“We are atypical and it makes us proud”
With its strategic vision, bpost is leading the group and all its employees into a sustainable future. This vision is based on seven ambitions, including contributing to social cohesion and being an inclusive company that offers lifelong learning. “We invest a lot in training and development. We sometimes say that we do not discharge people, we just recharge their résumés,” says Mark Michiels, Chief Human Resources Officer. “We do not only recruit people for a job, we offer a lifelong employment, not only in Belgium but also abroad. At bpost you sign up for a full career path.”
What makes bpost group an attractive employer?
Mark Michiels: “People today want to know why they should accept to work for a certain company: they want purpose. Well, bpost plays a role in society. The corona crisis has made that clear, once again. People find it motivating to be useful, to make a difference. Too little is being said about this. A second pole of attraction is what I call the lab effect. Our company is transforming from a traditional postal company to an international omni-commerce logistics group, expanding its activities throughout Europe and far beyond. It is an incredibly fascinating process, especially for young people. People who apply for a job in our company look amazed and even more intrigued by the possibilities we offer.”
“People who apply for a job in our company look amazed by the possibilities we offer.”
What distinguishes bpost group from other employers?
Michiels: “Although we are undergoing a transformation, we remain committed to our values. For example, we still offer contracts for an indefinite period. This makes us very atypical in the logistics sector and it makes us extremely proud. We want to prove that in doing so, we can remain being competitive in a sector where social rules are not always respected. But I do not want to give a distorted picture either. The war for talent returns. We are convinced that it is beneficial for our company to take the training and the further development of people in our own hands.”
What efforts does bpost group make to train and develop people?
Michiels: “bpost boost includes various programs to give people professional opportunities. With Future Me, for example, we offer people without a diploma – 90 percent of the young people who start in our company – the chance to finish their secondary education. We truly invest in careers. For example, we invest much more in lateral mobility and not just in promotions.”
“We want to prove that we can be competitive in an industry where social rules are not always respected.”
How does bpost group communicate all this to the labour market?
Michiels: “We invest heavily in employer branding. Because there is a big difference between the attractiveness of the jobs at bpost and how they are perceived. People still think of us as a rather closed and archaic public company. But we are one of the few international groups headquartered in Brussels. Too few people are aware of this fact. For example, with ‘The faces of bpost’ we reach a lot of young people on social media. This campaign also aims at emphasizing our diversity. Diversity in the many possible jobs we offer, but also diversity in the people we employ. Our asset is our inclusive approach and that is also a value that we want to convey as a company. We want to be a reflection of our customers.”
You have just completed a large survey on well-being in Belgium. What did it teach you?
Michiels: “Every year we ask our employees how enthusiastic and committed they still are. The results this year were surprising. During the covid period, a kind of solidarity arose in our society. Postmen and women were seen as heroes, people who continued to provide their services despite everything. That has created a sense of pride, which we also see in the results. Yet we cannot deny that our people have been under severe pressure.”
“Our asset is our inclusive approach and that is also a value that we want to convey as a company. We want to be a reflection of our customers.”
What are you going to do to boost the well-being of your employees?
Michiels: “Four priorities emerged from the survey. The first is equal opportunity. This value is also included in our group strategy. The second priority is the flow of ideas. We think it has an immense value for the company. The third priority is to encourage everything that has to do with education. Offering opportunities and knowledge to anyone eager to receive it, should be our company’s mantra. The fourth and final priority is career opportunities. We also want to put much more emphasis on the possibilities of internal mobility.”
With a little help from your bpost boost
Helping people to (re) launch their career at bpost. Offering people some support on their career path. That is bpost boost‘s ambition. The project concretises one of the company’s strategic pillars: to offer lifelong learning as an inclusive company.
“A small-scale pilot project, in which a small group of candidates were quickly and efficiently trained to become valuable mail and parcel employees, laid the foundation for the integrated learning organization bpost boost,” says Martine Daenen, director bpost Academy. “Together with several Belgian public organizations, bpost boost provides the recruitment, selection, training and guidance for participants in the company’s various training courses.”
In the meantime, more than 250 jobseekers in Flanders have already embarked on the new route to start as a postal and parcel employee. “In March this was extended to Wallonia and afterwards we want to set up this program in Brussels and the German-speaking region.”
“In addition, bpost boost wants to offer up- and reskilling activities to employees within bpost. We will integrate existing programs such as Future Me – in which employees are guided to obtain their secondary education diploma – but also develop new training pathways. For example, we expect a different set of skills for future postmen and sorters, and we want to pay special attention to it. At the same time, we want to share the expertise we gain with bpost boost with other companies: they could also benefit from the influx of trained employees. We are now investigating such collaborations.”
bpost is more than just a single face
With the ‘The faces of bpost’ campaign, bpost puts its employees in the spotlight. “We want to show how proud our employees are,” says Emily Van Delm, Group Talent Acquisition Strategy Manager. “In addition, we also aim to emphasize our team’s diversity. The faces were not chosen randomly: after an internal call to nominate colleagues, we received about 200 responses and made a balanced selection among the different functions at bpost. “
‘The faces of bpost’ became part of the employer branding campaign launched by the company in November 2020. Emily Van Delm: “The external campaign generated more than 5 million views on social media. 40 to 50,000 people clicked through to our website wearebpost.be. Although it was not our initial goal (which was to promote pride in the work) it ultimately resulted in about 1,400 applications from people who want to be part of the bpost team. “
Support vulnerable groups together
DynaGroup, a bpost subsidiary, organizes all kinds of integration initiatives for young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods. They do it in collaboration with a Dutch non-profit organization and call it Social2gether. “The young participants take a physical or virtual tour of our company via super brief internships,” explains CEO Stephan van Mulken. “Thanks to our application trainings, they learn how to make a good impression on a potential boss. And during our Boss for One Day moments, they temporarily take over the reins of a manager. “
DynaGroup has also been working together with an organization Ferm Werk for two years. “We focus on people who, for whatever reason, have a harder time finding a place in the labour market,” says Stephan van Mulken. “We offer them an internship in our company, and hope that this will lead to a definitive employment contract. Through that channel we’ve already employed already led us to employ a number of logistics collaborators and technicians. “