With over 55,000 employees and 5.4 billion pieces of mail delivered each year, Correos is the largest postal service in Spain. Like many in the global postal sector, the company has undergone massive changes in recent years. New trends in e-commerce and changing customer demands have made investing in mobile technology, digital communications and social networks essential components in the company’s business strategy.
In 2002, the company introduced e-learning courses to employees, many of whom were in their 40s and had little to no knowledge of new technologies. These courses could be accessed outside the workplace and offered employees from a diverse array of departments a chance to improve their work skills.
Today, the Correos Virtual Campus has evolved into a ‘global training space,’ which features news, videos, lectures, job skill aids and gamifications about specific job-related topics that are personalised by work position. ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN writer Steven Blum talked to Correos’ human resources director, Luis Pérez Capitán, about some of the big changes he’s helped to put in place and why he thinks the e-learning courses at Correos have been so successful.
What gave you the idea to make e-learning a necessity at Correos? Was there a specific moment when you realised that your business would need to change to be able to square off against the competition?
The volume of our company in terms of employees, the diversity of the territories where we offer and provide our services and the activities we engage in required new kinds of training. It would have been impossible to reach all of the places where our staff are located if we didn’t use an e-learning system.
Currently we also use our e-learning platform to give more weight to digital skills. The new types of training are linked to e-learning, like gamification and virtual reality. Actually, ‘e-learning’ is very useful and Correos needs to use it in order to improve and succeed in this competitive industry.
What was your first e-learning initiative? How did you gauge its success?
Ten years ago, our first initiatives were courses about digital literacy in order to improve the use of the learning platform and reduce fears about this new kind of training. The success could be seen in the large number of employees who enrolled in our new system.
What kind of digital skills do you want employees to learn?
Currently, we address our training model towards business skills – knowledge of products, courses about cultural change, the handling of new work tools (PDA to our delivery agents, new programmes to our front-office staff, etc.), enhancing favourable attitudes to new technologies, teaching foreign languages to our postal offices placed in touristic areas, etc.
It is also essential to develop specific skills and competences to allow our employees to understand and handle the huge amount of information that our company nowadays has access to and the consequences of that on our business plan.
What sort of problems has Correos encountered along the way to obtain company-wide adoption of e-learning?
In the beginning, technological problems and the mistrust of a small group of employees of a mature age were the main concerns. But now that sector of employees is actually really involved in the e-learning system.
What’s been your most popular course?
‘The Challenge of the Products’– it’s a course based on more sophisticated techniques of gamification, where employees gain deep knowledge of our services and products by playing a game. The goal of the course is to turn our employees into a sales force for our products. We have set rankings by individuals and by workplaces and the best players can receive material bonuses or remuneration, not based on salary.
Mr Capitán, thank you for this interview.
You can learn more about how Correos created what is now a hugely successful e-learning training programme affecting over 200,000 employees, including the hurdles and solutions encountered along the way, at ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2014.