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The rail company that got culture back on track


Great Western Railway’s transformed employee culture saw their HR team win the Vana Resourcing-sponsored ‘HR Impact’ category at the 2017 Personnel Today Awards earlier this week.

One of seven major organisations in contention for this award, Great Western Railway’s HR function were tasked with putting the cultural foundations in place ahead of a huge investment programme and against the backdrop of a highly unionised environment and history of employment tribunals. Through creating a ‘colleague lifecycle’, greater attention was paid to staff experience with critical touchpoints such as recruitment, retention, learning and development, performance management, employee opinion and customer service all addressed.

Consequently, by April 2017, 97% of managers had completed a performance review (a major increase over three years), £1m was saved through a new learning and development programme, employment tribunals were down, and engagement across the company’s 6000 employees was up. Significantly, last year GWR achieved a record customer satisfaction score of 84% – its highest ever.

The HR Impact award recognises teams or individuals who have ‘added value to their organisation through an innovative, clever or determined solution’, and GWR’s HR team are worthy winners. They were presented with their award by Vana co-director, Debbie Flowers, with comedian Sue Perkins presiding over the ceremony (pictured below).

Over 800 HR professionals gathered on 21 November for the Personnel Today Awards – widely acknowledged as one of the biggest nights in the industry’s calendar – and it was the second consecutive year that Vana Resourcing have supported this event. It was an enjoyable evening with Vana once again joined by a number of their clients to share the occasion.

“The PT Awards night was an inspirational night for the HR industry,” said Jo White, co-director of Vana Resourcing. “It was particularly great to see Selina Rothery of CBRE recognised for her innovative approach, emotional intelligence and first-class sector knowledge, and to see her named as the Emerging HR Leader of the Year.”