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Engagement on the Orient Express

March 17, 2011

According to an article in People Management this month, ‘bonuses for engagement and travel incentives assist transformation’ for those working for the upmarket travel company, Orient Express. According to their HR Director, Sara Edwards, who started working for Orient Express in 2009, an ad hoc HR strategy existed but a more targeted Worldwide strategy was required.

Edwards appears to have adhered to one of the key principles of employee engagement – listening to the employee voice. She travelled for three months around the globe to meet many of the Orient Express employees and listen to them in order to gather information on what changes the employees wanted and needed.

As a result of her journey meeting employees across the business, a talent strategy was developed which focused on employee engagement issues. Among the changes made, were the following: e-learning was introduced, along with consistent appraisals and blanket IT training to ensure all employees had basic skills to access these services. In addition, managers’ bonuses were also tied to employee engagement, based on feedback from the people they manage.

The article reported an increase in employee satisfaction levels from the first quarter of 2010 to the last quarter, achieving a 90% employee satisfaction score. It had also been found that staff turnover slightly decreased. However, despite these positive results, it is clear that for these implemented changes it is early days; it may be that greater improvements are seen in the months to come with regards to employee engagement levels as the strategy filters through and becomes embedded throughout the global organisation.

What is clear from this article in People Management is that employee engagement is, rightly so, top of the agenda for many organisations and that positive changes can happen as a result, especially when employees are listened to and their views are taken into account when developing the strategies that affect them in their jobs.

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