PostNL: 5 tips to help drive a culture of cloud learning and knowledge sharing
***Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts about the AWS Training and Certification Blog. Your feedback helps us continue create content you value.***
PostNL is Benelux’s number one service provider in parcels and mail, moving an average of 1.2 million packages and 8 million letters daily. An early adopter of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud since 2010, PostNL is shifting from a postal service to a logistics and service provider, where PostNL’s core smart logistics are developed through their own engineering capabilities. To do so, PostNL knew it needed to equip its engineers with the right knowledge and skills to build cloud native solutions and maximize the use of AWS capabilities and services. As such PostNL created a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE), which built a PostNL AWS Landingzone and delivers cloud economics and competence services. In 2021, in collaboration with AWS Skills Guild, the CCoE initiated a training program, which they call @TechTogether.
PostNL wanted to provide more than just standard training and learning sessions for their employees. Working with the Skills Guild team, they created a comprehensive cloud skills training program that 1) built cloud fluency for employees and 2) accelerated PostNL’s cloud adoption journey.
Milou Verheij, Manager CCoE, at PostNL, describes the experience, “[Skills Guild] takes into account the best fit for your company. Their guidance and drive to put us in charge of our learning culture is what makes them stand out.”
This blog outlines five key takeaways PostNL experienced from their work with AWS Skills Guild to help boost the organization’s cloud fluency and establish a fun learning culture.
1. Create momentum with a dedicated brand and kick-off event.
To start, PostNL created a dedicated brand for its Skills Guild program, which they coined @TechTogether, and organized a virtual event to kick off the program. The event was headlined by interesting high-profile speakers and leaders from the company and drew more than 200 employee participants. The event included talks on cloud strategy insights from CIO Marcel Krom; key future cloud skills from CTO Joost van der Vlies; motivation for becoming a PostNL cloud champion, from AWS Hero Luc van Donkersgoed; and guidance on organizing for agility from Enterprise Strategist Phil Le-Brun. The event rounded out providing employees with details on where to find courses and learning events, and tips for getting actively involved. All the program’s content was housed on a dedicated landing page so colleagues could easily find everything. They published a monthly @TechTogether newsletter to announce events and upcoming courses to get involved in.
2. Make training relevant to the learner.
A key to PostNL’s success in its @TechTogether program was delivering training that aligned the subject matter in a PostNL context; i.e., addressing how employees would use the solution at PostNL in their daily work. Additionally, they encouraged employees and program champions to work together to co-create the training events, and they leveraged participant feedback from previous events to align on which topics needed more attention and which were less relevant.
“We saw that participants processed the content of the training better and were more inspired to use the newly acquired information and techniques in their daily work. It made the content more tangible and provided clarity on how everyone is contributing to PostNL’s goals by using the cloud,” commented Luc van Donkersgoed, Lead Engineer at PostNL and AWS Serverless Hero
3. Create an environment that recognizes and empowers your people.
As Verheij explains, it was important that PostNL find ways to create an environment for knowledge sharing and a platform for our company leaders and program champions to shine: “We proactively showcased individual successes, and performance of our learners through internal communications. This made contributors feel recognized and proud, while inspiring our program champions to come up with ideas for presentations or workshops. We then helped them organize, reach their target audience, and execute.”
van Donkergoed expanded on this approach, “We also worked with the champions to organize a session with the inventor of the CDK and a joint DevOps culture knowledge sharing session, resulting in highly interactive Q&As, a strong CSAT score of 4.9, and a kick-start to adoption.”
4. Collaborate and co-create with other teams to bring scale and success.
PostNL also encouraged its teams to cross collaborate and organize joint learning and knowledge sharing events. They wanted leaders of new programs to learn from existing project teams, leverage existing communities, and increase overall knowledge sharing across the organization. The result has been increased synergies across the organization.
“We have several learning and knowledge sharing initiatives to enable our data and engineering community and by aligning these initiatives we create a learning culture and the right environment for high performing teams to drive innovation,” said Verheij.
5. Make learning fun for everyone.
PostNL also focused on hosting learning and training events that people would want to attend, and went a step further to gamify the experience. This cultivated an exciting and fun learning environment leading to increased participation and engagement, as well as idea generation.
“By organizing hands-on sessions and events like Hackathons, we have a lot of fun and boost continuous innovation for our company,” commented van Donkersgoed.
Going forward and staying on course
With their head office now fully reopened, following the global pandemic, PostNL will deliver physical events that support teams coming together in one location, especially with PostNL’s engineering community growing daily. By facilitating dedicated moments of ‘engineering time’ at the office, the knowledge sharing and exchange during informal learning events organized by the @TechTogether champions will expand crucial collaboration.
@TechTogether aspires to grow into an umbrella program for engineering learning across the organization, with a strong belief that making knowledge widely accessible will empower their engineers to take ownership, build better IT solutions, respond faster to customer needs, and accelerate PostNL’s digital transformation to become the leading logistics and service provider.
Learn more about AWS Skills Guild to build cloud skills within your organization.