Case Study: National Express group
When National Express Group carried out its first workforce survey in 2003, it shared all the results with staff, warts and all. And with 59% of employees disagreeing with the statement, ‘I experience benefits being part of the group’, the results made uneasy reading. Nicola Marsden, director of communications at the public transport firm, headed up the survey. "While we’ve done some things, there are others that we are still trying to get to grips with. If we can’t do it we have to get back to our staff and say why," she says. As a result of the poll, the company brought in a new incentive scheme to reward employees considered a cut above the rest.
"Once a year, the group will give an excellence award. The prize is £3,000 for an individual and £5,000 for a team, so they are quite chunky prizes." Another new addition is a booklet of voluntary benefits deals, where staff can pick up discounts on optical care, bikes and healthcare.
But National Express still had to turn down some requests. "Something we are still trying to address is that our staff would like to be able to travel on our services for free and that’s something that came out of the survey quite strongly. "It’s just not as simple as people might think because of the tax implications, so it’s not something we’ve cracked quite yet." The firm sent a four page questionnaire out to the home addresses of all of UK employees (80% of workers are drivers, with no PC access), and got a 36% response rate.
"In the lead up to that, we did about 20 focus groups up and down the country, across the operations, covering the most senior managers down to the most front facing staff. The sessions very much informed the questions which we put into the questionnaire."