5 Things to Watch Out for When Planning Transportation in 2024: An Interview with Agnieszka Zielińska, Partner for Organizational Development in Sales and Operations Departments, on the Challenges of Recruitment During a Recession and High Competitiveness Among Transportation Companies.

What is “Transport on a 5”?

A series of 5 interviews over the next 5 months, providing you with valuable insights in a nutshell. Comments from 5 experts in the transport, forwarding, and logistics industry will help you plan safe transportation while optimizing costs. What to focus on? What to pay attention to? Join us for the reading!

Agnieszka Zielińska – an expert with many years of experience in managerial and directorial positions in HR, development, and education, a former academic teacher, and author of scientific publications and articles on education and HR topics. For several years, she has specialized in building and developing sales and operations teams in the TSL (Transport, Forwarding, and Logistics) industry, effective human capital management, and strategic business support. Her professional passion is acquiring and developing talents responsible for creating lasting relationships with clients based on professional solutions in maritime, road, and air transport. Privately, she is a travel enthusiast, both small and large trips, as well as a gardening master who takes matters into her own hands when it comes to mowing the lawn or transplanting a tree.

NWIC: Agnieszka, could you outline the role of a Partner for Organizational Development in the sales and operations department in a transportation company and the challenges faced during a recession in the forwarding market?

Agnieszka: My main role as a Partner for Organizational Development and HR Business Partner in a transportation company is to support the company’s strategic goals through effective human resource management. During a recession in the forwarding market, the key challenge is maintaining high employee motivation and engagement, as well as effective recruitment and retention of employees, which is essential for maintaining competitiveness. It is also important to build flexible teams that can quickly adapt to changing market conditions.

The transport industry has been facing employee turnover in recent years, resulting from the saturation of the market with transport-forwarding companies and access to a wide range of competitive job offers. Analyzing and observing this situation, I continuously develop and implement effective talent development and retention strategies within the organization. Transport, forwarding, and logistics is an industry that requires skillful management of a diverse team, consisting of individuals with different qualifications and competencies. This requires highly developed communication skills and an appropriate approach to managing diverse teams. The high work dynamics, often associated with the unpredictability of events, demand high stress resistance from employees, quick decision-making skills, and multitasking abilities, which over time can lead to fatigue or even burnout. Therefore, I continuously monitor employee well-being and implement support programs and health initiatives. Every day, I support leaders and managers in developing and strengthening teams while maintaining a harmonious work atmosphere, especially in stressful operational conditions, which requires mediation and conflict resolution skills in the workplace.

In summary, my role in the organization requires a good understanding of the business and its needs so that the actions I take in the HR area serve both the effective achievement of business goals and the satisfaction of individual employee needs.

NWIC: : What values do you consider most important in a logistics company and what initiatives promoting organizational culture can be implemented?

Agnieszka: Certainly, key values are trust, innovation, collaboration, and responsibility. Each of these values may seem obvious and universal, but they play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth functioning of the company and creating a work environment where employees can develop and succeed.

Complex logistics processes require seamless coordination of activities between different departments and teams, often in a dispersed structure. Therefore, beyond the hard procedures related to process handling, trust and mutual collaboration are absolutely essential as they determine operational efficiency.

In the HR area, I undertake numerous initiatives, such as mentoring programs, cross-departmental projects, and integration events that support building strong bonds between employees, translating into the quality of cooperation and mutual trust. The same values guide us at every step of our cooperation with our clients and partners. We build their trust not only by ensuring the quality of services and process optimization but also by building relationships based on trust, which requires transparency, honesty, and cooperation in many areas.

This market is constantly evolving and obligates the introduction of modern technologies and supply chain management methods. Therefore, innovation is an essential element in our organization. Companies must be open to change and ready to invest in technological development. Developmental courage ensures that companies take their business to a higher level. Therefore, we continuously take care of this development through, among other things, workshops on new technologies or training programs in process digitalization. Encouraging employees to think creatively and follow the path of innovation, we develop their competencies while strengthening the sense of value within the team.

Responsibility in logistics has many dimensions – from the responsibility of delivering goods on time, through caring for the quality of customer service, to responsibility for the environment. As an HR Business Partner, I strive to promote individual and collective responsibility within the company through, among other things, quality management training, environmental protection initiatives such as CO2 reduction or recycling, and CSR programs.

Here it is also worth mentioning that promoting organizational culture may include:

  • Employee development programs, training, and certifications, which help not only in raising qualifications but also in increasing employee engagement and loyalty.
  • Workshops on soft skills, such as communication, stress management, teamwork, and leadership, which are crucial in the dynamic logistics industry.
  • Team integration initiatives, joint projects, team challenges, as well as company events, such as company outings, integration parties, or celebrating successes together, which build stronger bonds and support cooperation.

NWIC: Do you believe that HR initiatives translate into the optimization of sales and operational processes in the company?

Agnieszka: Absolutely. I always see the organization’s success in its people. Hence, when opening the company’s doors to new talent, I always make sure not to confine them within established and conventional company operations but to create space for sharing knowledge and experience that the company can use to improve the quality of processes, both in the sale of our services and in their implementation. Therefore, in addition to employee development based on internal or external training, I strive to support managers in utilizing the full potential of new talent in their team. We implement, train, and help adapt to the new workplace, but we also draw from the knowledge and experience they bring.

NWIC: Ready for the question we ask each of you? How to find a trusted logistics company for my business, avoiding mistakes and disappointments?

Agnieszka: I won’t come up with anything new that you haven’t heard before. If you are a potential client, check how long the company has been operating in the market and what experience it has in serving the industry in which you operate. Companies with a long tenure usually have established and tested processes, as well as more resources, ensuring reliable service and good long-term cooperation. Also, look for reviews and references from other clients who have used the services of a given logistics company. Positive reviews and recommendations can be a good indicator of service quality and satisfaction. Make sure the company has the appropriate quality certificates, such as ISO, IFS, and meets industry standards. These certificates indicate a commitment to maintaining high-quality services and compliance with regulations.

Establish direct contact to discuss the details of cooperation. During the conversation, pay attention to the communication style, flexibility, and willingness to adapt to the specific needs of your business. As an HR professional by vocation, I say: it’s always worth meeting, getting to know the company, feeling its pulse and employee atmosphere, because if these are healthy, the entire organism is healthy.

NWIC: What is the future of HR in the transport industry through your eyes? Do you have any advice for those wanting to develop in this direction?

Agnieszka: The future of the logistics industry will likely involve further digitization and automation of various processes, as well as the growing importance of data analysis in HR decision-making. Developing competencies related to change management and building flexible and resilient teams will also be decisive. But one must always remember that a company is primarily about ordinary, yet extraordinary people. In this continuous technological and increasingly competitive race for success, one cannot forget that success can be achieved together, both at the overall company level and individually.

I always jokingly say that HR is not a job, but a service, so I wish all HR employees, not only in the logistics industry, a similar passion and mindfulness, so that along with the company’s growing success, they can also feel similar satisfaction from the employees.

NWIC: Thank you for the interview.

Agnieszka:Thank you very much too 😊

 

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