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Author Topic: a company that people want to work for, travel with and use - a good mantra?  (Read 498 times)
grahame
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« on: May 11, 2018, 04:25:04 pm »

A big "Thank You" to GoAhead South Coast for the invite to their Stakeholder's conference today ... a very useful day of networking not only with them but with other stakeholders.

I learned a lot - took a lot of notes too.  Just sharing one - the mantra "We want to be a company that people want to work for, travel with and use".   Of course, perfection to such an ideal can never be achieved to 100%, but their marking director went on to explain how  they look to achieve this goal, how they monitor it and obtain feedback, and to give us some data indicating they're doing quite well.

Should companies in the rail industry also look to be "companies that people want to work for, travel with and use" or are there other factors that should take precedence?  And how close are rail industry companies in achieving these objectives?
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2018, 05:44:14 pm »

A big "Thank You" to GoAhead South Coast for the invite to their Stakeholder's conference today ... a very useful day of networking not only with them but with other stakeholders.

I learned a lot - took a lot of notes too.  Just sharing one - the mantra "We want to be a company that people want to work for, travel with and use".   Of course, perfection to such an ideal can never be achieved to 100%, but their marking director went on to explain how  they look to achieve this goal, how they monitor it and obtain feedback, and to give us some data indicating they're doing quite well.

Should companies in the rail industry also look to be "companies that people want to work for, travel with and use" or are there other factors that should take precedence?  And how close are rail industry companies in achieving these objectives?

In broad terms, from what I can tell, Ts & Cs, salaries etc especially for train drivers taking into account the nature of the work are pretty impressive/generous and there seem to be no shortage of applicants which would suggest that they at least have that right in terms of people wanting to work for them.

I'd suggest that in terms of people "wanting to travel with and use" you'd need to separate out commuters (don't have much choice, particularly in the South East) from leisure travellers and assess their priorities.

One thing for starters that the Rail Companies could do to make their customers "want to travel with them" is hugely improve their levels of Customer Service, I was reading earlier in the week that the Rail Industry is one of the least trusted by consumers, and given GWRs recent performance it's easy to see why - on the face of it issues such as communication, feedback, "you said we did" and a generally more customer focussed culture shouldn't be difficult to improve, given the will, but with virtual monopolies the motivation to go the extra mile is always lacking - take the lack of "Meet the Manager" meetings as just one example - you don't have to do it, you don't need to do it, but if you care about your customers, you damn well do it!!!

Graham I'd be interested in what the Go Ahead marketing bod said that his Business were doing to achieve this?
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2018, 06:13:09 pm »

Go Ahead in Plymouth and cornwall have a good reputation locally. Well certainly better than First and Stagecoach.

I was told they work on lower profit percentages than the other two to allow more investment in vehicles and staff etc.
They have very few older vehicles compared to the other two and the older vehicles have been refurbished inside and out.
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ellendune
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 08:28:20 pm »

In broad terms, from what I can tell, Ts & Cs, salaries etc especially for train drivers taking into account the nature of the work are pretty impressive/generous and there seem to be no shortage of applicants which would suggest that they at least have that right in terms of people wanting to work for them.

No shortage of applicants is one thing, but from what I hear on this page the problem is retention.  When training a driver is so costly (for a train less so for a bus) I could see a business case for GoAhead's approach. 

In my experience the T & Cs are only the visible face of th job. What often has more influence on retention is the management culture. This comes over as 'how you treat people'.  In many cases this does not cost the business much money (just being nice to people doesn't cost).  However if it affects rostering etc it could cost money. 

Very often if people are treated well and have enough to live comfortably they will not look for other opportunities that might pay better. Treat them badly and they might look around for alternatives. 
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2018, 08:36:30 am »

In broad terms, from what I can tell, Ts & Cs, salaries etc especially for train drivers taking into account the nature of the work are pretty impressive/generous and there seem to be no shortage of applicants which would suggest that they at least have that right in terms of people wanting to work for them.

No shortage of applicants is one thing, but from what I hear on this page the problem is retention.  When training a driver is so costly (for a train less so for a bus) I could see a business case for GoAhead's approach. 

In my experience the T & Cs are only the visible face of th job. What often has more influence on retention is the management culture. This comes over as 'how you treat people'.  In many cases this does not cost the business much money (just being nice to people doesn't cost).  However if it affects rostering etc it could cost money. 

Very often if people are treated well and have enough to live comfortably they will not look for other opportunities that might pay better. Treat them badly and they might look around for alternatives. 

If GWR treat their employees with the same contempt they use for their customers it's not surprising that they have a high turnover of staff, I did read on another forum that GWR are regarded as the "driver academy" by some other TOCs who "poach" their trained staff, although whether that's about management style/Ts & Cs/locations it's hard to say. It would be interesting to see the churn rates in GWR and other TOCs

In my experience management in public sector/quasi public sector organisations tends to be of a lower calibre when it comes to leadership and those who have ascended have done (sometimes, not always) based on seniority "Buggins turn" rather than ability, and once there are virtually immoveable unless there is some dreadful misconduct issue, although I think this is changing.

I guess a chunky salary (relatively speaking) and excellent Ts & Cs may be a factor in putting up with someone who is perceived to be a "bad" manager, or a bad manager may drive someone away, irrespective of the rewards involved - depends on the individual?

One thing that has always intrigued me - the differential in salaries between train drivers on the one hand and bus/coach/HGV drivers on the other, the former seem to do far better for what is (arguably) a much less stressful driving job, although I guess the power of the Trade Unions and historic BR pay scales may have something to do with it?
« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 08:44:20 am by TaplowGreen » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2018, 10:05:12 am »

Graham I'd be interested in what the Go Ahead marketing bod said that his Business were doing to achieve this?

