Winner, Gold Award, Master Driver – National Express West Midlands
People recognise National Express’ brand and think of us as a public transport company. But we think of ourselves as a people business. We employ thousands of people who help us move millions of customers every day. Our drivers are the biggest proportion of our workforce. They are also our most valuable asset. Our Master Driver programme recognises the challenges our drivers overcome every day. It improves their skills, increases their engagement and rewards excellence. This programme is unique within the public transport sector and is delivering a proud, more engaged workforce and a safer, better service to our customers. Nick Denton, West Midlands Traffic Commissioner, says: “It is great to see the company developing such a positive training programme for all of its drivers. Master Driver recognises and rewards their skills.” The Master Driver programme is integral in improving the reward, recognition, support and development of our drivers. Master Drivers are already demonstrating safer driving, they are more engaged and most importantly, they feel valued. We have created a desirable training programme that our drivers want to join. Increased employee engagement will help us retain more highly trained and engaged drivers who are happier and safer on the roads.
The judges noted the huge impact that the Master Driver has had on raising driving standards, and importantly, with a direct effect on passengers travelling on exceptionally well driven buses. The company has created a scheme that its bus drivers want to join to improve their skills and be recognised for their exemplary driving and great customer service. This is the essence of a cultural change.
Winner, Silver Award, Cultural change journey – Oxford Bus Company
4 years ago, Oxford Bus Company began a progressive journey of Cultural Change. This began in mid-2015, after the departure of a long-serving Managing Director and declining morale. This detailed programme has included everything from manager development, departmental restructures, an overhaul of the training programme, depot moves, recognition and development investment, to name just a few. We are now starting to see the fruits of this work in improved driver morale, reduced sickness and turnover, and improved scores in independent customer surveys. As the Chinese proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” What could have easily been relegated to the “too hard” category has been pursued with tenacity and consistency.
The silver winner produced a scheme which the judges admired for making changes throughout the business.
Winner, Bronze Award, West Wellbeing – Stagecoach West
We believe a change was needed, to the harsh rule driven industry we work in, to show our employees we care and will support them through their personal journeys. Our Wellbeing Strategy has been amired by other local employers we have networked with. This has taken time and investment but we firmly believe we are now a better employer who offers an excellent range of support for all our employees. We know this change of approach and understanding can lead to a 9% reduction in staff turnover.
The judges liked the way this scheme was the personal initiative of the MD and is aimed at providing health and wellbeing support to anyone in the business who needs it.
Finalist, Journey Makers – First Bus
Journey Makers is a cultural change programme which aims to equip, engage and empower our front line teams to do the right thing for our customers. It focuses on behavioural impact and fosters good communication and collaboration. The idea for Journey Makers was born from what customers were telling us about our performance. The news wasn’t good; customers weren’t happy, with one of the key reasons being poor interactions with our drivers. A key aim of Journey Makers is to help colleagues, particularly drivers, to be more self-aware and understand how their behaviours can impact on customers. Every part of the Journey Makers programme is about having a positive impact on customers by helping colleagues to have better interactions with them, and with each other. At its heart, Journey Makers is all about emphasising how it’s everyone’s responsibility to take ownership of their own performance, particularly around how they deal with customers. The programme’s strapline is ‘You can make the difference’ and is the key message promoted through all courses, champion activity and communication campaigns under the Journey Makers banner.
Finalist, Better bus drivers for London – Go-Ahead London
As the biggest bus company in the capital, Go-Ahead London (GAL) employs approximately 6,100 drivers from 16 locations. The company has invested in ‘cradle to grave’ in-house driver education in various guises for nearly a quarter of a century and it was therefore a logical step when our parent company sought and attained Employer Provider (EP) status under the Government’s apprenticeship scheme. GAL’s driver apprenticeship programme has seen the business review how it recruits, educates and inducts new colleagues into the industry with a view to ultimately creating a high- quality driver. Four key ingredients are applied, as follows: (1) enhanced customer service; (2) improved education; (3) increased performance and (4) fewer accidents. The company also believes this approach will deliver improved driver retention and greater levels of employee engagement. The company’s programme, the first of its kind in London, is underpinned on dialogue with, and listening to, existing staff. GAL encouraged feedback in order to benchmark the previous driver training experience against what has subsequently been developed. In doing so, we sought to ascertain what could be added to the experience, especially with the benefit of hindsight.
Finalist, Level 2 bus driver apprenticeship – Stagecoach UK Bus
Since 2016 key Stagecoach UK Bus stakeholders have been working with Interserve Learning & Employment (ILE) to design, develop and implement the new L2 Passenger Transport Bus Driver Apprenticeship Standard. This training initiative supports an open and inviting recruitment and career development programme which enables increased employee engagement and better working practices. The L2 Passenger Transport Apprenticeship was designed by employers, for employers as part the 2017 Apprenticeship reforms. Transport Operators have been reluctant to introduce the apprenticeship due to a number of anticipated challenges including: 20% off the job element, Workforce engagement and Anticipated costs. Stagecoach and ILE are the first employer/training provider to implement the L2 Passenger Transport Bus Driver Apprenticeship. Significant investment, time, resource and commitment has gone into ensuring that the apprenticeship is successful. We are leading the industry and want to ensure that all Bus Drivers have the same quality training and are fully equipped to complete their roles safely with high levels of customer service. The success of our pilot programmes means that by January 2020 any new recruit non-PCV license holders joining any of our 14 English Operating Companies will have the opportunity to join this apprenticeship programme.