One of the coolest things happened in work. I got an email from our social media manager letting me know that I had emerged as the most ‘Socially Influential Employee’ at Post Office for December. Apparently it was due to the reach of my tweets about last posting dates and my experience as a ‘Christmas Maker’ in St John’s Wood Crown Office in the lead up to Christmas. (See picture above)
This made me feel super proud. I even featured on a PowerPoint slide!
It was in fact this time last year that I was counting down to the redundancy scrap heap when the lovely Vicki Thacker at Fraser Jones called me to talk through an opportunity. As usual she described the role and asked what I thought, only then telling me the name of the organisation. I think my initial reaction was “POST Office?! I’m not really sure I see myself somewhere like that.” My perception of the organisation was that it was a bit ‘old school’ and somewhat dated in its offer and approach.
I saw myself as fitting better into an organisation which was forward thinking, would allow me to innovate and create, and which wasn’t ridden with red tape which would mean I’d struggle to deliver anything meaningful.
Aside from a short-lived stint in vocational education, I’d spent pretty much the whole of my professional career to date in blue chip FTSE 100 organisations and so a dalliance into the public sector seemed an illogical move.
But I went along for the interviews, got offered the role and, as I approach my one-year anniversary in March, I’m so proud to be part of an organisation that’s going through one of the most exciting business transformations in the UK.
I’m still amazed at how few people know that Post Office is no longer part of Royal Mail Group. In fact, the organisations separated in April 2012 as Royal Mail Group prepared to privatise.
Whilst commercially The Post Office will continue to sell its award winning range of Financial Services products such as insurances, travel money and mortgages, its branches are pivotal in providing communities with the front office of government with checking passports and issuing tax discs, pensions and benefits payments. We also offer Royal Mail Group’s mail services.
The three things I love most about working at the Post Office:
1. Being a learning and development professional here is so cool. I look after leadership development and, as Royal Mail Group had historically owned the curriculum, I have the opportunity to grow the function organically. I’m not battling with legacy programmes or frameworks. We’ve launched refreshed behaviours, a leadership framework and had the benefit of designing our approach to developing our senior leaders, working alongside some fantastic organisations. I also have the opportunity to innovate with technology and champion cutting edge app-based social learning. Again, very cool.
2. I work with the most fabulous people. Our Chief HR Officer has pretty much built her HR leadership team from scratch in the past twelve months and they in turn have had the opportunity to do the same. Yes we’re lean but the people I work with are bright and creative yet realistic and pragmatic. I also have a brilliant boss which is often so hard to come by. It feels so good to be part of a team that’s beginning to earn its stripes as a strategically aligned partner to the wider business.
3. There is a sense of collective desire to want to make a difference. From the colleagues I worked alongside in branch at Christmas to the staff who work in our supply chain operation, the subpostmasters and everyone in between, we all want to be part of transforming the organisation into a commercially performing business yet retaining our social purpose. I love that our advertising slogan is ‘handled with care’ as I really do feel there is an appetite to live that statement in the way we all go about our daily business whether referring to our customers, our products, or indeed the way we treat each other.
Yes there are invariably moments when I feel like the mountain is steep and high and I’m never going to get there. I sometimes wish I could win the lottery and become a lady who lunches rather than have to go to work but I think we all secretly aspire to a life where the corporate treadmill is less of a necessity and more of a choice.
And right now this is my choice. We are in the middle of recruiting our 2014 graduates and I’m hoping I will be able to spread some of my enthusiasm for the business so that they feel as excited about wanting to join us as I do almost one year in.
I feel so proud to work for such an iconic UK brand which continues to serve and support the communities in which it operates and I look forward to playing a part in its future.
PS All views are my own and not those of my employer.
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