The transformation of PHLPost
Three years ago Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) began making dramatic changes to its structure and operations which has led to better pay and work environment for its employees and a stronger image for the Post. In June 2014 its vast efforts were recognized when it won the People Management category at the World Mail Awards. Maria Josefina M. Dela Cruz, Postmaster General & CEO, tells Post & Parcel the story of how and why PHL Post was completely re-engineered. “Before 2011 PHLPost was incurring losses and its market share was being eaten up by the competition – both for delivery and money transfer services. The company also had a very poor corporate image and it was not being recognised by the new generation of Filipinos. We realised we needed to implement major changes to take the Corporation back to its glory days and hopefully emerge in an even better state. In order to do this we had to address the challenges relating to organization, human resource, business systems and processes, corporate image, and business development.
Rationalized Organizational Structure
The reengineering started off with a Rationalization Plan which was geared towards bringing the structure to a sustainable level and making it market-driven. After a strategic review, the bloated organization, which was eating into a large chunk of the Corporate Budget, was reduced by 3,301 employees. These savings enabled the Postal Corporation to offer a better compensation package for the employees, who had previously received one of the lowest salaries in the industry and salaries increased by 13 to 30 percent. It also helped reinstate the benefits of the postal employees which were suspended due to non-remittance of premiums and contributions. Overall, the rationalized structure put the Post in a stronger position to stabilise the business.
Empowering Postal Employees
A number of moves were then made to ensure we were getting the best out of our staff and that they were able to perform to the best of their abilities. These include new training programmes and giving employees more evaluation and feedback.
Learning and development was not a priority before, which led to poor performance and lack of innovation. Today postal employees have many opportunities for growth. Every year, PHLPost provides employees with opportunities to participate in local and international training and conferences in addition to organizing team-building activities, workshops, and wellness activities.
More attention is also given to employee performance which is now monitored, evaluated, and rewarded. Corporate targets are now translated to individual targets, so every unit and employee has a clear direction of what to accomplish.
Communication is key
We also realized we needed to communicate better internally to ensure top level messages were being heard and understood throughout the organisation. The Management now takes time to travel all over the Philippines to have a face-to-face interaction with the postmasters and letter carriers so that corporate thrusts are communicated and employees sentiments are addressed properly. Other means for communication include monthly gatherings for those celebrating their birthdays and the circulation of the new monthly staff publication, “PHLPost Text Alert”.
Modernising facilities and embracing IT
In addition to updating the world environment for our employees we also knew we had to update our resources and facilities in order to increase productivity. Over the last year we have replaced fully-depreciated vehicles and our fleet now drive new and rebranded vehicle to transport mail. We have also replaced outdated machines and equipment, and revamped manual processes – moving from mechanical to networked digital postage meter machines with the initial implementation of 222 machines. This will help the Corporation in terms of mail security and revenue protection. Computerization of business processes is also on-going. PHLPost has also used IT to introduce stamps to the Filipinos in a new dimension through its “Selfie Booth” which produces personalized stamps.
Once we were happy with the impact of all these changes on the services we were providing, we went out and began promoting PHLPost’s capability to deliver goods and services in particular to the vulnerable sectors of the society who are located in far-flung areas of the country. As a result, we were entrusted to do the payout for the Conditional Cash Transfer Program of the Philippine Government, which hopes to alleviate the condition of the poorest of the poor families. Our employees have to literally climb mountains and cross rivers to reach these families. With the success of the payout, other institutions have also entrusted PHLPost to do the payout for their respective financial assistance such as the International Commission of the Red Cross, Save the Children,Inc., UN World Food Programme, Philippine Red Cross, and OXFAM International.
PHLPost will continue to provide these payout services not only for revenue generation but as contribution to the fulfilment of the Social Contract of the Philippine Government with the Filipinos for poverty alleviation and inclusive growth.
It is no longer business as usual in PHLPost now. Gone are the days where the postal employees were laid-back and had no drive for innovation – we now strive for excellence. Given the Corporate Targets, our employees performance is now planned, monitored and mentored, evaluated, and rewarded. But more than that, we are no longer just waiting in the comfort of our offices for clients and business to come in but we go out and assert the relevance of the Post in the value chain.
Re-engineering PHLPost will continue its story of transformation focusinf now on the next stages such as employee engagement, business innovation, continuing service excellence, and sustainability. We envision PHLPost to become a premier service provider, thus we have lined up bolder programs for development such as the redevelopment of our International Offices of Exchange where we will automate the sorting processes, development of a national track and trace system, connecting the post offices with more counter services, and provision of more opportunities for learning and development for our employees.
Winning a world mail award is very special to us. It is a confirmation that we have taken the right path when we started re-engineering PHLPost. Knowing that the industry experts in the world appreciated our strategies, it inspires and challenges us to do more and aspire for bigger things for PHLPost.”