Transformational conversations

The Virgin Group brand is one of the icons of our age. Covering seven sectors and most global regions with dozens of companies, Virgin is a case study in how to have British entrepreneurial success.

Virgin Trains, the UK train operating company, which has control of the franchise for long-distance passenger services on the West Coast mainline and connects London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Virgin Trains employs 3,400 people, operates 17 stations and over 1,264 kilometres of route. In 2016 alone it was responsible for 35.7 million passenger journeys. Its workforce comprises train drivers, crew and engineers alongside staff in the Birmingham headquarters, working in finance, social media and any other back office function you can think of.

Like many transport businesses, Virgin Trains has a clearly defined management and operational structure. The majority of employees are unionised, across a wide variety of roles around the country.

The company has always had a focus on training and equipping leaders with improved communication skills, including giving and receiving feedback. Despite these initiatives, on his arrival at the company as Head of Internal Communication and Engagement in August 2014, Drew McMillan, quickly identified there were still gaps in the way leaders were communicating with teams. . .

All of which meant that the company faced some interesting conversational challenges. . .

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