We operate in a fast-changing logistics business, where being able to manage and plan your staffing requirements is a key factor for success. The tight labour market continued to contribute to a complex situation in 2019. Work and personnel planning, targeted recruitment, employee onboarding, retention and continuous improvement based on employee feedback are key to ensure we can deliver what we promise our customers.
Preparation for the integration of Sandd began in 2019 and will take effect in 2020. As part of the Sandd integration, we offered all of the company's approximately 11,000 mail deliverers jobs with PostNL, with over 4,000 having accepted a position so far. We also gave around 1,800 other Sandd employees priority when applying for other positions within PostNL, and have welcomed approximately 300 into the company. This offer remains open to those employees who have not yet applied but may wish to do so in the nearby future.
Those Sandd employees who chose not to apply for or accept a position, have access to a redundancy programme. This includes an outplacement programme, that provides access to specialised job events around the country, and a social plan. We are also continuing to honour the 25 social workplace agreements at Sandd, which account for 500 social work places.
We organised a number of activities to inform Sandd employees about job openings and the way of working at PostNL. These included over 175 tours of sorting sites, visits to 13 job fairs, holding over 50 open consultation hours, meetings at our head office, setting up call centres to answer questions, and taking over 30,000 calls. Our focus in 2020 will be on providing training to new employees, and making them feel welcome. More information can be found in the Sandd story box.
Ad van Gerwen has worked with PostNL for more than forty years, and has been a delivery team leader since 1999. We spoke to him to find out what his working life is like.
"I have a lot of responsibility, but also freedom and variety. I can work from home and I deal with topics related to customers, mail and colleagues. I’m also in charge of scheduling, and the introduction of the New mail route means we’ve created new rosters for mail deliverers. This ‘matching process’ has been a challenge, as we’ve had to repeat the process for those Sandd deliverers who started in February. This means current deliverers were sometimes given new routes, which was frustrating for them. But I also have to consider the wishes of our new colleagues. It is important to create understanding. "
“On Fridays, me and the other team leaders meet with our manager to discuss issues such as the number of colleagues off sick or the arrival of Sandd. As part of the preparation process, I arranged meetings with Sandd employees. On Saturday I visit different locations in my region, and then I visit people in the community to resolve their complaints. Fortunately, I can recover on Saturday evening, which is when I get to take it easy."
In 2019 we began tackling company-wide turnover rates in a number of targeted areas, particularly among new hires in our parcels business. Our research has shown that the first two months are crucial if we are to retain employees. For mail deliverers, our onboarding process now includes a mentoring programme from day one. The mentor provides an introduction to the job and answers any questions or concerns the new employee may have. Additionally, we build up the mail deliverer's route slowly, so that they begin with lighter mail packs. This led to a relative reduction in the short-term turnover rate - within two months of joining the company - at Mail in the Netherlands over the first 10 months of 2019.
At Parcels, meanwhile, the ongoing growth in e-commerce led to the creation of new parcel delivery routes in 2019. This led to a growth in our workforce, both internally and via our delivery partners. We saw our parcel deliverer numbers grow by around 10% during the year. While the tight labour market made it challenging to attract and retain employees, we improved our retention rate in 2019, which we believe is partly due to improved vocational training, building up the delivery route of new parcels deliverers and appointing and training mentors in our sorting and delivery centres. At Parcels, we also saw a relative reduction in the short-term turnover rate over the first 10 months of the year.
In 2019 we introduced an improved job listings website, which presents the company in a more attractive way to potential candidates and makes it easier to apply for jobs. This involved renewing the site's look and feel and improving the search function for vacancies. The website is now mobile-friendly, more user-friendly and aligned with our employer branding. We will continue to optimise the site throughout 2020.