Diversity recruiting – examples from DPD Estonia

DEI metrics in DPD Estonia

Teamdash November webinar focused on the topic of diversity. Even though DEI has been something that HR and companies have considered in their practices for decades, it is now one of the focal points of strategy. Companies are investing in diversity because of its multiple benefits to workplace culture, employer brand, business results, and the bottom line.

Annika Oruaas, the HR and Sustainability Manager of DPD Estonia, joined us as an expert speaker to delve deeper into it and exemplify how diversity focus can help companies’ cultures and business results thrive.

What is DEI?

DEI is a commonly used term and an acronym for diversity, equity and inclusion. The letter ‘B’ has been added to the acronym in recent years to indicate belonging.

  • Diversity- representation of individuals with different backgrounds, cultures and characteristics.
  • Equity– fair treatment and equal opportunities for everyone despite their background, culture and characteristics.
  • Inclusion– how employees feel at work and how much companies support and encourage them to contribute meaningfully.

Or, to put it simply and use a party metaphor:

  • Diversity is when everyone is invited to the party.
  • Equality means that everyone gets to contribute to the music.
  • Inclusion means that everyone has the opportunity to dance.

The benefits of DEI in the workforce

  • 35% more likely to experience greater financial returns
  • More efficient problem-solving, more creativity
  • Larger talent pool
  • Higher performance
  • Better reputation

Diversity in hiring is the conscious effort by the organisation to seek, attract and hire individuals from various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

It is difficult to achieve success as humans are prone to form opinions about candidates based on first impressions or irrelevant criteria. That’s called unconscious bias.

Common types of unconscious bias

  • Affinity bias – we tend to prefer people who are similar to us;
  • Appearance bias – stereotyping based on appearance (e.g. beauty, height, weight);
  • Confirmation bias – the tendency to seek out and interpret new information in a way that confirms what you already believe;
  • Attribution bias – correlates people’s actions to unrelated (or even untrue) characteristics;
  • Gender bias – unintentional associations based on a person’s gender, often rooted in traditions, values, social norms, or culture;
  • Age bias – making judgments about individuals solely based on their age;
  • Authority bias – the tendency to place more weight on the opinion or idea of an authority figure, assuming that a higher-ranking person knows better;
  • The halo effect – the tendency to use an overall positive impression of a person to influence other judgments of their character;
  • The horns effect – instead of making a favourable initial judgment, the horn effect starts with a negative judgement.

DEI practices in DPD

About Annika Oruaas and DPD Estonia

Annika has worked in DPD for 15 years and over 20 years in HR. Many companies dream of that kind of retention rate and tenure. What has made her stay with one company for so long is that she has had the opportunity to learn and have diverse tasks. Even though her job title hasn’t changed, the nature of her work and tasks have been constantly developing.

DPD is an international parcel delivery courier company with an HQ in Paris. DPD Estonia was established 26 years ago and is one of the smallest units, with 200 employees and 350 couriers who are subcontractors.

The 200 employees are roughly divided into two: about half are office workers, and the other half are depot parcel sorters. So you could say they have a 50/50 division of blue-collar and white-collar workers, meaning the candidates for these positions are approached and recruited differently.

DPD Estonia Key Figures 2023

Diversity recruiting in DPD

Initiatives that have helped build DPD Estonia’s diverse talent pipeline:

  • Introducing smaller and more comfortable vehicles;
  • Using various images of employees in job ads, not just the same people;
  • Mental health guidelines compiled together with employees – how to support people with disabilities or different family setups—address it as the company grows;
  • Adding part-time and flexible positions.

Gender split in the logistics industry

As you might assume, the logistics industry is male-oriented. For DPD, the company-wide gender split is approximately 50/50.

When looking at departments separately, the call centre and finance teams are mostly women, whereas the sorting centre and IT workers are primarily male. The gender split among couriers has improved significantly over the past 6-7 years.

The improvement in these numbers can be attributed to many changes the company has implemented:

  • For a long time, they had a mindset that they only hire male drivers under 40 for the courier positions. The stereotype is that drivers over 40 do not have the attention level and skills of younger couriers (age bias). Since changing that mindset, they have expanded their candidate pool and now have female couriers who are 50+ years old.
  • They also didn’t hire people from other nations to their sorting centre. Now they have an international team, people from different countries and cultures. They achieved that by making changes in the documentation, including translations into English, researching, and preparing immigration documents. They now have a wider candidate pool to choose from, and when there’s a great candidate from a different country or with different language skills, they can see if there’s a way to accommodate their needs.
  • DPD is now hiring people for part-time positions instead of full-time positions. This opened up a larger pool of candidates. For example, students can go to school during the day and then carry parcels in the evenings.
  • Adopting smaller and more comfortable vehicles to widen the candidate pool. Women are less likely to apply to be couriers, especially when they need a higher-category driver’s licence. Using smaller vehicles attracts a broader pool of candidates, including women.
  • Over the years, there has been a shift in the mindset of line managers and hiring managers as well – they are now paying more attention to the people in the talent pool. It isn’t just HR’s job. Diversity is a company-wide strategy.

