Staff’s portable targets help rail firm boost performance

Rail operator First Great Western has improved its performance after
introducing a company-wide balanced scorecard which involves staff carrying
around their individual key targets.

The train operator introduced the scheme in October last year because the
company was under performing and suffering from poor morale after the Hatfield
Rail disaster in October 2000.

Clare Hannah, head of HR at First Great Western, said the company introduced
the corporate scorecard – split in to five areas, safety, performance,
customer, financial and people – to focus efforts to improve performance.

To ensure employees know how their roles sit with these objectives, the
firm’s 2,500 staff carry around three targets that link into their team’s and
the company’s scorecard.

For example, a team dispatcher’s targets would include making sure all
trains leave on time. Hannah said: "Morale fell because the company lost
its strategic focus after the Hatfield rail disaster. It started to focus on
getting each day and hoping the next would not be as bad."

Following the introduction of the balanced scorecard, the company is now the
second most punctual train operator in the country, with more than eight out of
10 trains arriving within 10 minutes of the scheduled time – up from around 60
per cent last summer.

In May, it achieved its highest customer satisfaction score of 90 per cent
in two years.

First Great Western is set to meet its people objective of increasing
employee commitment by 10 per cent to 70 per cent.

Hannah believes the balanced scorecard approach has increased the importance
of HR to the organisation.

"Employees need to know where the company is going and what their role
is. It has managed to get HR into boardroom thinking and has made the
department more prominent," she said.

By Paul Nelson

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