HR Hubs at the Heart of Europa

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Pioneering independent logistics operator Europa Worldwide Group has completed the first phase of its substantial Human Resources (HR) transformation programme.

As one of the most advanced logistics firms, with a team of over 1,100 and 15 sites operating across the UK today, this marks an important milestone in the firm’s ongoing response to the dual challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit.

It also exemplifies the unwavering ambition of Europa Worldwide Group to lead the sector at a time of immense change. Transport and logistics remain in the international spotlight following these crises, and there has never been greater recognition of the vital role it plays in keeping global economies and supply chains moving.

As well as successfully introducing a unique customs product, Europa Flow, to remove friction in moving goods between the UK and Europe in response to Brexit, the company also adapted with agility and flexibility during the pandemic peak.

Underpinning all this has been a dedicated Human Resources (HR) team which has ensured a business-as-usual approach during Covid whilst also working hard to refresh Europa’s people management approach.

The objective is to ensure the HR function is strategically aligned with the organisation’s intended future direction and is fully embedded across the UK divisions of Europa’s commercial portfolio.

Tom Jenkins, newly appointed Central Services Director, Europa Worldwide Group, has overseen the changes. He said: “Providing the right HR support for a growing business is crucial. Our ambition is to harness the talents of all employees so they can reach their potential and enable Europa Worldwide Group to achieve its commercial expectations.

“Our forecasts predict an upward workforce recruitment trajectory, as we strive to achieve a bold £400m turnover target. It is imperative we have the right HR structure in place to achieve this so we can secure our place as the leading logistics firm in the British market.”

“Europa is the only firm operating in the sector to have introduced such an innovative HR approach. We want to lead by example and showcase the very best employment practices in the response to concerns raised that the transport and logistics sector is lagging in its HR capabilities.”

Europa Worldwide Group has featured in The Sunday Times Top Track 250 for three years running and in The Sunday Times Profit Track 100 Covid-19 edition. Recent figures show exponential growth, with record turnover of £210m for 2020, with target projections of £260m for 2021 and £300m this year. £10m profit are also expected for 2021, £6.4m up on 2020 levels.

The appointment of eight new Human Resources Business Partners (HRPBs) has been pivotal to this new HR approach. It represents a 160 per cent increase in the core HR team, bringing the full complement up to 13 staff members.

Emma Jackson, Debi Rodgers, Bradley Earp, Juliette Battison, Sherelle White, Clare Maund, Aimee Stokes, and Debra Marks bring with them a wealth of experience to the roles. Each has worked in a broad range of sectors and offers invaluable expertise across all areas of the employment lifecycle.

The HRBPs have been allocated to one of the firm’s UK-based divisions, which include Europa Road, Europa Warehouse, Europa Air & Sea, and Europa Contact Centre. All report to Head of Human Resources, Elaine Robertson, who spearheaded the design and delivery of this HR transformation programme in line with the overarching global people and culture strategy.

It is centred around the introduction of dedicated HR hubs across the business. These are a combination of physical workstation resources at Europa’s largest sites – packed with crucial HR information tailored to each employee – as well as the development of the HRBP offering.

Around 77 per cent (859) of Europa’s staff work out of the operational sites in Birmingham, Corby, and Dartford HQ. As well has being given responsibility for looking after the different UK divisions, the HRBPs have also been allocated to each of these sites.

Bradley Earp and Clare Maund will support Birmingham; Juliette Battisson and Debra Marks will look after Corby; Emma Jackson, Sherelle White and Aimee Stokes will assist Dartford; and Debi Rogers will split her time helping Birmingham and Dartford.

Elaine Robertson, Head of HR at Europa Worldwide Group, commented: “Increasing the ratio of staff to HRBPs is a tactical priority. The goal is to seamlessly blend the overarching HR function into all operational teams. By facilitating, supporting, and empowering employees and their managers, the HRBPs and HR Hubs will enable better staff engagement and stronger business partnerships.

“I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our new HRPBs who join Europa at a pivotal time. The Group prides itself on providing career opportunities for all. By putting a new structure in place to support this, the expanded HR team will be able to deliver day to day activities more efficiently whilst nurturing future talent.”

Underpinning the HRPBs and HR Hubs is a brand new, state of the art HR system which is set for implementation across the 15 UK Europa sites in 2022. All staff, be they office, road, warehouse or virtually based, will be able to access this ‘one-stop HR shop’ using the latest cloud technology.

The goal is to organise all HR services – including payroll, benefits, workforce, and talent management – in a single application. By allowing employees to access their personal HR information through the HR Hubs, processes will be pared back. This means the HRBPs will be able to focus on the strategic work that will boost productivity and commercial outputs.

The recruitment of a Learning and Development Business Partner is also underway, which will further complement this approach. The successful candidate will create and deliver bespoke training programmes to enhance the existing skills and capabilities of every employee operating at all levels within the Group.

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