The Post Office boasts the biggest retail network in Europe, with 11,500+ branches in the UK. Whilst a common misconception is that they solely sell mails and stamps, they have transformed their portfolio to include Financial Services, Telecommunications and Digital Identity Services.
The graduate scheme within Post Office has been running for 4 years with an annual intake of 8-9 General Management graduates placed across business functions. Every cohort of graduates must create a project proposal under the title ‘What would you change if you were CEO?’ In 2017, CEO Paula Vennells felt so passionately about the projects that she encouraged the implementation of each, empowering graduates with the autonomy, creativity and responsibility to identify problems, propose solutions and make real change within the business; testament to the importance of next generation talent within Post Office.
"Empowering graduates with autonomy, creativity and responsibility to identify problems, propose solutions and make real changes within the business"
One group of 3 graduates recognised that the organisation used multiple pieces of software to fulfil similar functionality. They saw the opportunity to improve collaboration, reduce costs and facilitate greater communication. The project evolved into a wider digital literacy and engagement piece, collaborating with Ben Cooke (Back Office CIO) and the Digital Workplace initiative. Wanting to create a culture of knowledge sharing and hands-on help amongst employees, the ‘Digital Stars’ network was born: a community of colleagues wanting to catalyse the use of technology to enable a more flexible, collaborative workplace.
Within 28 days of launch, Post Office saw rapid engagement and participation, with 450 active users. Steady decrease in email usage was supplemented with a 939% increase in activity on team collaboration software Microsoft Teams. Recognising the success of this project, the organisation adapted the graduate scheme to allow one graduate to pursue this project as their full-time role.
This outside-in mentality allows Post Office to remain competitive in an economic landscape increasingly dictated by digital agility.