From delivering the mail through to banking and digital solutions, NZ Post has been part of the fabric of New Zealand for 170 years and is one of our best loved brands. Even though it is a long-established company, it must respond to a rapidly changing world to stay competitive. Andre Colbert, Learning and Development Specialist at NZ Post says.
"The world is changing with new technology, a shift to knowledge-based industries and an increasing focus on quality. This all contributes to the demand for a workforce with high levels of literacy and numeracy. Strengthening these skills will support NZ Post into the future," he says.
NZ Post has focused on workplace literacy and numeracy in two different parts of its operation over the last year. “We selected sites we knew weren’t heading into massive change so their leaders could support the literacy and numeracy programmes effectively.”
NZ Post worked with Literacy Aotearoa to introduce a pilot programme to the International Mail Centre, called Take Off. Employees were given 24 hours of individual or small group learning, structured around workplace and personal goals. “It is impressive how much we achieved even with a short programme such as this,” says Caroline Spencer, Learning and Development Manager.
“One of the most valuable things we did with Literacy Aotearoa during this programme was literacy awareness sessions with site leaders to raise their awareness of literacy in the workplace and the opportunities to communicate more effectively with their people. They looked at things such as improving the readability of documents, as well as more effective verbal communication,” says Caroline.
The company’s second pilot was in its Contract Logistics business, which enlisted training provider Workbase. Workbase focused on tying literacy and numeracy learning into the workplace and creating meaningful learning opportunities for employees.
Andre says: “Overall we are seeing much better communication between staff and team leaders.
“Having good literacy and numeracy skills lifts peoples’ confidence to have conversations with supervisors that they might not previously have felt able to."
NZ Post also reports big improvements in employees’ confidence and self-esteem. Gains are also reflected in the increased number of staff reporting greater engagement in their work.
Literacy and numeracy training has also been a key part of NZ Post’s efforts to support employees whose roles have been affected by change. The company introduced an initiative called Future Zone, which enables staff to achieve two NZQA qualifications on the job and increase their future marketability to other employers. Literacy Aotearoa tutors are enlisted to help employees needing literacy and numeracy support to achieve these qualifications. The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand recognised NZ Post for this work with the Corporate Social Responsibility Award.