Organisational change involving employees. Workplace innovation at Den Hartogh and HST

2013 – In an article in the Personnel and Labor section of the leaf of Transport and Logistics sector Netherlands (TLN), two cases are discussed, examples of workplace innovation in companies in Logistics. Workplace innovation is on the agenda of a working group created by the Human Capital Agenda Logistics, part of the Top Sector Logisitics in the Netherlands. The core of workplace innovation is seen as: improving the organisation by involving employees on a structural basis and encourage them to come up with proposals for improving the organisation or the work.

Workplace innovation at  Den Hartogh
Den Hartogh provides logistic services for the oil and gas industry, the company  transports liquid chemicals and gas. The company has 17 settlings spread all over the world, but especially in Europe. It employs more than 1,000 people.
In 2011 it was decided to close the offices in Oss and  Rozenburg and concentrate activities in one head office in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. That was the reason to introduce the ‘Den Hartogh way of working’.  It is a company specific form of ‘the new ways of working’. In the office there are only flex spots to work and everybody is given the opportunity to work from home. The management is result-driven.
It is the intention to expand the Den Hartogh way of working to other parts of the business, but for jobs that are related to a certain place such as truckdrivers, this is difficult.
However for drivers, it is already possible to plan their working hours more flexible. Many drivers work no longer 5 days but 4; on the free scheduled day, their tanker is ridden by a ‘jumper ‘. The drivers involved are mostly very satisfied with the flexibility gained.

Approach at Den Hartogh
The ‘Den Hartogh way of working’  was developed in workshops in which the Board, management and staff participated . A common conclusion was that the work had to be organised in such a way that it enables the employees to pull the best out of themselves. This requires a culture of giving and taking, of trust and responsibility.

The preliminary result (it will be measured later) is that the quality of the services provided has improved, according to a supervisor. The employees are generally satisfied, especially about the flexibility and working  from  home. 

Workplace innovation in the HST-Group
The HST-Group is a medium sized international transport company. The company has a wide range of logistic services ranking from road transport, through the movement of sea and air freight  to value added logistics.
The company has focused mainly on an improved management of absenteeism. The essence of this approach is frequent and personal attention. Also, the employee – in consultation with the company’s medical doctor – is encouraged to do other work or working other/shorter times, taking into account his limitations.  

A second measure is the flexible planning of rosters. Drivers can choose a roster of 4 days. There also is devised a compensation system so that the drivers get about the same amount of money paid for overtime monthly.

Of great importance HST finds an open culture and good communication. An example is the marquee that keeps  the employees informed of what is going on in the business and with their colleagues.

The result  is mainly expressed here in decreased absenteeism: in 2010 it was 6.50% in 2011: 5.49 % and in 2012: 3.48 %.

Hestens, Anita;  Luik, Christiaan van. Samen met werknemers veranderen. Sociale innovatie bij Den Hartogh en HST (Organisational change together with employees.  Workplace innovation at Den Hartogh and HST). Under the heading Personnel & Labor of the TLN magazine. 

Themes: New ways of working, Sustainable work, individual scheduling.

Sector: Logisitcs

Source: article, cases