Aligning the cultural direction of travel

the client


One of the largest transport services organisations in Europe, Arriva deliver 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.


the desired outcome


Arriva wanted to create greater alignment across all their European operations, to remove siloed working and improve collaboration and productivity by leveraging the power of the ‘Group’. They also wanted to improve the dynamics with their new parent company, Deutsche Bahn, 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. 


the objectives


Culture Consultancy were briefed to help Arriva :

  • Crystallise their existing culture and identify which parts of it were essential for retaining their successful DNA so that it could be leveraged for the future.
  • Identify any ‘blockers or inhibitors’ within the business created through the various acquisitions of businesses as well as any misalignment with its new owner in Germany, seeking then to align work practices and remove the inhibitors from the future culture.
  • Create a culture framework, guiding principles and common Arriva language which the leadership population could use to embed improved and common work practices in their individual business units.



the approach



Drive insights and understanding of the current culture as well as where and how it was enabling performance and inhibiting results,  using the CC Organisational Culture Assessment™. During this stage we used existing insight and data complemented by stakeholder interviews across the organisation and once analysed, completed a series of validation exercises to ensure agreements were reached on the conclusions.


Using the insights and working with the Executive team we developed the ‘Arriva Way’; a brand new set of company values which together with input from the senior leadership population we launched 3 months later through a company-wide leadership event in Mallorca.

We also created alignment between the new company Values and the expected behaviours of the Leadership population.


Leading an internal team in the design of the roll out of the exciting new ‘Arriva Way’ programme using the Culture Consultancy 4Es Human Change Principles, the internal team then took ownership for the implementation.


the results


The development of the ‘Arriva Way’ enabled great things for the culture with it being embedded across 14 countries and tens of thousands of employees, engaging them all in a clear culture and allowing them to embrace the values of the business. The new culture in being developed and launched into the business by internal teams meant that they had the tools they needed to own and evolve their future culture.


what the client says


 “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 and 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


Find out how our award-winning 3 stage culture change methodology works, here.