In an innovative move to bridge the gap between management and frontline workers, Abellio London has implemented Blink, a comprehensive employee engagement app. This initiative marks a significant step in connecting the company’s 2,800 employees, who operate bus services for Transport for London and serve approximately 430,000 customers daily across Greater London.
Abellio London’s adoption of Blink is a critical part of their strategy to foster a more inclusive culture within the organisation. The app offers a digital platform where employees can share information, communicate, and stay connected regardless of their location. This breakthrough is particularly notable as it addresses the longstanding issue of frontline workers, such as bus drivers, often being disconnected from the wider organisational network due to the nature of their roles.
Addressing National Bus Driver Shortage
The initiative also aligns with Abellio’s efforts to combat the national bus driver shortage. Recent data from Transport for London highlighted a shortfall of 2,510 drivers. The vacancy rate in the bus sector stands at 6.8%, prompting discussions about including bus drivers in the Shortage Occupation List to facilitate recruitment from abroad.
Blink’s introduction is a game-changer in how frontline teams, who typically rely on manual processes and lack immediate access to essential tools and information, operate. Research indicates that only 39% of frontline workers feel their voices are heard, with 42% considering leaving their jobs. Blink addresses these challenges by offering seamless access to external applications, key systems, and organisational updates, all through a single sign-on process.
Empowering Workers with Digital Tools
Previously, drivers had to navigate multiple systems, each requiring unique passwords and computer access, to perform various tasks. Blink consolidates these processes into a single app, accessible via mobile devices with desktop capabilities. This integration empowers drivers to complete tasks, report in real-time, and remain informed just as promptly as their colleagues in other parts of the organisation. It also facilitates direct communication with senior leadership, providing a platform for feedback and engagement.
Lorna Murphy, Abellio Operations and HR Director, emphasised the company’s commitment to inclusivity, highlighting the diverse workforce comprising 43 nationalities. Blink, she noted, offers a simple yet effective way to unite teams and provide them with easier access to information and processes.
Sean Nolan, CEO and Co-Founder of Blink, echoed this sentiment, acknowledging Abellio London’s dedication to closing the frontline worker gap and fostering a sense of belonging among employees. He pointed out that an engaged frontline positively influences team success, productivity, and retention.
Transforming Operational Efficiency
Blink also aims to replace paper-based forms, allowing drivers to manage their schedules, payment information, and administrative tasks remotely. This advancement not only streamlines operations but also enhances the drivers’ connection to the organisation.
Murphy highlighted that Blink would facilitate easy reporting, communication, and execution of daily tasks, contributing to a more vibrant, open culture with better employee engagement.
Abellio plans to utilise Blink for creating specific groups for supported work conversations, a practice proven beneficial for employee wellness. The app’s frontline intelligence and analysis capabilities will assist leadership in understanding employee needs and optimising performance delivery.
Blink has demonstrated its effectiveness by reaching 95% of employees, reducing turnover by 26%, tripling tool response rates, and achieving high user satisfaction. This implementation by Abellio London is a significant stride in enhancing employee engagement and operational efficiency, setting a precedent for future workplace communication and inclusivity initiatives.