Case study: Network Rail staff signal change
Network Rail, which manages the UK’s rail infrastructure, has measured engagement since it took over Railtrack five years ago.
Bob Hughes, talent and employee engagement manager, says: “We [effectively] needed to build a new company and change the culture so that we created a safe, reliable and affordable railway. The measure of employee engagement gave us a measure of the improvement in our company culture.”
The organisation uses the Gallup Q12 poll across its 33,000 UK staff, a process designed specifically to measure engagement. In 2007, its employee engagement score increased by 5% and the number of managers considered to be in the top quartile, who generate the highest scores, increased to 22%.
“In terms of encouraging people to be engaged, we reward our best people. Some people say they’re already good, so why bother? But if you invest in the best, the payback will be greater,” says Hughes.
Last year, for instance, its top 300 managers were invited to a two-day coaching programme.
Learning and development is an important part of Network Rail’s approach to improving the entire organisation’s culture and performance.
Hughes reports that the engagement scores of people who have attended company training programmes, such as those provided by the Centre for High Performance Development, are much higher. “We are making it visible to people that we care about improving engagement,” he says.