A bodess - but that's a technicality.

Some of the things that struck me. A big emphasis was on staff - they're not just bus drivers, but customer relations people.  And making sure they were happy in their jobs.  Ensuring a sense of everyone working as a team.   Running services reliably and with clean vehicles.   Having a simple fare payment system.  Answering customer queries quickly.  Feedback systems to keep a constant eye on how things are going.  But summarising it like this does scant justice to all that was said; excellent presentation and a feeling that behind the scenes it really was going to be joined up just the presentation was. A great deal more in the talk as to just how reliability's achieved by working as closely as possible with the infrastructure operator, the use of a modern (British built for the most part) fleet,  an apprenticeship scheme that pays apprentices properly if they do a proper job, the use of independent surveyors to double check how they're doing. the reaching out to customers.

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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2018, 10:22:40 am »

Graham I'd be interested in what the Go Ahead marketing bod said that his Business were doing to achieve this?

A bodess - but that's a technicality.

Some of the things that struck me. A big emphasis was on staff - they're not just bus drivers, but customer relations people.  And making sure they were happy in their jobs.  Ensuring a sense of everyone working as a team.   Running services reliably and with clean vehicles.   Having a simple fare payment system.  Answering customer queries quickly.  Feedback systems to keep a constant eye on how things are going.  But summarising it like this does scant justice to all that was said; excellent presentation and a feeling that behind the scenes it really was going to be joined up just the presentation was. A great deal more in the talk as to just how reliability's achieved by working as closely as possible with the infrastructure operator, the use of a modern (British built for the most part) fleet,  an apprenticeship scheme that pays apprentices properly if they do a proper job, the use of independent surveyors to double check how they're doing. the reaching out to customers.



Thanks that's interesting - the "Customer Service is everybody's responsibility" is a huge step forward, needs to be from top to bottom, responding to feedback and queries speedily and comprehensively/meaningfully - just these points would be a great lesson for GWR!
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2018, 11:49:31 am »

If GWR treat their employees with the same contempt they use for their customers it's not surprising that they have a high turnover of staff, I did read on another forum that GWR are regarded as the "driver academy" by some other TOCs who "poach" their trained staff, although whether that's about management style/Ts & Cs/locations it's hard to say. It would be interesting to see the churn rates in GWR and other TOCs

In my opinion itís more about location than management style or T&Cís.  You can earn roughly the same money (less in some cases) based at expensive places to live such as Oxford, Reading and Paddington as you do in cheaper places such as Newcastle, Preston and Birmingham.  There are usually long waiting lists to make internal moves to the likes of Plymouth, Par and Penzance for the same reason.

GWR do not help themselves one bit by taking on trainee drivers who, whilst living local(ish) to their depot (less than an hour away is the general rule), have a Ďhomeí town where their friends and family are thatís far closer to another TOCís depot.  Many are off at the first opportunity.

A recruitment process that puts greater emphasis on people who have lived locally for most/all of their life would help to reduce the churn IMHO.  After all, it is an extremely good job with no shortage of applicants.
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richwarwicker
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2018, 12:30:53 pm »

Quote
One thing that has always intrigued me - the differential in salaries between train drivers on the one hand and bus/coach/HGV drivers on the other, the former seem to do far better for what is (arguably) a much less stressful driving job, although I guess the power of the Trade Unions and historic BR pay scales may have something to do with it?

Bus driver pay is very low round here.
Iím on a higher  hourly rate doing grocery home delivering for a supermarket than my bus driver friends at Plymouth Citybus (go ahead) for example
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2018, 10:19:06 am »

Bus driver pay is very low round here.
Iím on a higher  hourly rate doing grocery home delivering for a supermarket than my bus driver friends at Plymouth Citybus (go ahead) for example

I believe I was told First Kernow currently pay around £10 per hour for 'established' drivers.  Trainees start just under £8 per hour and that slightly increases over two years until they reach the established driver rate.
For the responsibility drivers take on, it's not great pay.
Trainees seem to start then rapidly leave once the reality of the 'system' gets to them (including bearing the burden of working many lates/weekends and bank holidays).
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2018, 10:24:09 am »

Bus driver pay is very low round here.
Iím on a higher  hourly rate doing grocery home delivering for a supermarket than my bus driver friends at Plymouth Citybus (go ahead) for example

I believe I was told First Kernow currently pay around £10 per hour for 'established' drivers.  Trainees start just under £8 per hour and that slightly increases over two years until they reach the established driver rate.
For the responsibility drivers take on, it's not great pay.
Trainees seem to start then rapidly leave once the reality of the 'system' gets to them (including bearing the burden of working many lates/weekends and bank holidays).

Gosh that's really low isn't it, around £20,000 a year?

What's the equivalent salary for a train driver in Cornwall?
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« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2018, 11:21:52 am »

I think HSS drivers are on around £56k, west drivers are on around £50k.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2018, 12:57:18 pm »

I think HSS drivers are on around £56k, west drivers are on around £50k.

Blimey. That's a helluva differential between driving jobs.
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« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2018, 01:22:17 pm »

I think HSS drivers are on around £56k, west drivers are on around £50k.

Blimey. That's a helluva differential between driving jobs.

Nothing compared with what Lewis Hamilton earns...  Wink
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« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2018, 02:34:05 pm »


Nothing compared with what Lewis Hamilton earns...  Wink

Not sure I want him driving my bus or train though.
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