EX lessons from the railroad

By Ms. Sarah Andrews, CCXP posted 8 days ago


How often is your organization gathering feedback from employees? Is it via one long survey annually & a short survey quarterly? If so, that’s a great first step!

After you’ve gathered feedback you should put together an action plan. Including:
📊Reviewing the results – both the data & comments – analyzing it by department, tenure, etc.
🔎Identifying themes & patterns in the data – highlighting successes to celebrate & improvement opportunities
👨‍👨‍👧‍👦Sharing the summarized results with your team & gathering their input on key priorities & desired outcomes
🗺Developing a roadmap, based upon your team’s insight, that outlines next steps – including a communication plan, cross-functional collaboration activities, pilots for new processes, & additional ways to listen to employees

Last week I was in Omaha, Nebraska (a stop on our adventure to visit all 48 states before our oldest son goes to college), while we were there we visited Kenefick Park. It is home to two of the largest locomotives ever built – the Centennial (the most powerful diesel-electric locomotive) & Big Boy (the world's largest steam locomotive). The park was named for John Cooper Kenefick (aka Mr. K), he spent 40 years leading the Union Pacific Railroad. He saw them through the deregulation of the railroad, computerization, multiple mergers, & innovated the railroad for massive freight.

As I was walking around the park, I read this: “Mr. K operated on the belief that people are the railroad’s most important asset.” ❣
This wasn’t an empty promise, posted on a shiny sign in the hallways, he truly believed it. During his time at Union Pacific, Mr. K:
🚂Built the first Union Pacific HR department
🚂Created the first recruiting team
🚂Developed the first training & management track program
🚂Conducted the first survey to gather employee opinions on company culture & measure morale
🚂Started an alcohol treatment program for employees

Here is an excerpt from his retirement speech: “The railroad is made up of 90% men & women & 10% iron. The railroad is uniquely a people organization. It is the people who made this a great railroad for the past 100 years & will keep it a great railroad for the next 100.” 💯

As you head into your annual employee engagement survey season, consider taking a page out of Mr. K’s playbook & follow his action plan.