Vision, values and their influence on business strategy
A National Express case study

Page 3: Vision and Values

National Express 19 2A business such as National Express Coach needs a core vision that remains constant while its business strategies and practices continuously adapt to a changing world. In an increasingly competitive global environment, without a clear vision a business will lack direction and may not survive. A vision should be both aspirational and inspirational for stakeholders.

The Vision and Values were launched in 2011 as a fundamental statement of who National Express are as a business and how they operate. It originates from the conviction of the Company that National Express wants to be. Rather than the potential 'gloss' of Corporate Social Responsibility, the way National Express acts as a business embodies these Vision and Values. In National Express' view being a good and successful company should be - and are - synonymous.

The Vision is: to earn the lifetime loyalty of our customers by consistently delivering frequent, high performing public transport services which offer excellent value.
Underpinning the Vision are a common set of Values, an organisation's values are the guiding principles that influence its activities across the business. Values show how the company expects everyone within the business to behave.
The Values are:


Excellence – We constantly strive to be excellent in all that we do
Safety – We only do what is safe and stop any unsafe behaviour. Safety is our priority
Customers – We place them at the heart of our business and relentlessly meet their expectations
People – We develop the talents, reward the exceptional performance and respect the rights of all our employees
Community – We are active in the communities we serve to generate economic, social and environmental value.

For example, under the Safety Value the National Express ‘Driving Out Harm’ programme encourages staff to make sure that their workplace is safe and ensures that the safety of customers and colleagues is put first at all times.

The programme has been running since 2011 and is supported by training and internal marketing activity including posters, pledge cards, training booklets and brochures. It has its own brand for use at internal events and training programmes. Every member of staff pledges  to follow the golden rules’ of safety. There are role specific golden rules for different jobs. For example, the golden rules for bus and coach drivers include putting the safety of passengers first,checking of vehicles to ensure they are safe to drive as well as driving safely.

In 2014 National Express Coach achieved a 5 Star Occupational Health & Safety accreditation from the British Safety Council. The company also the European Foundation of Quality Management (EFQM) for how they manage, plan and refine their business.
Under the Community Value and following the success of its Military Covenant work which National Express was selected as the first company to sign. The coach business wanted to explore other important and current issues. Its Youth Promise initiative recognises the challenges facing the 16-26 age range in terms of education, unemployment and social engagement. The company has always had a strong focus on young people but with a strong emphasis on students, so the Youth Promise was developed to ‘make a difference to a whole age group, which has such enormous potential and talent’.

The Military Covenant is a ground-breaking pledge to support the Armed Forces, their families and veterans. As part of its Military Covenant, National Express Coach has promised to offer guaranteed job interviews for people leaving the forces with professional PCV licence for its driving vacancies. Recently this commitment was extended to cover all roles for those with the relevant qualifications. In partnership with the Ministry of Defence's Discount Service, National Express Coach also offers the UK’s largest travel discount for serving personnel, family members and veterans. The company also recognises the huge commitment made by the Reserve Forces and offers extra annual leave for any of its staff in the Territorial Army to help them fulfill their important duties without sacrificing all of their holidays.

National Express Coach strives to provide its customers with the best possible customer experience that is unique in the industry. The Youth Promise enables National Express to turn its vision into reality by having a positive, responsible and meaningful influence on young people. Examples of the projects in the Youth Promise, which also includes 8-14 year olds, are competitions, partnerships with national youth organisations such as the Prince’s Trust, the Scouts Association, Whizz Kidz and the British Youth Council plus engagement pieces with local colleges and universities to find innovative business solutions. The Youth Promise will also promote art, design and creativity by young people, as well as ad-hoc sponsorship and support of young photographers, musicians and athletes.

The five commitments in the National Express Youth Promise are:
We will offer great value travel for young people
We will work with the young people in the communities we serve
We will help young people into work and education
We will deliver the most accessible public transport network for young people
We will showcase youth talent.

The partnership with the charity Whizz Kidz is one of the ways National Express ensures the business is actively serving and engaging with the communities it serves. With an estimated 70,000 disabled children and young people in the UK waiting for a wheelchair, Whizz-Kidz is a charity that provides disabled children the essential wheelchairs and other mobility equipment they need to lead fun and active childhoods.

Through the Youth Promise National Express, which has a 100% wheelchair-accessible fleet, will provide Whizz Kidz work placements, wheelchair skills training, and will get involved in community events.

National Express has also committed to widening employment opportunities for young people. As a major employer in the West Midlands, the coach business has started an apprenticeship scheme and will seek to steadily grow the number of apprentices entering it each year. Apprenticeships are currently available in Customer Service, Engineering and Business Administration, running ½ years depending on the subject chosen. In addition, the bus division of National Express (National Express West Midlands) has apprentices who undertake a four year programme that provides skills in a full range of engineering disciplines including bodywork, electrical, maintenance and refurbishment. In the final two years apprentices will choose a speciality and perfect their skills to become experts in their fields.

National Express | Vision, values and their influence on business strategy

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