Large effect from small strategic efforts

90 percent of the bus drivers in Greater Copenhagen declare that “I thrive at my work place” (“Jeg trives godt på arbejdspladsen”) in a recent questionnaire given to 200 bus drivers and managers in the bus industry. The questionnaire was handed out as one of three types of knowledge collected after the first test-run of the “Bus drivers with character” in 2009. Before the project started in April 2009 only 68 percent of the employees in the bus industry agreed with the same statement.
One of the main problems in the bus industry – as well as other industries – is the lack of self confidence and feeling of having a bad image in the eyes of others. But the perception of bad image is changing for the better, too. When we started the project, only 13 percent said “Bus drivers have a good image”. By the end of the year, that number had risen to 24 percent.
There is still a long way to go for this industry. Just like a lot of other companies the businesses running the busses are in a continuous process of improving the way they create self-perceptions, build organizational trust and improve the confidence in the profession and the company. Last year’s project was not a million-dollar venture but specific experiments, training middle managers, fireballs (bus drivers) and creating small campaigns in the busses involving the passengers as well as creating awareness and a positive image in the media. Let me illustrate how the Danish press was covering the busses and bus drivers in 2008 versus 2009:
Before the project started the dominating image of the bus drivers and the bus industry (and hence the idea of using the product – getting on the bus) was negative. There were more negative stories than positive. Analyzing the same period one year later, the image has turned. Now there are more positive than negative stories in the press. And the fact of the good stories in the media is part of the explanation as to why the employees feel different about their jobs.
A few days ago the Danish daily Berlingske covered the results of the project. Read the story here. (Danish only)