Logistics firms are facing increasing competition for talent. The labor market for roles such as truck drivers and warehouse workers has been tight for a few years, in part because of relatively recent entrants like Amazon, according to Patrick Oestreich, chief commercial officer at Hellmann Worldwide Logistics. While the difficulty in filling warehouse and transportation roles has subsided at Hellman, a hiring hurdle that persists is for critical digital roles. For these “future skills” positions, logistics companies must compete not only with their peers but with technology giants such as Google, Meta and Microsoft.
For logistics companies to attract this personnel, Oestreich said they must raise awareness and change the perception of the industry. “[The logistics industry has] to sharpen our portfolio and sharpen our branding to the outside world in a much bigger way than what we do today, and show the world that logistics is…not only about physically transporting goods,” he said. “It’s still the core of the business, but more and more, the data modeling, data management, purchase order management, these kinds of things become relevant to our customer base, and there you need a technology stack which sets you apart from the rest of the competition.”
To engage and educate tech-savvy talent, Hellmann Worldwide Logistics is hosting a recruitment event in a digital setting: the metaverse. On March 30 from 4-8 p.m. CEST, prospective employees will be able to join and virtually explore opportunities in the IT and digital departments. This is a departure from the company’s usual recruiting outreach through traditional channels, including targeting university graduates.
“We need to experiment with new recruiting channels and new recruiting ideas to see if we can attract through that new way of working…a different talent pool than what we can access today,” Oestreich said.
Hellmann marketed the event solely on social media, reaching out to younger generations with digital and IT skills. Interested attendees can submit applications which are then screened to confirm they are legitimate. As of a couple days before the event, more than 100 people had registered to attend.
It took roughly four months for Hellmann to build this event, its first metaverse experience, in the Spatial platform. Participants can navigate Hellmann’s metaverse with either their computer or a virtual reality headset. Attendees will be able to create their own avatar in the platform or import a pre-existing digital doppelgänger. Fittingly for the freight provider, the metaverse experience takes place within a virtual container ship, with a range of activities in different rooms or stations designed to introduce participants to Hellmann’s people and day-to-day operations. Along with keynotes and presentations, there will be opportunities for two-way discussions between employees and attendees.
Adding a gamification element, Hellmann has hidden digital Easter eggs throughout its virtual world.
Should attendees want to learn more after the event, Hellmann will follow up to arrange more direct conversations with HR or department heads.
The metaverse format enables participation from around the globe, which mirrors the international footprint of Hellmann’s tech and digital teams; employees are based in locations from Canada to Asia to the Middle East. “For us, it’s more relevant to have the right skill set, the right mindset being recruited rather than the location you are in,” Oestreich said.
This recruitment-focused event is the first trial for Hellmann in leveraging the metaverse, and the company believes it is the first of its peers to make this move. Oestreich said that the goal was to get a metaverse experience live as quickly as possible to test it out and get user feedback for the future. Now that the metaverse tech stack is built, this opens the doors to other opportunities, such as a customer engagement event or a “digital twin” of a supply chain or a warehouse.
“It’s really an experiment,” said Oestreich. “We also know that any experiment can fail. But we are open to that because we want to practically learn how metaverse can have an impact on us as an organization.”