Sweden is in the midst of a bus driver crisis. While legislation was passed looking to double public transportation from 2006 to 2020, the industry meanwhile predicts a shortage of over 4000 bus drivers within the next three years. Bergkvarabuss (BKB), Sweden’s largest privately owned bus company, is aware that a steady supply of new drivers is nothing short of business critical.
While the time or cost of a bus driver’s license can influence the decision of some potential applicants, the main deterrent is the stigma surrounding the profession. Perceived by many to be an “older man’s job,” BKB’s drivers are no exception with an average age of 55 years old. With so many employees on the brink of retirement and progressively fewer new applicants, BKB has to take any applicant they can.
Thus our brief was to help BKB attract new recruits, and become the number one choice of employer for drivers. Seeking to work within the context of our client, our objective was to provide BKB with a sustainable, accessible, and economically viable strategy.
After meeting with the client a second time, we arrived at our re-brief: How can BKB build a culture that retains their current drivers and attracts the “right kind of people”?
“Det finns busschaufförer och så finns det ratthållare”
They say there are bus drivers, and those that simply hold the wheel.
BKB understands that service-minded drivers are the “right kind of people”. We proposed that if BKB can build a culture that turns all of its drivers into the “right kind of people” then the company won’t need to look for more drivers; they will come to them.
Based on our re-brief, we wanted to look into why there’s a deficit of drivers in the industry. Our secondary market research pointed us towards the organizations we then did interviews with: a driving school, The Trade Union (Kommunal), Swedish Career Center (Arbetsförmedlingen) and Transportation Workers Co-operative (Transportföretagen). The insights we got from this range of perspectives helped us to inform and structure our internal (client) research.
To get a better understanding of what it means to be a bus driver in Sweden, and especially at BKB, we created two typeforms which we sent out to all BKB’s (1600) drivers. The first survey was a 10 question quantitative survey, which we used to get a feel for how the drivers perceive their job and to gauge the interest in talking more with us. The second typeform was optional and had more in-depth, written qualitative questions.
After analyzing the results from the typeforms and comparing them to the client's existing employee satisfaction research, we continued with on-site interviews with drivers, administration and upper management. We also took the opportunity to conduct focus groups with drivers in two different locations, using their collective intelligence to discover how to develop and attract the best drivers.
The insights from the on-site interviews and focus groups, together with an ongoing dialogue with the client, helped us narrow down and prioritize our scope regarding their company culture.
Q: How do we develop and maintain good culture?
- Honor the strengths of the existing culture
- Focus on a few critical shifts in behavior
- Integrate formal and informal interventions
- Measure and monitor the cultural evolution
Q: Why culture?
- Good culture attracts and keeps drivers
- Good culture creates advocates of the brand – internally & externally
- Culture cannot be easily copied – make it your unfair advantage
- Love your brand: consumers love brands who love their employees
Within this guide we established why we chose to focus on culture, detailing the results of our cultural audit, and discussing the significance of culture on recruiting and onboarding practices. This deliverable outlined; WHO: The need for an HR department, HOW: Implementation and Tracking Progress and WHY: What cultural change could mean for BKB.
After identifying 11 potential cultural intervention areas, we selected four with particular opportunities for the organization. These interventions were delivered from the perspective of ease and speed of implementation internally, and the short and long-term return on investment. While some of the interventions cost money, some save money, and some certainly challenged the client – all were grounded in primary and secondary research and supported by insights from the drivers themselves.
Through storytelling and our collected insights we were able to take BKB on a visual bus ride of the city where their company began, Bergkvara. Different routes represented potential focus areas for change, as suggested in our accompanying strategic guide.
TEAM IS EVERYTHING
Johan Ahlqvist - Karin Backlund - Anna Benson - Colin Lewis - Sussie Sjöqvist - Me
Art Director / Art Director / Producer / Creative Lead / Strategist / Strategist