Transforming the Tube into a world class service.
London was the first world city to boast a metro system. At the dawn of the 21st century, it was about to undergo a major political and organization change, including moving the engineering heart of this public service to private ownership. Added to these pressures was a network that many felt was under threat of disintegration due to historic decades of under-investment, unfavorable press and low levels of employee motivation. Communicating the Transport for London (TfL)’s engagement and commitment in the upcoming transformation was critical - or there was a real possibility that the London Underground (the Tube) could, quite literally, ground to a halt.
For an organization with a legacy of “command and control” style management and highly adversarial industrial relations, this was no simple task. Ogilvy PR had to shift attention from the perceptions of from micro-management and corrosive introspection to longer term issues of motivation, reputation building and creating an empowering leadership environment. It was time to focus on possibilities, rather than wallow in adversity.
London is one of the most vibrant, exciting, busiest cities in the world – and the LU exists to serve it. From this platform, a new vision of “A World Class Tube for a World Class City” was born. Strong and aspirational, it engendered pride in the organization and its role in making London the city it is. It also served as a compelling call to action to everyone involved with the Tube to help it to live up to its potential and its long traditions of public service.
Ogilvy PR’s strategy was a three-stage process. The first step was to gain employees support for the vision through workshops, presentations, and discovery session. Then, using the customer feedback as a tool, they had to convince them that the vision was realistic and achievable. Finally, they needed instill in employees their role in this vision and, by altering management style and vocabulary, equip them with the necessary skills to do this.
Following the engagement, TfL ran a major internal survey on employee satisfaction:
82% of all employees supported London Underground’s vision; 67% of all employees now understood how they can contribute to the vision. The survey showed that employee satisfaction and motivation levels had also improved: 76% of employees agreed that they felt satisfied with their job, which was an increase of 25% in two years.