«Our employees are the best in the world»

Swiss Post has once again been named the «world’s best postal service». It achieved the top ranking in the annual Universal Postal Union (UPU) study for the fourth time in a row. Of the 170 postal organizations evaluated worldwide, Austria and Germany also took their place on the podium along with Switzerland. In an interview, CEO Roberto Cirillo explains why the award means so much this year.

Roberto Cirillo, Swiss Post has been named the world’s best postal service for the fourth time. Hasn’t it all become a bit routine?

No, absolutely not. It fills me with great pride and joy. To win the award this year of all years is extraordinary. We’ve had a very turbulent year. For Executive Management and myself, this crisis has once again highlighted that it is Swiss Post’s employees who set the company apart. They’re the heartbeat and face of Swiss Post. They’re all mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who will undoubtedly have often felt anxious due to coronavirus. And yet, they were all still there for the people of Switzerland. In short, our employees are the best in the world. It’s down to them that Swiss Post has once again topped the rankings.

You highlighted the extraordinary coronavirus situation. Swiss Post has actually performed extremely well this year. How did it manage that?

We shouldn’t forget that while Swiss Post is an institution, it is made up of over 50,000 employees. Recent months have shown me that we can adapt quickly to new circumstances, even if Swiss Post seems large and unwieldy. We’re overcoming situations that would have been unthinkable until recently. I’ve felt a strong sense of solidarity within Swiss Post. Whether in the parcel or letter centers, at the branches or in delivery, employees have joined forces to deal with the extreme situation and were always there for Switzerland. That gives me great pride but also confidence that we’ll overcome future challenges together.

You say Swiss Post has overcome situations that were unthinkable. What do you mean?

The pandemic was on our radar as part of crisis management, but we never imagined anything on this scale. Like the rest of the world, the virus also took Swiss Post by surprise. Everyone suddenly had to stay and work from home. Parcel volumes rose sharply. All the solutions we previously had in place for growing parcel volumes no longer worked because we had to maintain social distancing. Suddenly, over 9,000 employees had to work from home. Our IT department did an incredible job to ensure everything ran smoothly. And then there were our employees, who delivered parcels and letters to people’s homes each day. They couldn’t all simply stay at home. That’s why I would like to say a huge thank you to them.

In the study, Swiss Post is compared with postal organizations of countries in crisis. Is the award really meaningful?

I think it certainly is.  Let’s not forget that COVID-19 is presenting major challenges for all postal organizations around the world. Swiss Post relies on successful international cooperation, not least as part of its involvement in the Universal Postal Union. Swiss Post extends beyond national borders. We’re firmly embedded in the global postal network. We can only provide benefits for people and companies in Switzerland if we have successful links with all other postal organizations.

The outlook isn’t rosy. Swiss Post has also been hit by coronavirus. How will Swiss Post make sure it remains at the top in future?

The crisis is having a major impact on our activities and finances. We need to brace ourselves and combine our energy and resources. That’s exactly what we’re doing by launching our new strategy, which is now more important than ever.

 

Roberto Cirillo virtually received the prize in front of the Universal Postal Union and expressed his thanks. You can find the speech here.

The Universal Postal Union study, which has been conducted since 2017 and covers 170 postal organizations, assesses a total of four different areas:

  • reliability (efficiency, speed and quality of delivery and services)
  • reach (international networks and foreign commitment)relevance (the strength of demand for products and services and their importance for the country)
  • resilience (the capacity of the postal service to innovate, the diversification of its revenue streams and the implementation of sustainable development)

Study of the Universal Postal Union, also with a chapter on the Corona crisis and postal operators worldwide:

2020 Postal Development Report