Increasing Productivity by 19% in 30 days at Pitney Bowes

Evelyn Cools
August 31, 2023
Increasing Productivity by 19% in 30 days at Pitney Bowes

“With Butterfly, the limitations of traditional feedback mechanisms are no longer an obstacle in providing front-line employees with what they need and want.”

Increasing Productivity by 19% in 30 days at Pitney Bowes
Fritz Aldrine
Vice President, Employee & Labor Relations
  • 19% increase in units per hour within a period of 30 days
  • Improved satisfaction, productivity, and overall experience for the multilingual workforce
  • Higher participation rates leading to more representative samples of worker feedback

The Challenge of Understanding the Frontline Worker

Looking at the landscape of modern corporate structures, it is common for frontline managers to oversee dozens of people at the same time. Managers can’t stay in regular contact with every single person, and language barriers can prohibit direct communication altogether. The nuances of a warehouse or manufacturing facility make it even tougher for regular communication as workers are not sat in front of a computer and oftentimes do not speak English as their first language.

This is a problem that is all too familiar for Pitney Bowes. As Fritz Aldrine, VP of Employee Relations at Pitney Bowes mentions, “obtaining feedback from frontline employees presents certain obstacles, such as limited access to technology in their working environment and a lack of time due to their busy schedules.” In addition to these logistical hurdles, “frontline workers may be hesitant to provide honest feedback if they feel that their identity will be revealed, particularly when it comes to sensitive issues such as workplace harassment or discrimination.” One of the traditional methods of receiving feedback has been through annual surveys, however with the dynamic nature of the modern working world, this can mean information is quickly outdated.

A Modern Feedback Solution

Given the challenges around traditional feedback models and workforce churn, Pitney Bowes was looking for a convenient and efficient way to understand their employees’ concerns. They have begun leveraging the Butterfly solution, a tool that allows for employees to provide feedback through bi-weekly pulse surveys, which are sent to employees via their mobile devices. The survey takes an average of 50 seconds to complete, and employees have a 7-day window to respond, whether they are at work or at home. This approach allows for real-time feedback and enables organizations to gather frequent feedback on workers’ sentiments, which helps identify and address issues in a timely manner.

One of the major benefits of this approach is that it reaches frontline teams wherever they are working from, increasing participation rates and leading to more representative samples of worker feedback. This dynamic approach to feedback allows employees to provide anonymous feedback, which helps to better understand and address the problems that have been identified.

The Results of this New Approach

Like many warehouse operations, one of the biggest challenges Pitney Bowes faces is that English is not the primary language for many of its workers. Kim Tarpey, Senior Employee Experience Leader at Pitney Bowes mentions “we value the diversity of our workforce and recognize the unique challenges it presents. We have sought to embrace this and have leveraged a solution that allows employees (regardless of their first language) to provide feedback. Through the Butterfly solution, our employees are now able to read and respond to questions and communication in their native language, leading to improved satisfaction, productivity, and overall experience for our multilingual workforce.” In the midst of a highly competitive labor market, leveraging this kind of technology opens up the possibility to recruit from a wider talent pool while simultaneously increasing job satisfaction for current employees.

From an organizational perspective, real-time feedback and trend tracking help identify areas of improvement in how specific departments or teams are managed. As Tarpey states, “we have seen a notable increase in engagement from frontline team members regarding unresolved issues with their production leaders. We are actively addressing these challenges through things like conflict management, employee motivation, critical thinking, and the importance of emotional intelligence within their site.”

The feedback results also showed the need for an Operation Manager to be replaced. Once this action was taken, Tarpey mentions “in one of our sites, the feedback results showed the need for an Operation Manager to be replaced and some process changes to be made. Once these actions were taken, we saw a 19% increase in units per hour within a period of 30 days.”

In addition, the use of this tool has prompted holistic operation changes due to a deeper understanding of employee workload concerns. As Aldrine states, since Pitney Bowes was able to detect these concerns early, they could take immediate action and “introduce a new schedule offering, which resulted in a reduction in instances of lack of work and an increase in the number of units processed during the 2nd and 3rd shifts and the latter half of the week.”

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