We are an important employer in the Netherlands and in 2019 we began reinforcing this position by preparing for the integration of our postal network with that of Sandd. The merger will help us secure a reliable, accessible and affordable postal service, with greater job security for thousands of postal deliverers. By working together, our people will help us to become the favourite deliverer. We expect to finalise the integration during the course of 2020.
The transfer of our Parcels headquarters in Hoofddorp to our head office in The Hague was an important event for our people. Creating one headquarters stimulates cooperation between business units, leading to greater knowledge sharing and the adoption of best practices. It also helps to reduce costs. The relocation went smoothly, with Parcels' employees positive about the clear communication and warm welcome they received.
In 2019 our two key performance indicators, employee engagement and employee loyalty, remained unchanged from 2018 at 65% and 88% respectively (excluding Sandd). Although we did not meet our target of 66% employee engagement, we were satisfied with the results. With the majority of our people working in Mail in the Netherlands, we succeeded to implement many important changes while maintaining the engagement of our people. For example, finalising the roll out of the New mail route has enabled us to offer our people contracts with extended working hours.
In 2019 we started to measure engagement twice a year as we introduced an updated methodology. We will introduce and report on an updated employee engagement key performance indicator in 2020, and we will stop measuring employee loyalty. We also worked on tackling a range of issues, such as the employee turnover rate. At both our Parcels and our Mail in the Netherlands businesses, this resulted in a relative reduction in the short-term turnover rate over the first 10 months of the year.
Absenteeism in 2019 dropped below the levels of 2018, at 5.4% (2018: 5.9%). We believe our increased focus on employee retention and onboarding, as well as working to improve working conditions in our parcel sorting and delivery centres, has helped improve the absenteeism rate. We also saw a drop in our recordable accident ratio in 2019, to 4.2 (2018: 4.7). This was due to greater focus on initiatives that raise awareness of health and safety across the organisation.
In this chapter we explain the key elements of our strategic execution based on the relevant social drivers. We have a clear strategy to help our employees develop and feel engaged with our company.
Similar to 2018, we provide direct and indirect employment to around 50,000 people, around 73% of whom are our own employees and approximately 27% of whom are employed through contracted partners. For comparison reasons, this number does not include direct and indirect employment arising from the acquisition of Sandd. We employ a relatively large number of people with a distance to the labour market.
We aim to provide favourable work conditions for our entire workforce, and in 2019 continued to focus on four pillars to make this happen:
Manage personnel capacity
Strengthen employee engagement
In addition to these four pillars, PostNL continues to focus on improving its human resources support function with simple, efficient processes and easy access to analytics and information.