VW Heritage – Taking the time to look after their people – Employee engagement case study

Andrew Heath · May 20, 2016

VW Heritage is a specialist parts supplier experiencing rapid growth. Based in the South-East of England, it supplies spares and body parts for collectable Volkswagen cars and was established 30 years ago.

In many companies this kind of rapid growth can be a struggle – no longer a small enterprise, there are too many staff for one owner or manager to look after everyone; communication can suffer which can make the transition into a bigger company painful.

Selina-bishop-vw-heritateWeThrive has transformed how annual performance reviews are conducted at VW Heritage. It brings a new dimension, focussing on all aspects of an employee’s wellbeing at work and has helped open up focused conversations with staff which might not have been possible before. WeThrive has helped us to identify issues and solutions for the benefit of individual team members and the Company alike.

Three years ago VW Heritage adopted WeThrive as a way of monitoring what staff were thinking and feeling, to foster employee engagement and keep the company healthy during its expansion.

Since then staff numbers have increased to 76 employees, new departments and functions have emerged, staff have had to move role and the company has, for the first time, introduced an HR function, headed by Selina Bishop.

VW Heritage uses WeThrive twice a year (we recommend between two and four times a year in most cases, though some companies use it instead of an annual staff survey as it produces clear actions for each individual).

Over the last two years, despite rapid growth and some necessary upheaval – including moving office and warehouse, the management team at VWH have, with the help of WeThrive, managed to maintain the staff satisfaction score level.

Selina offered to share 3 anonymous snapshots from her team to showcase the level of detail and insight WeThrive delivers and the very real and tangible effect it can have on individuals in any organisation.

Person 1

In the first survey person 1 had scored well, apart from a problem with pressure of work that also affected most of their colleagues.

However, a year later WeThrive identified that this person was showing very different scores for knowledge, skills, security and foreboding – lower than the average score for the company and much lower than his previous scores.

During an annual performance review they disclosed in a very focused conversation that he had been feeling insecure for a while – they had recently moved into a new role in a different department and felt they still needed extra training and mentoring. They were also worried about taking on various new duties in the future as a colleague had left the company and was not going to be replaced. As a result person 1 was given extra training and assistance from their manager and colleagues, and was reassured that he would be given training on any new duties at the right time. This has had a positive impact on their wellbeing at work, and the department will be re-scored in due course to see what has improved and where further work would be useful.


Person 2

A WeThrive survey identified that this individual was reporting low scores for team understanding and team co-operation compared to the average score for the company, indicating that they thought the team did not have a shared picture of how to do their work, and that consequently they were not co-operating with each other. During the annual review, person 2 disclosed that he felt that his team and another team had overlapping duties and responsibilities, but that they appeared to be working in silos. Their personal performance, knowledge and skills scores were also low.

During a 1-2-1 with their manager they discussed the idea of potentially merging the teams in time, to resolve the crossover in the two departments. Also it emerged that person 1 had not had a performance review for over two years, and had not received any feedback regarding their performance. Examples of his achievements were discussed at his review and they were told how much the company appreciated their hard work. This has resulted in a positive impact on his overall sense of engagement and motivation in his role.


Person 3

WeThrive identified that person 3 appeared isolated from the team, showing relatively low scores for attention and common bond compared to the average score for the company. During the annual performance review person 3’s manager asked why the score could be so low as the problem had not been apparent until before.

In the course of conversation person 3 revealed that he had been feeling isolated for a while – he was in a stand-alone position and didn’t have much day-to-day contact with other members of the team, so he often felt out of the loop.

As a result of this conversation the role was moved into a small team that aligned with many aspects of their role. Person 3 also moved his workstation to be closer to the members of this team. This had a very positive impact for person 3.

Barney Dines
Sales Director