Background

Network Rail runs, maintains and develops Britain’s tracks, signalling system, rail bridges, tunnels, level crossings, viaducts and 18 key stations. AOC is a preferred supplier for team building interventions for the organisation.

The Requirement

AOC were invited to develop and facilitate a team building intervention for 80 members of a key department whose members were based in offices across the country. The department had recently undergone restructuring and had a new management team as well as a high number of staff who had transferred from different parts of the organisation.  Before restructuring, the department performed well in the Network Rail annual employee engagement survey. However scores had fallen dramatically after the changes. The senior manager of the department was keen to increase levels of commitment and create a high performing team.

Team Building TNA

AOC undertook a diagnostic assessment to identify the exact requirements for the team building intervention. This included speaking to all members of the management team and a cross section of staff to ascertain their views on what was working well in the department and where they felt improvements could be made. In addition AOC contacted a sample of key internal customers of the department to gain their perceptions. They also reviewed the employee engagement data.

AOC identified as part of the needs analysis that since the management team of the department were also new to their roles, they needed to be greater cohesion amongst this sub-team as a building block to high performance in the department. In particular the management team had not defined a clear vision for the department or discussed in depth how they would operate as a team. Certain members of the management team knew each other very well whilst others were new to the department.

We recommended that before holding a departmental-wide team building event, they facilitated a team building intervention with the management team. This would then be followed by an event for the entire team of 80.

AOC designed the two team building interventions to ensure that they appealed to all learning styles. They included the opportunity for everyone to participate, to discuss issues freely as well as to take part in a range of team activities to help bond the team as a whole. Both the management team and staff also undertook a team team psychometric profile which they shared as part of the interventions.

Delivery of the Team Interventions

Both the interventions were held off-site in Network Rail’s training centre and involved an overnight stay. The same facilitator team from AOC facilitated both events. The outputs of the management team intervention were a clear vision for the department and a set of business priorities which could be clearly communicated to team members. The management team also spent time discussing the individual psychometric reports that they had undertaken. This helped create a better understanding of individual’s preferences. AOC had identified that there was some conflict between individuals in the team and facilitated an open discussion of the issues. This helped clear the air and the team left the event with greater consensus on the priorities for the whole team going forward.

The team building intervention for the whole department was then held the following month. 80 people attended the two day event. The session began with the management team sharing the outputs of their own team building day. They and all the participants also shared and discussed the implications of the priorities for the department.

Participants also shared their team profiles with their functional team members. This helped increase awareness and understanding of people’s strengths and preferences. AOC had designed a fun team building activity in which all 80 delegates participated. There was also an evening activity and meal. The next day participants worked cross-functionally to share and discuss the issues they faced and to increase understanding of each of the teams within the department. Everyone contributed to a departmental team action plan which served as the basis for improvement actions going forward.

Evaluation

The team building interventions were evaluated in a number of ways. In the learner reaction to the interventions, 98% of participants scored the events good and very good. However the key measures of success were the changes in behaviours that were evidenced via a follow-up survey six months later and a marked increase in levels of employee engagement. The results put the department in the upper quartile for the organisation.