feedback from employees that spend most of their time on the road is not easy. An employee survey is the perfect tool to make sure this valuable feedback is not lost. At the same time, we have noticed an increased desire from the industry to involve employees in setting the organisational course. This article talks about the experiences of one of our clients from the logistics industry. Meike Post, project manager at Effectory spoke with Harald de Ruiter, HR Manager at Kuehne + Nagel.

With One Another, for One Another

Kuehne + Nagel is one of the world's leading logistical service providers. The organisation is a large player in sea cargo, air cargo, contracts logistics and road transportation. Additionally, it is proud of its focus on developing and providing logistical IT solutions. The employee survey was carried out in The Netherlands, where the organisation has about 2000 employees. Kuehne + Nagel wants to use the survey to gain insight in the current work experience of its people. Those insights will then be translated into practical improvements at every level within the organisation. Harald de Ruijter, HR Manager and the survey's Project Leader:

"The survey belongs to everybody. This is why we chose the following slogan: 'For everyone, by everyone'."

Challenges within the Logistics Industry

"One of the challenges of successfully completing an employee survey in this industry is reaching all the organisation's employees", says Meike. "Everyone, whether it is the truck drivers, the warehouse employees or the people working at Headquarters, is asked to give their opinion. Together with Harald, we decided to prioritise the survey at every organisational level – from the Board to the workfloor."

Make Sure the Survey Is on Everyone's Agenda

"We have worked hard with the project group to make sure the survey was successful", says Harald. "We succeeded because of the productive and intensive collaboration within the project group and Effectory's advice. To get to a point where the survey came alive within the entire organisation, we took the following steps:

  • We drafted an elaborate communication plan long before the survey was scheduled to start;
  • This plan contained a step-by-step plan on how to reach various teams and departments within the organisation;
  • We communicated with the employees and managers before, during, and after the response period by means of posters, email, intranet postings, newsletters and communicating directly with managers."

Reaching Every Employee

"In addition to deploying numerous communication methods, it is important to approach different employees in different ways", states Meike. "In Kuehne + Nagel's case, we opted for two different methods. Employees with easy access to a computer were approached using their business email address. Employees in operations or employees that are on the road most of the time were approached personally by their respective managers. Additionally, we created different spots where employees could fill in their questionnaires."

"We managed to give over three quarters of our organisation a voice and we have kept talking about the survey to this day. The entire project team is really proud of this result."

Give Employees Sufficient Time

Finally, Meike indicates that response rates are really aided by giving employees the time to fill in the questionnaires at their own pace. Harald tells of the practical way Kuehne + Nagel managed to do this: "We handed out bottles of water and sandwiches with the tagline 'Take your time!' at different spots in our organisation. This was a clear sign that a) employees could fill in the survey during office hours and b) that we value their opinion. This method, coupled with various communications ensured a response rate of almost 80% - the first step towards a successful survey process. We managed to give over three quarters of our organisation a voice and we have kept talking about the survey to this day. The entire project team is really proud of this result."

Input for Success in 2015

"Getting the feedback was only the first step in the process. The next challenge is to keep focusing on the action points produced by the feedback. Kuehne + Nagel got off to a great start here as well. A large number of managers as well as the Board joined workshops on how to come up with action plans together with their co-workers. Now it is essential to really get to work. If not, we are sure to see that topic come up in the next survey, currently planned for autumn 2015. However, based on the results so far I am very confident in their ability to successfully conclude this process!"