Case Study – Developing Employee Voice at Network Rail

Network Rail owns and maintains Britain’s railway through a workforce of around 38,000 employees spread across depots, stations and offices. We are responsible for more than 20,000 miles of track, signalling, bridges, tunnels, level crossings and stations. Our organisation is striving for “A better railway for a better Britain”.

Our people are very committed to the railway and their important role in serving the British public. Our size and geographical spread of employees is vast and covers all corners of England, Wales and Scotland. We also operate a 24/7 network and our busiest times are when the rest of the country is relaxing, be it overnight, bank holidays or even Christmas Day.

Challenge

Since 2013, Network Rail has carried out a biennial employee engagement survey called Your Voice. This is designed to give everyone an opportunity to give their views on the company, their job, their manager and other key aspects of working for Network Rail.

Our participation levels in the survey hover around 50%.

Following the survey, teams are encouraged to agree and work on action plans to jointly develop improvements across the business. Whilst there were pockets of great work going on, due to the size and geographical spread of the organisation, we realised that individuals found it difficult to recognise that action was being taken. This reduced their trust in the organisation and their belief that their voice was being heard, which in turn deterred them from completing future surveys. Even where action was being taken and publicised, individuals found it particularly hard to link these changes to the feedback they had provided via the Your Voice survey.

The Plan

We realised we needed to make the actions that were occurring more visible to all employees. We also hoped that as actions were shared more widely, this would provide momentum for more actions to take place across the organisation.

Our Employee Engagement team joined forces with our Internal Communications team to devise and plan a campaign that would achieve these two outcomes.

The key driver for the campaign was Question 45 from the “Your Voice” survey which asks respondents how positively they – “believe action will be taken as a result of the problems identified in this survey”. For the past two survey cycles response to this question had remained static at only 37% positive. We knew that acting on the Your Voice results and communicating these changes to employees would help ensure employees would realise the organisation is listening and that would increase their levels of engagement.

We designed a campaign showing employees that the company listens and reacts to their feedback – emphasising that improvements are being made as a direct result of their input via the Your Voice survey.

The campaign was to be delivered nationally, have an impact locally and aimed to reach the majority of employees including those at the frontline. The messaging used was to be positive, upbeat and not only raise belief that action was being taken on problems identified in the survey, but to gather momentum at all levels of the organisation for more action to occur.

We targeted the campaign via a multi channeled approach, adorning the company’s 11 busiest sites with printed collateral – reaching c.11,000 employees in locations including Milton Keynes, Cardiff, Birmingham and Glasgow along with using digital channels for the more remote, harder to reach individuals.

We agreed on the strap-line ‘You Said. We Did’.

We knew we needed to get our people involved in the campaign and show other employees that their voices really did matter. We decided to create attention grabbing messages using real quotes from our employees, alongside their photos and to help make the connection to the Your Voice survey expanded our strap-line to: You Said. We Did. Your Voice in action.

We planned both print and digital collateral for the campaign – including posters to be used across offices and depots, banners for elevated walkways, desktop calendars and action planners. Alongside this, online material would include digital posters and web banners, and a dedicated Yammer group #YouSaidWeDid for employees to share their stories in their own words – their voice.
Regular weekly activity and content was created to drive continuous engagement and to continue to provide the links for employees of the actions that were being taken.

The Campaign

We had the support of a route managing director who fronted the campaign from a leadership perspective. He was able to gain the support of his senior colleagues by asking them to undertake a variety of supportive activities.

Another key part of this campaign was the opportunity it presented to bring together the HR and Internal Communications teams within Network Rail. While these teams work collaboratively in the national teams, the experience in the routes and business areas before this campaign began had been reported as ‘mixed’. By asking local communications teams and HR teams to use the collateral provided, looking for and publicising local stories, they were drawn together through a shared purpose.

Officially launched at the end of October 2016, a continuous programme of weekly activity and campaign content was delivered. This was supported by a robust plan to maintain momentum through bursts of news stories and videos. The most prominent element of the campaign was the posters, which were hung throughout our 11 busiest offices. This series of storytelling posters highlighted employees from all levels of the organisation alongside their feedback request, beside a senior colleague explaining how this feedback had been acted on. This truly brought the central strapline of “You Said” – “We did” to life.

Supporting these posters was a series of films highlighting in more detail how action had been taken in response to the issues raised in Your Voice which created a ‘mini-series’ that built throughout the campaign.

 

You can read the full Network Rail Case Study below which includes the outcomes of the the #YouSaidWeDid campaign.

 

 

The Your Voice 2017 survey is scheduled to go live in the Autumn. We are now developing an additional campaign, which is designed to maintain the momentum created by the You Said. We Did. campaign which continues to builds on the importance of employee voice.

Our message is clear, We Want You To Talk To Us, We Value Your Suggestions And We Are Listening.

Katy Downes, Senior Engagement Manager – Network  Rail

Image courtesy of Network Rail

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