How Omniva manages their Christmas parcel mayhem without losing in service quality

No parcel left behind – delivering all holiday shipments by early Christmas Eve is the annual promise that Omniva makes to their clients.

Omniva is the national logistics company in Estonia. With over 300 parcel machines and around 200 post offices across the country, they are the first choice for most Estonians for shipping Christmas gifts and cards to their clients, friends and family members.

For many years, it has been a holiday tradition for Omniva office employees to postpone all corporate meetings, roll up their sleeves and join the frontline workforce at the parcel sorting centers and post offices. To keep track of these extra shifts, Omniva employees log in to the Zelos Team Management app, more commonly used for managing contingent workforce.

Omniva office employees in the parcel sorting center.
Omniva office employees in the parcel sorting center.

We asked a few questions about this annual employee experience from Hannamay Lagemaa, HR partner at Omniva Estonia

What is the extra busy season like for Omniva employees?

While the volume of work is extremely high for us in December, we use this busy season as a learning opportunity for the whole team. Having our office employees involved in frontline activities gives them a precious first-hand experience of our processes.

Doing something completely different away from your desk is both refreshing and educational. We meet new colleagues and learn what actually happens to a parcel between first handoff and final delivery.

So you send your office staff to the frontlines for Christmas?

Yes. Nothing is more important to us during Christmas than getting 100% of the parcels delivered on time.

We set up a friendly competition where office employees can form teams and compete with each other on who contributes the most extra shifts to the frontline activities. We create an open schedule with shifts for pickup, and actively promote participation throughout the organization. 

The most common tasks are parcel sorting, filling parcel machines, home deliveries, call center work and assistance at post offices. These are jobs that everyone in our company can do, and even our CEO picks up shifts. 

How do you use the Zelos Team Management app to manage this project?

The app is the easiest way for employees to quickly pick up the extra jobs that they can do. We used to run the project from a shared spreadsheet when volumes were much lower, but now it would be impossible. We had 390 extra shifts done by 118 employees over the course of a single month. We’re all much happier with actual software to keep track of this. Christmas at Omniva is a fun way of getting it done together, and struggling with spreadsheets has never been on our wishlist.

Zelos also lets the teams see their current score and ranking against other teams. While there is no major reward for the winners, a live leaderboard is still a great motivation to pick up a few extra shifts just to beat your favorite colleagues.

Can you explain the game rules in more detail?

The competition is between teams of four or more people. Every time a team member completes an additional task, they contribute points for their team. 

Once the season is over, we all meet up to celebrate and have snacks and cake. All participants get acknowledged, and the teams with the highest point score are awarded with large gift baskets to share. We also give out extra achievement prizes, for example for delivering parcels in extreme weather conditions.

The conversations at this event are always priceless, as we now share so many exciting experiences and memories from the collective effort. 

I believe we’ve successfully turned the peak season around for us. It could be the most stressful experience for everyone in our company. But instead, it’s a wonderful time for bonding that creates a major sense of collective achievement for all of our staff.