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The postal company bpost was looking for a programme that would give its team leaders some anchorage points for day-to-day interaction. We developed a programme, in conjunction with the project team and a Belgian coach, that encompassed individual coaching, group coaching and tools.
The bpost organisation is the market leader in the postal industry in Belgium. Every day, bpost dispatches around 8.5 million letters and 150,000 packages. The company employs around 26,000 staff for this and has a turnover of €3 billion.
bpost was keen to get its work force more closely involved and reduce their stress levels. The company accordingly asked Involve to help them in getting team leaders to interact more effectively.
We developed a programme, in conjunction with the project team and the Belgian coach, that offered team leaders some starting points for their day-to-day interaction. First of all, we observed day-to-day work in the workplace. This showed us that the employees were experiencing severe work pressure, feeling that they had little time for any work-based discussions. This had to be the focus of the coaching, which focused on daily “touches”, or brief moments when team leaders and employees could interact – with optimum results.
We specified specific moments: weekly informal moments and formal cascade moments when employees could highlight concerns, and so on. And for each of these moments, we focused on interaction by means of positive response, questioning and listening.
Each moment had its own coaching module, including group and individual coaching, as well as tools for team leaders to interact with their team members. We tested and improved tools alongside the team leaders, including a tool for impact assessment. All of this was compiled into an interaction work manual and interaction tools. We also directed coaches for rolling out the programme throughout the entire bpost company.
Through the tests, team leaders experienced the impact of their own communication skills and how positive and questioning interaction yields more than directive interaction does. The focus shifted from talking to listening. The programme is still running.