Strategic HR key to successful changes within the Royal Mail

I write in response to your article on change within the Royal Mail (Personnel Today, 1 February).

As the managing director of Inspira UK, which has been instrumental in Royal Mail’s recent strategic rationalisation, I would like to highlight that job cuts and financial savings cannot create a positive outcome without taking into consideration the vision shared by the remaining staff.

While any major turnaround will often lead to staff cutbacks to balance the books and to maximise potential profit, you also need to consider the impact on those who remain and how this directly affects the long-term health of the business.

With job losses comes a psychological sense of insecurity, so it is imperative for companies to implement an ongoing two-way dialogue, developing internal communication with teams and valuing staff input and feedback. This is how Inspira UK is supporting Royal Mail in the short term, with a view to laying the foundations for a long-term robust business delivery plan.

Change is not always well received by staff, and building relationships is paramount to developing positive dynamics within organisations. For any workforce to be engaged, staff need to be valued and feel they are part of that process of change.

In the case of the Royal Mail, a business partner practice was put in place, enabling front-line HR to work more strategically as consultants and facilitators, rather than solely focusing on transactions and compliance.

Pushing the partner’s ability (and authority) to be strategic to the front-line team members and to invest heavily in HR capability was, and still is, a critical part of improving HR’s ability to have a positive impact on the bottom line for the business and return on investment. To make this happen effectively and smoothly, it remains vital to ensure that business partners understand their new roles and the developmental challenges associated with change.

Sue Higgins
Managing director, Inspira UK



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