Delivering service plan and developing an enhanced performance culture




Arriva is one of the largest transport services organisations in Europe, delivering more than 2.2 billion passenger journeys every year. The organisation had been successfully growing over a number of years, through a combination of acquisition and expansion into a number of new
European countries, resulting in an organisation spanning 14 countries, with some 55,000 employees. This scale of growth, combined with the acquisitions and different country cultures had resulted in a lack of alignment across the organisation.

During this time, the group had been acquired by Deutsche Bahn AG, a leading worldwide provider of transport and logistics services, operating in more than 130 countries. This new ownership relationship was also causing some further tension in areas such as process flow and outlook.

Against this backdrop, a number of changes to the senior leadership population were being planned over a 2 year period and the Executive Committee were passionate about ensuring that despite these changes Arriva’s success DNA could be bottled and leveraged for the future.



Arriva knew that if they were to successfully leverage their organisational culture to create future successes they firstly had to understand the inhibitors and drivers which had delivered their current
successes and then to use those insights to create a new set of company values which would steer them towards future growth.

Our first objective therefore was to complete a Culture Consultancy organisation culture assessmentTM across the organisation to identify the existing organisational culture, including the
enablers and inhibitors both at a group level and at an individual country/operating company level.

Our second objective was to work with the Executive Committee and Senior Leadership population to define the ‘Arriva Way’ and agree a new set of company values, based on the insight from the
culture assessment.

  • Cultural Assessment
  • Define new organisational values

We agreed an approach with the sponsor based around leveraging existing insight wherever possible and a light touch approach to insight gathering, optimising peoples’ time and using internal resource
wherever possible. We therefore started with gathering and analysing any existing data which was available and which we could use to inform the assessment.

Following this initial analysis, we conducted quantitative and qualitative research with the leadership population across the entire organisation, gathering targeted insight from different groups of the population.

Once the data gathering and initial analysis was completed, we undertook a series of validation exercises with key people across the organisation. This helped to ensure that the emerging conclusions were not skewed by any one sector or division but rather struck a chord with all.

The results and conclusions were then presented to the Executive Committee for approval and the DNA of the organisation was agreed. Working with the Executive Committee we developed a draft of the ‘Arriva Way’ and new company values which were presented at the Senior Management conference in Majorca to engage the top 4 leadership levels of the organisation in reviewing and refining the drafts. Following this consultation phase, the company values were finalised with the Executive Committee and then launched.

We concluded our project by leading an internal team in the design of the roll out programme using the Culture Consultancy 4Es methodology, the internal team then took ownership for the implementation.

  • Leveraging initial insights
  • Quantative & qualitative research
  • Validation exercise
  • Redesigning values
  • Engaging leadership

The ‘Arriva Way’ and company values have now been agreed by the Executive Committee and launched to the Senior Leadership population.


A full roll out programme across the organisation is underway to embed the Arriva Way at every level.



Company values agreed and rolled out across the organisation


“Clearly focused pragmatic and flexible project delivery”

The Culture Consultancy team demonstrated a pragmatic and flexible approach to the delivery of the project whilst maintaining a clear focus on key deliverables and milestones.

We asked Culture Consultancy to complete a Culture Assessment across our organisation, spanning 12 countries, as we were keen to clarify our culture after a period of acquisitions and growth. The insight the assessment provided is enabling the Executive team to really articulate the ‘Arriva Way’ so we can suitably embed this throughout the organisation. The assessment also identified changes we could make to help us to effectively and efficiently deliver our strategic plan and develop an enhanced performance culture.

The Culture Consultancy team have demonstrated a pragmatic and flexible approach to the delivery of the project, modifying their approach to accommodate our circumstances, whilst maintaining a clear focus on key deliverables and milestones. Throughout the project I, as the Sponsor, was kept well informed and engaged appropriately, so was always clear on plans, progress, and emerging results.

Alison O’Conner,
Group HR Director, Arriva at Arriva

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