How Railway Stations Operations Can Be Improved: A Case Study For UK

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Introduction

Railway is a very popular mode of transport not only in the UK but also world over. The reason behind this can be attributed to affordability, safety, fast and reliability. This has made tremendous growth of the railway transport for the last decade. Therefore there is a need for scholars to closely study this sector and come up with suggestions on how best it can be improved to enhance service delivery. This is an attempt to not only better this sector, but also to reduce the constraints on our road networks. This will lead to reduced man hours lost in traffic, fuel and even accidents on our roads. This is the major rationale behind this research.

Background information

The rail transport system is one of the old methods of transport systems in the UK. It started as earlier as before independence i.e. 1922. In UK the development of the railway system developed independently in both islands namely Great Britain and Ireland. UK is a bonafide member of the UIC (international union of railways). Despite underdevelopments in the recent past, the railway system in UK is one of the most decent and well developed in Europe. It covers approximately 34,000 km from the mainland through the island. There is high speed 1 which connects mainland Europe to London and the beautiful sceneries of Scotland highlands. In the recent past there has been an attempt by the various regimes to privatize the rail system albeit heartedly to improve service delivery.  Generally speaking it his not a bad move since service delivery has improved. The major shareholder however remains the government through Network rail. Train operating companies are the major providers of trains in the UK. They are also mandated with train servicing and maintenance (wikitravel). They lease their trains to passenger rail companies all over UK. Some of the leading companies include:

  • Cross country
  • Euro star
  • First hull trains
  • Heathrow express
  • London underground
  • South west trans
  • Virgin trains

Areas that need improvement

Despite the fact that rail system in the UK is one of the most well developed in Europe, there are still a few areas that need to be improved. Such issues have been hampered by the government’s ignorance and under investment in the rail system. According to the taskforce that did a similar research in 2010 the following are some of the areas that the y suggested need s improvement. This, at least according to the taskforce, will make the rail system in the UK to be the best not only in Europe, but also world over. Some of those areas are as follows:

  1. Invest in new trains
  2. Increase rail mileage
  • Amendment of policies regulating train transport
  1. Promote rail transportation as a form of tourism and
  2. Invest more on human resources

Now all this intervention is pretty reasonable and achievable. It will be unfair for the stakeholders to fail to implement the recommendations of this report. In this particular research, am going to focus on the last recommendation i.e. the human resources. This is because with the right political will, the other aspects can be easily implemented with pumping of more resources into the system. This is unlike with the human resources. For people to work well in a challenging organization like railway station, you need more than just paying them well. This is the major focus of this research.

 

Human resources improvement in UK railway system

For you to succeed in improving the service delivery in a firm like railway transport, human resource is very vital. Unlike with the other resources which can be easily acquired and run, human resources are different. You need to start by hiring the right people with the right skills and passion to work in railway transport. Secondly you need to train them well because no two situations are exactly the same. Even if some may be experienced they will obviously be exposed to different challenges that will require a little training. Next you have to continuously motivate, empower and develop your human resources to be able to meet new challenges. These are some of the issues I will like to explore in this research.

Camilleri (215) argues that most of the literature on the importance of employee empowerment in ensuring organisation success also shows that there is a positive correlation between employee perception of being cared for and valued by the organisation and conscientiousness in doing their duties within the organisation. Jones & Kato (2003) had the same opinion, however, they went on to explain that there is a positive relationship between the employee work performance and organizational successes because if employees realize that they are cared for by the organization, they will bring out their best in their respective duties.

Research has also shown that there exists a positive correlation between the employee’s perception of being cared for by the organisation and the expressed speculative and effective involvement in decision making within the organisation. However, According to Jones & Kato (103), major decision making in the organisation requires the total support of the stakeholders concerned. The employees must be included in the process as they are the people on the receiving end. Dufficy (199) also argues that involving the employees in such functions within the organisation makes them part of the overall organisation management and motivates them to put more effort in serving the organisation.

Additionally a recent survey carried out by Fernandez & Moldogaziev, (211) discusses that this involvement creates a sense of belonging and unity within the organisation and collaboration amongst all the level of the organisation’s management from the top level to the bottom level. The same study also shows that there exists a relationship between innovation on the part of the employees on behalf of the organisation’s success systems even in the total absence of the personal recognition and total reward. Productivity emanates from better choice of career paths, high retention rates of employees due to high consistency originating from job Satisfaction. This is especially true for a sector like the UK railway system that has suffered high rates of employee turn over.

As most organisations are strategizing on how they can fully address the concern of the employees in the work place, they implement very innovative strategies geared towards improving the overall organisational performance while at the same time offering job satisfaction to the employees (Dufficy, 209). Thus the railway system should not be left behind, after all their job is even more challenging.

How to empower employees

In the current labour market, organisational performance is greatly hinged on the contribution of the employee attitude and job satisfaction. Most companies have realised great success thanks to the employee empowerment practices and company’s performance management practices. The major focus on performance management emanates from the view that business pressures are always on the increase and organisations are required to be more efficient and effective in their operations, make financial plans and execute the plans according to the business strategy, and to remain competitive and maintain the competitive advantage (Jones and Kato, 253).

If your goal as a manager is to create a work environment whereby staff is productive, empowered, contributing and happy, just empower them. Give them the right tools and information and then leave them alone to deliver.  The following are some of the ways you can empower them.

  1. Employee engagement and involvement

Michael (179) holds that the most vital strategic role of any human resource manager in any organisation intending to factor in the contribution of employees in ensuring the success of an organisation includes employee motivation, involvement and work delegation with commensurate compensation. The human resource manager must recruit competent employee, train, retain, motivate and reward those that prove successful in delivering their duties

Kuo et al (110) concludes that it is the involvement of the employees in designing how they do their work; the people charged with carrying out assignment in the company must be allowed to work out their work schedules in manner that is suitable to them. The employees should be allowed to move freely within the organisation.  Employees should be updated regularly on their performance. The less personal control a culture of creativity and innovation is bred within the company, in this the employee’s will be free to interact and come up with new ideas, strategy and synergy all geared at improving the performance of the organisation.

Kuo and his colleagues go further to note that people were born productive; the intrinsic efficiency is usually limited by the rules and regulation that confines the employee to their place of work and control the level of interaction. This limitation of the social nature of the employee makes it hard for employees to fully exploit their potential in their places of work if people are inspired with proper vision and prepared with the right set of tools they contribute to the success of their organisation. If proper information is imparted to these employees, they can make decisions that are critical to success of the organisation.

  1. Tap their potential

The management must realise that it is actually very important to exploit the potential of the employees. Employee involvement, excellent work tools, employee commitment and simplicity are some of the important themes that must be nurtured in organisations in order to retain loyal employees. The vision of the company should be all inclusive and should benefit the whole society, employees are always energized by the feeling of being a part of a bigger achievement, and the organisation’s daily activities should not be focused at controlling the people but at tracking useful information. Freedom and fun at work help the employees to participate at ensuring that the organisation is successful in achieving its goals (.............


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