Client Stories

Helping DVB deliver a bespoke outplacement service

“There’s genuine sadness that DVB is closing, and that everyone’s roles here are coming to an end,” says Claire Smith, Senior Vice President, Group Human Resources, DVB Bank SE. The closure will personally impact Claire, but she also finds herself in the unenviable position of being the one making redundancies – something that’s happening up to twice a year as the bank runs down to final closure at the end of 2022.

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DVB Bank London

Continuing to invest in colleagues

“It’s very much a family feel at DVB,” says Claire. “Employees have such long lengths of service. I’ve been here for seven years, but the average is nine.”


That service longevity means that many of Claire’s colleagues don’t have LinkedIn profiles or up-to-date CVs, and it’s been many years since they’ve interviewed.


That’s why, rather than offering a generic outplacement service, Claire is curating a series of inhouse workshops for DVB leavers, designed to help her colleagues develop some of the different skills sets they will need when they leave.

“At DVB it’s always been about our colleagues, we’ve always put a lot into them. A redundancy package is great financially, but the money only lasts so long. That’s why we’re continuing to invest in our employees while they remain with us – finding ways to help them secure their next role. I want colleagues leaving here having thought through what’s next for them. While it’s a difficult time, I also want to help them feel as good as possible about themselves when going into the job market.”

Claire Smith

Why Susan and the Make Your Mark programme?

As part of DVB’s workshop line up, which spans topics from CV writing to pensions advice, Susan is running an eight-hour version of her Make Your Mark coaching programme - giving leavers the confidence, presence, and communications skills they need to make their unique mark – be it at an interview or in a new role.

“We really wanted someone who we felt our employees could connect with and that’s exactly what’s happened. Susan’s great at connecting quickly with different types of people – those from different levels and with different skills sets.”

Claire Smith

The first cohort ran in Autumn 2020 with 12 DVB colleagues. Over four sessions, each lasting two-hours, the group explored; how you think, how you look, what you say and how you say it.


“From a HR perspective we just thought it was really important that people had the chance to think about themselves. To explore what they want to do next, to look at their profile, their image and how they can project their personal brand in an interview setting. Susan’s sessions give them a safe space to do that.”


The benefits and how participants feel about Make Your Mark


“Participant feedback from this first Make Your Mark cohort was overwhelmingly positive,” says Claire.


“People have come away feeling confident. They are reflecting on themselves, about what they need to work on and how they need to work on it. Participants have said they’d like more time with Susan, so we might even look to lengthen each session for our future cohorts,” continues Claire – with a further two already booked for 2021.


“I want our colleagues to get the most from their time with Susan. She works hard to create a safe space for people to share and learn from each other. Participants in this first cohort were from completely different parts of the business, yet they felt secure enough to share within this group. You don’t want to rush that. That shared learning has benefits beyond an individual level – it also changes people’s views about others in their group. During this difficult time, that’s particularly helpful because when you hear how others are feeling it’s humanising. Having that perspective transcends these sessions to improve working relationships.”

Claire Smith

About DVB


DVB Bank SE is a financial services provider specialising in international transportation finance. 


DVB is part of Germany’s second-largest banking group. In 2017, its board announced it would sell off its aviation sector and run down its shipping business, which will result in the closure of DVB’s London base in December 2022.

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Claire's verdict

“When you are in HR you meet a lot of people - including loads of trainers and coaches. For me Susan just really stands out. It’s not only her fantastic qualifications, but also her as a person… how she makes you feel. People come away from her Make Your Mark programme feeling confident and that’s such a powerful thing.”

– Claire Smith, DVB Bank SE