June 27 – July 7, marks the first ever Rail Week, driven by (pun intended) the Young Rail Professionals. This dedicated week has been designed to attract a young, skilled workforce to the Rail sector in an attempt to reconnect young people with an industry that has seen its attraction decline, despite a global investment boom.
The initiative, backed by Network Rail, TfL, the Department for Transport and the National Skills Academy for Rail, asks for people who currently work in the industry to inspire the next generation by showing off what they do via #mycareerinrail. A number of events are taking place, promoting the career options and opportunities within the industry. They have also teamed up with Newcastle University to understand the perceptions of rail and rail careers from people not already working in rail.
From the inside
Perceptions and the experience of work were a big focus of our recent roundtable event “Employee Value Proposition and Competitive Insights: Transport, Tourism and Leisure”. The aim of the day was to allow our clients from the transport, tourism and leisure industries to discuss everyday battles, obstacles and successes with like-minded peers. Our diverse attendees were asked two particular questions:
- What is your employee value proposition?
- How can your organisation transform competitive intelligence into tangible actions?
Employee value proposition vs reality
The Employee Value Proposition can be described simplistically as the reason talent would want to work for you over your competitors.
Despite the fact that the seminar group was so varied, it did not take long to see that many of their everyday challenges were the same. For these companies, often employing a large workforce, a key question was: “How can I close the gap between my Employee Value Proposition and reality?”
As expressed by the various HR personnel in the room, a company may possess an untouchable employer brand, and yet, if that branding does not match the reality of employment within that organisation, a psychological contract between employer and employee has been breached.
For the larger organisations this original question sparked further debate: “How can I explain to my manager/board/shareholders the difference between Employer Branding and the Employee Value Proposition?” This was answered beautifully by one attendee who simply stated:
“My EVP is the promise I make to my people. The Employer Brand is how I communicate that promise.”
Both this promise and its communication can be monitored and tracked through brand perception mapping (whether that brand is internal or external).
Turning research into results
In group discussions of how HR personnel can utilise competitive insights for meaningful action, questions quickly turned from the strategic to the tactical:
- “I’m so focussed on my day-to-day activities, how can I keep sight of the overarching strategic vision?”
- “Who is my talent going to, and why?”
- “What are my competitors doing differently?”
“Leveraging insights” can sound like a generic, or perhaps even loaded term. However, it can be as simple as conducting some research at your own desk: into your own employee lifecycle, and who your competitors’ employees and customers are. It is only by assessing a topic or an issue from all angles that organisations can gain insight into what they are doing well or badly, and where further research is needed. Chances are you already have more than enough information to go on. By combining employee engagement survey data with multiple data sources it’s possible not only to predict employee behaviour, but define who is best to recruit and likely to be the best fit in the long term. Applications of big data can give real insights into the employee, for example, which employees are at risk of leaving?
Key takeaway of the day: Employer branding is the window into an organisation. Social media, word-of-mouth, branding, and a mobile workforce all feed into a perception. If that perception does not align with reality, word will get out.
So it would seem that Rail Week definitely has the right focus. The Transport & Logistics sector is facing exciting times, with nearly three fifths of all transportation and logistics CEOs anticipating an increased amount of cross-sector movement (PwC). Rail Week is a worthy step in the right direction, aiming to address the anticipated skills gaps in the rail (and potentially the wider transport sector), and inspire our next generation of employees, in the right ways.
What to hear about the day or any upcoming events? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org