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CHAPTER 8  | travel & logistics

Forward thinking Global supply-chain solutions specialist the Panalpina Group has improved its staff development, and its own prospects as a result www.panalpina.com

The Panalpina Group has been one of the world’s leading providers

on, committing itself to becoming an organisation that

of supply-chain solutions for years, combining airfreight, ocean freight

recognises talent, experience and learning ability, and

and logistics. Highly regarded by its numerous clients worldwide, the

develops and values its employees.

organisation has been on its own journey of late to transform how

   ‘It was virtually the first time we had looked at the

it is viewed by its 15,000 or so employees.

company’s overall strategy and determined a vision for

   ‘In 2007, a variety of factors combined to bring about a change

the organisation,’ says Niti. To help establish Panalpina’s

of philosophy within the group,’ explains Niti Khosla, Corporate

new values, the organisation turned to its employees

Head of Learning and Development. Based in Switzerland with

once again, asking what would make them proud to

some 500 offices in more than 80 countries around the world, the

work for the company. ‘Defining the company is an

Panalpina Group had recently become publicly limited and was facing

evolutionary process that continues to this day,’ she says.

some internal difficulties. The company had also had a change in

‘It’s an ongoing journey.’

leadership. ‘Our new CEO wanted to change the course of the

   Another major step that the company took was to

organisation and encourage a more professional approach,’ Niti

establish PanAcademy and the group’s e-learning platform

continues. ‘The organisation had just had its IPO and was coming

for employee development. To help ascertain which fields

out of an era of low margins and traditional thinking, and some of

of expertise the academy should focus on and identify

our core processes had remained largely unchanged for many years.’

gaps in capability, Panalpina held a review of its senior

Employee feedback

leadership, which identified a particular deficit in strategic thinking and analytical skills. This, in turn, led to the

One of the first steps was to bring in a new Chief Human Resources

creation of the company’s leadership programme, which

Officer, Alastair Robertson. He commissioned an effectiveness survey

is open to many of the organisation’s top people.

to find out what employees thought of the organisation’s HR policies,

Navigating Our Future programme

plan. The feedback was eye-opening, with staff saying that there were

A capability committee, chaired by Alastair, was also

no career-development opportunities and little recognition of talent

established, aimed at highlighting any present or future

within the company. Succession planning was absent, with limited

shortfall in skills and addressing these deficiencies.

bench strength to fill in vacancies. ‘There was clearly a lot of work

With these changes came a new focus on nurturing the

to be done,’ says Niti. It was a challenge that Panalpina tackled head

company’s leadership culture. Management performance

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processes and practices as the foundation for a five-year turnaround

Oxb6 chapter 8  
Oxb6 chapter 8  
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