Implementing a new vision at Virgin Trains
A Virgin Trains case study

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Page 3: Sharing the vision and values

Purpose of the vision

A key objective for Virgin Trains is to be a profit-making organisation. A good way of making a profit is to satisfy customers who will use services over and over again. To achieve this objective it is essential that Virgin Trains' staff deliver a first-class service. The company has therefore turned the traditional perspective of the organisation upside down and puts its customers first.

The Virgin Trains way of working encourages front-line employees to interact with customers. In doing so, they are able to improve the customer's experience, whilst at the same time discovering possible ways of improving operational performance. The role of managers in this scenario is to explain and encourage good behaviours and actively seek suggestions from employees to improve the business.

Customer focus

Virgin Trains' people drive its strategy of focusing on customers. The regional structure enables staff who are in direct contact with customers to contribute to and shape the business' strategies. Regular 'priorities meetings' are held by groups of staff across the regions to identify best practices, share concerns and discuss what the priorities should be.

Feedback from customers identifies the priorities and includes issues such as what menu options should be on trains or what ticket options are available in stations. Managers then take these ideas and support workers to improve the services they provide. This develops good relationships and increases employee confidence that managers will follow up on ideas and feedback from front-line workers.

Every Virgin Trains employee is encouraged to buy into the vision and values of Virgin Trains by:

  • giving and receiving constructive feedback
  • dealing with change and welcoming it
  • challenging the ideas of others in an appropriate way.


All employees have an opportunity to find out about (and become part of) the vision by attending a voluntary three-day facilitated workshop. The workshops focus on how to give and receive constructive feedback. They also help Virgin Trains people to see what leadership looks like in the workplace and how it affects individuals:

  • The workshop provides a good opportunity to share ideas and to influence others in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Regional teams attend together. This brings together employees at different levels (including senior managers) and those involved in different tasks.
  • Everyone has the opportunity to explore what change means, what people feel when faced by change and what support individuals need during times of change.
  • Employees can discuss how the vision relates to his or her personal values and beliefs and how these values line up with company objectives.
  • When people go back to their work roles they know that they can challenge, question and propose ideas of their own.

Virgin Trains | Implementing a new vision at Virgin Trains