DEI metrics in DPD Estonia

  • 44% women
  • The age range of employees is 19-66
  • Three official languages
  • 43% of women are promoted internally
  • 1% wage gap

There are no written group-level guidelines or benchmarks. However, since 2023, they have held group-level events and initiatives to increase DEI.

Recruiters in different units do it from their instinct – they learn from each other and share best practices. It doesn’t need to be fully coordinated to be beneficial.

Many initiatives help with sharing information:

  • HR Directors meetings once a month and a group space where they regularly share materials and information.
  • They extended management meetings once a quarter for training and best-practice sharing. So far, they have focused on determining what kind of employer they want to be and how to become an employer of choice.
  • They joined the local diversity charter in 2014 and have participated in the Diversity Month activities every May.
  • They host their own Diversity Week every June or July.

DPD’s Diversity Week activities

DPD’s workers have discussions with each other, share stories and traditions, and cook different cuisines. They bring attention to what diversity entails besides the gender split in a company.

They have also seen the benefits of internal work shadowing – your colleagues can go and see what you do; they see what you actually do and get a better understanding of your work and problems. It works well with the “show, don’t tell” principle.

DPD group-level DEI reporting

They started group-level reporting this year and have done it twice so far.

They report on:

  • Age hiring
  • Redundancies
  • Training
  • % of women in managerial positions
  • % of women who get promoted
  • Wage gap

There is no target or benchmark set, but these numbers are monitored.

Some other metrics to consider reporting: They haven’t measured how many people they hire straight from school who have started as interns and now have advanced in the company. For example, DPD Estonia’s Transport Manager and Tartu Depot Manager started as interns.

Interesting fact: DPD Estonia currently has 40% women in the management team, but Annika is the only one in a senior management position out of 4 (25%).

DEI reporting for webinar participants

We asked whether there is DEI reporting in our webinar participants’ companies. 52% of respondents said they do, 25% don’t have it, and 13% said they are working on it.

DEI initiatives that have had the biggest impact

  1. Finding people who would like to work as couriers is a problem across Europe. As mentioned, adopting smaller vehicles widened the talent pool. Including more women in the candidate pool helped alleviate this problem.
  2. No interviews in the depot – replacing it with a test day. This also opened the way to hiring women to sorting centres. The candidates get paid for the test day and see what the work actually entails. With the interview, a person can say they can lift and move the maximum 31.5kg parcels, but doing the job is another thing. They see what the pace of the job is, how much lifting it really includes and how demanding it can get. It can also reveal some stoppers that the candidate wasn’t aware of – like dust allergies or not wanting to carry parcels when the temperatures are low.
    This helped to fill the positions quicker, increased retention, and reduced turnover.

Removing bias and being open to the idea of expanding the candidate pool enables you to have more options, and sometimes, you will see that the candidate might not fit the position they applied for but would be an excellent match for some other open position.

As a typical Estonian who never gives themselves full credit, Annika would rate diversity in DPD 4 out of 5 because you always leave room for improvement. She would like to measure the impact more.

Starting with DEI as a small business

It doesn’t require more resources to start with diversity. You have to be open to it, if possible, shift tasks and be open to a broader pool of candidates. Sometimes, companies think they can only fill a position with a specific candidate who fits very strict criteria. They might be looking for a unicorn. Often, a person with the drive can learn and fill some of what you think are big shoes.

DEI tools in Teamdash

  • Inclusive language check – when creating a job ad landing page with Teamdash, you can use the AI-powered Inclusive Language Check tool. It helps you see whether your copy excludes any candidate groups or uses discriminatory language. This easy-to-use tool can be used in all sections of your job ad.
  • AI-generated candidate summariesto use this feature, you must include the job description with requirements when creating the recruitment project. In the project view, you can click on the Candidate Card and generate a candidate summary that excludes all the factors that might create an unconscious bias (like age, gender, and other background information) that might affect your decision-making. The summary is presented in the same format for each anonymised candidate.
  • Scorecards – You can evaluate each candidate on a scale from 1 to 5 for better comparison using Scorecards. For example, after the interview stage, you want to compare the candidates’ skill proficiency. For this, creating a Scorecard with the criteria is a great option. You can create as many criteria as needed and change the order as you wish – it is very customisable. You can add multiple team members to evaluate candidates and then get an overall score for each candidate, the average score of each criterion and any comments from the scorers.
    The scorers won’t see others’ scores or averages before they have added their own.
    The preview of the Scorecard results is then added to the Candidate Card, and you can sort the candidates in the stage based on their score.
  • DEI reporting – We have recently launched additional reporting features to the product to help our users measure and track the DEI metrics more efficiently. Book a demo with one of our recruitment automation specialists to learn more.

Benefits of the AI tools in Teamdash

  • Reduced bias
  • Faster CV screening
  • A fairer and more inclusive hiring process for everyone
  • Systematic CV evaluation thanks to the standardised format
  • Quantitative measurement – put your gut feeling into numbers

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Merilyn Uudmae


Content Marketing Manager

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