A Culture of Excellence: How SilverRail Learns from Employees
Written by Victoria Bacon
SilverRail promotes a culture of excellence. On good days and bad days, we’re always eager to listen, learn, adapt and implement changes that improve the lives of our team.
As we continue on our journey to make rail easy, change the way people move, and build a greener planet, it’s absolutely vital that our team is equipped with the emotional and practical support they need to embrace the challenge with open arms.
With our global team growing by 45% in the last 12 months (in the wake of a global pandemic), we take our responsibility as an employer extremely seriously. We believe happy and healthy employees are a prerequisite for strong balance sheets and happy finance teams — it doesn’t work the other way around!
Case in point, check out SilverRail’s employee perks to get a feel for how we go the extra mile to help our team thrive.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how we strive for a culture of excellence and explore what interventions we’ve introduced to iron-out bumps along the way.
Perfection Is a Fallacy
There’s no such thing as ‘perfect’ when it comes to being an employer. While it might sound like a hard truth and many employers will package it up as an inconvenient truth that they choose to ignore, SilverRail embraces imperfection.
Well, a state of imperfection suggests we can always do more. Instead of settling with the status quo and waiting for problems to rear their ugly head, we proactively ask for feedback from our team about how we can improve and look for creative solutions to enhance their SilverRail experience.
In 2021, we ran a company-wide survey across our offices in London, Stockholm, Boston and Brisbane to understand how people were feeling across our organisation. Among plenty of good things, we were most interested in a handful of areas where employees felt we could improve.
Despite scoring an average of 4.3/5 for the likes of team cooperation, professionalism, exposure to top-of-their-game industry experts, fairness, respect, and solidarity, other areas were pulling us down.
73% of 135 employees completed the survey (this in itself was something we wanted to work on) and returned an average employee satisfaction score of 3.7 out of 5. It’s ok but it’s not great — here at SilverRail, we never settle for ‘ok’.
Specifically, our team identified three key areas that needed careful attention:
With a score of 3.7/5, our employees felt they would benefit from clearer objectives that are more directly tied to the company’s mission to make rail easy, change the way people move, and build a greener planet. Without focused goals and a strong sense of purpose, we risk our teams feeling lost.
On a similar note, keeping employees up-to-date with the company’s ambitions, opportunities and challenges is important to unite the team around a shared vision. With a score of 3.6/5, we knew we needed to improve company-wide communications.
Supporting personal and professional development is vital. With a training score of just 2.9/5, the 2021 survey reinforced the importance of delivering enriching learning and development opportunities that help team members thrive. While we were aware that the low score was a reflection of our decision to cut down on training costs and keep people in their roles throughout covid, we’re now in a position to double down on offering the very best learning and development opportunities.
Critically, the feedback showed that we needed to provide employees with the freedom to choose what training they receive and we wanted to show our appreciation for their support throughout the pandemic by reinvesting into their personal development.
Responding to Feedback
In light of the survey results, we got to work on thinking about what interventions we could introduce to move the needle in the areas that mattered to our team.
Here’s what we came up with…
Lead With Purpose
To tackle concerns around goal-setting, our executive team outlined a 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year vision-setting manifesto that was shared with the whole organisation. Providing this direction meant individual teams could identify what role they played in the wider company vision and set SMART goals that have a strong sense of purpose.
We mustn’t underestimate the importance of leading with purpose. Starting with why means our team can open their laptops each morning feeling like their efforts will have a positive impact on the world and change people’s lives for the better.
As part of this exercise, we also kickstarted a company-wide recruitment drive. It was becoming clearer and clearer that, in order to deliver on our bold ambitions, we needed to expand our team and avoid placing too much strain on our existing employees. In just 12 months, we welcomed 62 new faces to the global SilverRail family.
Upon surveying our team a year later in 2022, the turnout among our new team of 163 employees increased to 91% and the average score for goal-setting also increased from 3.7/5 to 4/5 — an 8% hike in just twelve months.
Sharing Is Caring
After identifying company updates as something our team wanted more of, we’ve made it a priority to deliver regular company-wide town halls to ensure everyone is singing the same tune and to unite team members across continents.
One of the biggest perks of joining a global company is the opportunity to build relationships with a diversity of talent and be part of a growing family that is working together to build a greener planet.
We also used the town halls as an opportunity to celebrate wins, demo product launches, and importantly, reward stand-out achievements — when someone does an amazing job, it’s our job to recognise and reward their efforts.
In the spirit of openness, we also run biannual company retrospectives to gather feedback from the whole team so that we can keep our ‘fingers on the pulse’. Gathering the whole team in one ‘room’ in a live setting means people can share honest thoughts about what SilverRail is doing well, flag what we could be doing better, and provide candid feedback to senior leaders in a judgement-free setting.
A year on from the 2021 survey, this year’s results revealed that the average score for company updates increased from 3.6/5 to 3.9/5 — another 8% improvement in just twelve months.
Never Stop Learning
As a company that prides itself on hiring the very best talent (across both our technical and non-technical teams), it is our responsibility to provide employees with everything they need to be the best versions of themselves.
In light of this, we’ve committed to raising the bar with our learning and development resources and making it a priority to make the team aware of the opportunities available to them. From team-specific training courses, industry conferences, internal career support, and online learning resources, we’ve made it our mission to put employee development front and centre.
We understand that everyone learns differently so instead of offering a one-size-fits-all solution, we provide our team with the freedom to choose the right training based on their individual goals and needs.
Following last year’s engagement survey, our interventions seem to be working with the average score for training increasing from 2.9/5 in 2021 to 3.9/5 in 2022 — a whopping 35% increase in just twelve months.
Striving for a Culture of Excellence
Our proactive efforts to ask for feedback, listen to our employees, and take action to improve their SilverRail experience is an ever-evolving process that never stops.
In our quest for excellence, we’re proud of who we are and what we stand for. With our engagement survey returning scores of between 4 and 4.5 for teamwork, work-life balance, and job satisfaction,we’re confident that we’re taking the right steps towards building a healthy and happy team that is empowered to perform at the top of its game.
SilverRail’s mission to make rail easy, change the way people move, and build a greener planet is no mean feat. To get there, it’s our job to create a culture of excellence that gives talented individuals the freedom to effect positive change, and we intend to do exactly that.
Want to help us change the way people move?
We’re always looking for talented people who share our vision for the future of travel. We’re also a remote and flexible employer.
See our open roles and apply here.
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