Bearing 2017: We continue to move for all to grow

Your motivation and engagement are crucial to DFDS’ success and our ability to continuously develop, improve and move for all to grow. With the Bearing engagement survey, we acquire valuable insights into how you and your colleagues are doing, and the areas where DFDS needs to improve to become an even better employer.

Very high response rate

To obtain a realistic picture, we need a high response rate. In companies similar to DFDS, a response rate of around 50-60% is often the end result. At DFDS, however, we achieved an outstanding response rate of 83%, which is an increase of 4% on 2015. And we will be aiming even higher in 2019, when we hold our next Bearing engagement survey.

The increase in response rate is even more impressive considering that DFDS increased the number of its employees from 6,700 to 7,300 between 2015 and 2017, and that 2,000 colleagues received a code letter for the survey.

“I am really impressed by this level of engagement. This can only be achieved with highly-dedicated colleagues and managers. This helps us make sure we keep moving in the right direction,” says Henrik Holck, EVP People and Ships.

The overall picture is positive

Overall, DFDS has seen an increase in seven out of 12 areas. Four areas remained the same as in the previous Bearing survey, and only Loyalty showed a slight decrease.

“Even though the overall result for the Bearing 2017 survey is exceptionally good, it also shows us where we can – and must – do better. Based on this survey, we still need to focus on improving areas such as Professional and Personal Development, Working Conditions, and Satisfaction and Motivation. Although we have improved in these areas, the results are still not where we want them to be,” says Henrik.

By benchmarking DFDS against the average result for Danish companies, we can see the broader picture, showing where we can put in extra input for improvement. “It is very positive to see that we are doing better than other companies in 10 out of 12 areas. However, we also recognise that we need to look closely at the areas where we are not doing as well, which are Your Tasks, and Professional and Personal Development,” says Henrik.

A proud and satisfied workforce

We all perform better when we are happy at work and feel supported in our development and the challenges we face. We have seen an increase in Satisfaction and Motivation to 5.3, which is +0.1 from 2015 to 2017, and the same as from 2013 to 2015. We are also good at helping each other in peak periods, which 83.5% of the respondents rated at 5 or above. And we are proud to tell others where we work, which we have rated with a score of 5.8 in the Bearing 2017 survey as well as in 2015.

Personal development

In the Bearing 2015 survey, Personal Development scored 4.7, the lowest score in the survey, which we were not content with. We want everyone to become increasingly aware that they can develop and set new goals for their personal career and development in DFDS.

Satisfaction increased to 4.9 in 2017. This shows that we are moving in the right direction, but we are aiming much higher. We want to exceed the private Danish sector’s score of 5.1, and will continue to invest in this area. It is important that everyone is able to go on developing and growing to ensure that as many of you as possible have the relevant trainings opportunities. We are already doing a lot in this area, and we will be doing even more. In 2016-17, 140 employees participated in the FOCUS training for personal development. A new programme, Negotiation Skills, was implemented in 2017 and the second 18-month HORIZON talent programme commenced in 2017 with 22 new talents from different parts of the organisation. Within sales and customer service development, we still see a huge interest in the DFDS Way of Selling, in which around 6-700 employees have been certified during the past two years. Additionally, a new Sales Management Programme was implemented in 2017.

Once again this year, it appears that colleagues at sea give a higher score for both ‘Satisfaction and Motivation’ and ‘Loyalty’ compared to those ashore. That said, both groups score very highly in both categories.

Super superiors

“We are very content with our immediate superiors, whom we have rated very highly with 5.8, just as we did last time. Even though DFDS scores much higher than similar companies in the private sector and our competitors, we still need to get better at working with leadership. Our managers can become even better at utilising skills, motivating staff and building team spirit. That is why we keep on developing training and tools to support all our managers in their daily work,” says Henrik.

In 2017, DFDS introduced two new programmes for experienced leaders focusing on coaching and situational leadership, and developed and implemented an introduction programme for new managers.

All new managers must participate in the programme no later than three months after taking up their new role to ensure that they have the right understanding of what it means to be a manager at DFDS, and are familiar with The DFDS Way and behaviours.

It seems that training and tools are useful too, as we scored 6.1 on the question: My immediate superior predominantly acts according to The DFDS Way and behaviours.

We all have customers

In previous years’ Bearing surveys, there were some misunderstandings about what defines a customer. So, we added a definition of a ‘customer’. “Whether your customers are internal or external, they are still customers. And it is still very important that we all relate to our customers in The DFDS Way. Therefore, I am very happy to see that we are focused on the needs of our customers, which we rated at 6.2. And 90.3% of respondents rated this question at 5 or above,” says Henrik.

On the right track

These are some of the main conclusions from the Bearing 2017 survey, which will form the guiding principles for our future development. We have very good reasons to be proud of the results, which reflect that we are very satisfied and loyal to DFDS. There is a clear, positive trend in almost all areas, and job satisfaction is well above the general level in the market. This makes DFDS a stronger company.

We will use this constructively

I would like to thank you for completing the questionnaire. Together with the specific results for your own areas and depart­ments which will be presented to you by your manager, we will use the overall results to make DFDS an even better place to work.


Best regards,

Henrik Holck

EVP People & Ships

March 15, 2018