We operate in a dynamic environment. This means that in addition to employee attraction, retention supported by diversity and inclusion, labour practices, and health and safety, we also focus on the adaptability of our workforce in order to be fit for the future.
In 2021 we began looking into the working model at our Parcels business, with the goal of developing a future-proof, effective and sustainable design. This will help us to be even more customer-centric, enables us to maintain our high service-quality levels and stay ahead of changing stakeholder expectations.
The model will help us increase the number of parcel deliverers employed by PostNL, while further professionalising the business operations and services of our delivery partners. This includes helping them grow into operations with a larger number of routes. We expect the new model, which will be agreed upon with our delivery partners, to be finalised in the first quarter of 2022.
We are undergoing a digital transformation across PostNL, which will enable us to better serve our customers and grow the business. To be successful, we need people who are digitally savvy and can operate in a more agile way.
In 2021 we further expanded the Digital Next Academy, a leadership programme which teaches senior and middle managers, as well as people in digital roles from across the company, about the changing demands of our customers, the latest digital technologies, new business models, and their own role in the digital world. During the year, 440 participants from senior and middle management enrolled in the academy, which is an important step in their journey to working in a more digitally-driven way.
We also accelerated the development of our agile operating model, which helps us work together in a standardised way within multidisciplinary teams. In four waves, 38 design teams followed an onboarding programme in the agile way of working, and many across the company now work together in multidisciplinary, agile teams. As this model expands, it will help change the way of working across the organisation, as we focus on outcomes and results, rather than hierarchy or input.
The environment we are operating in is transforming, with declining mail volume, accelerating e-commerce growth and increasing digitalisation. This transformation is also reflected within PostNL. During the year we reached an agreement with the FNV, BVPP and CNV trade unions on a new social plan, applying to all employees covered by the PostNL collective labour agreement. The social plan took effect on 1 September 2021 and will run for three years, until 31 August 2024. The social plan aims to stimulate our employees to continue developing themselves. This offers new job opportunities and job security in times of change.
To help achieve this, the plan includes a new transfer bonus for employees in job groups faced with downsizing, with the purpose of encouraging them to switch to more sustainable positions, such as in our growth markets at Parcels or Spring. There is a also an early retirement scheme for employees close to their retirement age, and the mobility counselling services has been extended.
With so many employees on the road, safe and professional driving is a must at PostNL. Not just for our drivers and our customers, but for everybody. Through our ‘Heroes on the road’ programme, aimed at drivers and managers, we improve safety awareness and driving skills. Henk Borghuis, process manager in Hengelo, is one of our colleagues who works on this programme. “We call it ‘Heroes on the road’ because the goal is for drivers to take pride in their work and not just move parcels from A to B. It deals with traffic situations, driving skills and behaviour on the road. I always encourage my drivers to participate. I talk to them about their experiences, and sometimes give them advice. We need to make our drivers understand the importance of this programme, because it has an impact on so many levels. On the road, it helps to reduce traffic incidents and emissions. It helps to retain employees and improve customer satisfaction. But I’m also just glad to see our drivers enjoy their work more. And get home safely!”