Culture Change And Continuous Improvement Programme

Govia Thameslink Railway

“The session and workshops have been highly interactive and thought-provoking. I would highly recommend Quirk Solutions as they have been fantastic in facilitating, running and delivering all of these workshops and programmes for us over the last couple of years. They’re a great company to work with and have been really powerful in making sure we have changed our culture and embedded our new behaviours.”

– Tim McCarthy
People Development Manager for Govia Thameslink Railway

We work with many organisations that have the will to change and transform their culture but have no idea how or where to start. A change, by definition, requires a new system and the motivation of your team to drive it.

socializing your plans

Since 2019, we have been working with Govia Thameslink Railway on their ambitious Cultural Change and Continuous Improvement Programme. In that time, the leadership team recognised that their leadership skills also needed to adapt alongside their change plans. As is often the case, a legacy culture of outdated leadership behaviours was impacting the team’s effectiveness, cohesion, and workplace happiness. The majority of that team recognised that they needed to change, and there was an appetite for a different way of working, but no one could work out ‘how’.

“Quirk worked with me and the team as partners, guiding and facilitating – not directing – our strategy. It was ultimately our strategy and Quirk helped us get there. We got to a solid outcome with a clear strategy, consistent messaging and a powerful framework of which we made decisions. This was only made possible because of the close partnership with Quirk. They asked us the tough questions, stimulated new thinking and really pushed us to get focused on the right things. All in all, an excellent programme of work that added huge value to our business and our culture.”

– Danielle Burton
Training & Development Manager for Govia Thameslink Railway

Train and solve


Culture Change for Legacy Brands

Cultural change doesn’t just happen at the top of an organisation. To be properly embedded, leadership and their teams both need to understand what this change will look like and how it will affect them and their role within the organisation.

The cascade doesn’t happen by itself, nor can we expect leadership to try and drive the change all by themselves. This is part and parcel of our Q-Suito® approach, where we ensure as broad a group of individuals are involved as possible – as it is this ‘powerful coalition’ that makes for change success.

What Does ‘Good’ Culture Change Look Like?

Change cannot happen without a vision for what it will look like and the strategies needed to achieve it. This vision is fleshed out at the macro and micro levels, allowing issues to surface and be dealt with well before the launch period.

A lot of time was dedicated to the delegates reflecting on what we had discussed and then sharing with others what they felt it meant to them, specifically how it would change their thinking or approach. We have found this to be one of the key success criteria of implementing change – encouraging the individuals to accept they need to change. It is only through having the time for group discussions, individual reflection and then group sharing that this can be brought to bear.

good culture

Our Process for Implementing Culture Change At Govia Thameslink Railway In Detail

The sessions with GTR were both face-to-face and virtual. The face-to-face culture change sessions we ran were 3 days long: an intensive 2-day offsite, followed by a pause of 2-3 weeks to allow genuine reflection, ‘soak time’ and to develop their thoughts and then we ran the 3rd day. For the more recent workshops, these have been 3.5-hour sessions, delivered entirely virtually.

culture change

For the first culture change sessions, we did three of the 3-day packages across a 3 month period to capture all the staff within the shift patterns they had. For the virtual sessions, these have occurred every week for a 6-week period (the same session each time, but run over 6 sessions to capture everyone on shift patterns and the volume of staff being trained – c.120 people in total)

Teaching by us was conducted through videos for them to watch and comment on. We created breakout rooms and smaller group discussions to enable sharing back with the group as a whole and a space for expressing their own views. We encouraged them to develop their own ‘story’ and to build a case study: virtual sessions and online surveys before and after were conducted so that we could measure the change accordingly.

Supporting Legacy Brands Through Culture Change

Transformation is impossible without the full understanding, motivation and support of your teams. The senior leadership of GTR were aware of the work we had done with similar traditional legacy organisations with a long-served staff in heavy industry. The important culture change work with Bel Valves, for instance. They felt we had the experience and credibility to deliver the change they were seeking.

We are thrilled to continue supporting Govia Thameslink Railway with the solutions outlined above, further development sessions with other teams within the organisation, and the future packages they have requested at the end of this year.

All of these initiatives will support the change desired by the leadership teams at Govia Thameslink Railway. Many thanks to the teams themselves that have worked together with great gusto to help create a new improved culture that will anchor and drive the change needed forward.