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How PostNL is using gamification to drive employee engagement and reduce costs

Platforms such as Duolingo for language learning or Strava for fitness make a “game” out of some of the things that we’re not always motivated to do, and this hack is making its way into digital workplace tools. Gamification apps are a more fun and arguably more effective way than the dated performance evaluations to track and improve performance with the added benefit of boosting employee engagement and retention, and enhancing the workplace culture.

While a lot of HR professionals may be familiar with these types of “people tools,” they are not as much at the forefront of strategies used by managers or executives as a way to tap into the potential of their workforce and boost productivity, especially for blue collar workers.

PostNL, on the other hand, has positioned itself on the leading edge of introducing gamification for blue collar workers, with over 8 thousand of its mailmen now voluntarily onboarded onto a gamification platform they started testing in 2020 called Tradler.

Tradler is a platform for employees that allows them to collect points for meeting certain targets, where managers give them virtual high fives by sending a message with a GIF and points attached, and where employees can exchange points for real rewards, and give feedback on how they’re feeling about their work. This combination of points, rewards, recognition, and friendly team competition, makes them more engaged in their day to day work. They know what areas are most important to the organization, they feel appreciated for the work they do, and there is a better connection amongst their colleagues and with management.

PostNL has experienced notable results since implementing Tradler in 2022. Turnover, one of the biggest pain points for PostNL, is significantly less for Tradler users versus non Tradler users. Those using the platform are about 5 times more likely to stay longer with the organization, reducing turnover costs. It’s also being used to address two costly operational bottlenecks, the first being mail carriers submitting their scheduling confirmation in a reasonable time for shift planning, resulting in less uncovered routes, less operational headaches in finding ways to cover those routes at the last minute, and less contractors that have to be used to fill shifts.

For those routes that are not covered, Tradler has doubled the frequency that mail carriers bid on open routes which has meant that less contractors have to be brought on at the last minute, which is costlier than a route fulfilled by a mail carrier. Tradler users bid on covering routes 24.5% more than non Tradler users.

Besides the direct impact on productivity and retention, some useful insights have been gained from Tradler. For example, PostNL has witnessed that when a manager gives an employee a recognition on Tradler, or a “virtual high five,” the employee is more likely to be actively engaged in the platform and more likely to achieve the metrics. And, the more recognitions given to an employee, the more bids the employee places on open routes. Tradler has built in this recognition aspect of the platform, finding that it is just as important if not more than the points gained from daily/weekly/monthly targets.

Postal and logistics companies are under constant pressure to perform in a competitive industry with the complex job of transporting and delivering billions of dollars of goods each year. Yet even if implementing different types of innovative technology to reduce costs and increase service, the costly last mile is still in the hands of the courier or mailman who has tremendous influence on the customer experience and quality of service. So, while posts can acquire new technologies, the courier is still at the crux of the delivery experience and performance. PostNL has recognized the importance of focusing on the employee and not

just the process to drive efficiency, quality, and productivity.

It's no simple feat to deliver billions of dollars' worth of packages and goods annually. Postal and delivery companies are constantly striving to reduce costs while optimizing service with new technologies – yet it all comes down to one person at the 'last mile' - that crucial step before delivery. Couriers can make or break a customer experience, and PostNL knows success isn't just about investing in new processes but also putting an emphasis on employees as well.

WMX: Platforms like Duolingo for learning or Strava for fitness make a “game” out of things we’re not always motivated to do, and this hack is making its way into digital workplace tools for office employees. Now, postal and delivery companies like PostNL and Just Eat Takeaway are bringing it to the blue collar delivery workforce to increase productivity and engagement. Companies are constantly striving to reduce costs while optimizing service with new technologies – yet it all comes down to one person at the crucial last 'last mile.' Gamification tools are showing real results in turnover and productivity.

Delivery and postal companies like PostNL and Just Eat Takeaway are using gamification to help workers stay engaged, motivated, and productive. By turning traditional tasks into a 'game,' gamification platforms can increase efficiency in the delivery workforce realm while also reducing costs for companies.

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