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Customer Stories

How LKQ Euro Car Parts improved every single employee engagement metric in year one with WorkBuzz


LKQ Euro Car Parts is the leading distributor of car and light commercial vehicle parts across the UK and Ireland. The company has over 9,000 employees across over 280 branches, and stocks more than 130,000 different vehicle parts.

In 2019 LKQ Euro Car Parts had a new management team, who had the challenge of turning the business around – and part of that challenge was around embedding a new culture and improving employee engagement. The organisation therefore needed to better understand employee sentiment and how their experience at work could be improved.

The organisation partnered with WorkBuzz to run its first employee engagement survey in 2021 following the restructure, and has since turned those insights into action – achieving significant uplift in engagement metrics across the board.

Improved every single employee engagement metric from the first survey
Number of people believing the organisation would act on survey results increased from 45% to 60%
Number of people who are proud to work for the organisation increased from 69% to 76%
Response rate increased from 81% to 88%

Watch Donna's 'LKQ Euro Car Parts - Driving our culture' session from our WorkBuzz Live! event

The Problem

Between 2019 and 2021, LKQ Euro Car Parts consolidated a number of businesses. But bringing a 9,000-strong workforce together, with all the different ways of working each team was used to, brought significant challenges when it came to employee engagement.

And, of course, right in the middle of that transition, the pandemic hit. At the height of the lockdown, more than a third of LKQ Euro Car Parts’ employees were furloughed.

How could the organisation build a new, unified culture that all staff could buy into? How could they establish values and behaviours? And how could they get all employees pulling in the same direction to support customers?

As Donna Fearnley, Group HR Director for the UK & Ireland, puts it: “We were coming through that really difficult period, and trying to promote a people-centric, customer-centric culture – but we didn’t really know whether that was embedded throughout the organisation.

“We wanted to become an employer of choice in the UK and Ireland . We wanted an inclusive environment where it’s healthy, it’s safe – from a wellness perspective as well as a physical one – and where all individuals are welcome and have equal opportunities.”

The Solution

WorkBuzz was one of several options considered, but LKQ Euro Car Parts was particularly impressed by our Customer Success team, the platform itself, and our account management – giving the organisation the confidence it would get the insights it needed.

Its first survey with WorkBuzz launched in April 2021.

“We were still in lockdown. We were at the tail end of it but still had colleagues on furlough and our head office wasn’t even in hybrid working at that point – we were still working from home,” Donna continues.

“We had started to make those cultural changes, and it was against that backdrop that we ran our survey. We didn’t push people into it, but we stressed the fact that we needed them to tell us what they think – because we couldn’t make the right changes otherwise.”

The response rate was strong for a first survey, with 81% of employees taking part, but there were challenges when it came to people believing that the business  would take action based on the findings. Just 45% of respondents had confidence they would.

“It’s not that uncommon in a first survey, but it was absolutely a challenge to me and to the leadership team,” says Donna. “We also asked about things like harassment and exclusion, and found that people weren’t confident in coming forward and didn’t like to have their voices heard. Those weren’t great results, and we knew we had their trust to either lose, or to gain.”

Based on the feedback from that first survey, and with insights from WorkBuzz’s People Science consultants, Donna and her team launched an internal campaign – called ‘Your Voice Matters – you said, we did’ – and introduced a sprawling range of new initiatives to improve employee engagement. Changes included, for example, rewriting an old anti-harassment and bullying policy to address any symptoms sooner.

Donna adds: “The old policy was about 14 pages long and taken up mostly with discipline and grievance procedures for what to do when things have gone wrong – but we thought, ‘shouldn’t we be stopping it going wrong?’. We ripped it up and it became the Dignity and Respect Policy, with a whole set of workshops and manager guides.”

Other initiatives included more family-friendly policies – for both women and men – better maternity policies, and more standardised holiday allowances. The core message for employees was that the company was listening to concerns, and acting on them.


In tandem, LKQ Euro Car Parts launched a suite of new learning and development programmes, upskilling employees and giving them the tools and confidence to take the next steps in their careers. This included apprenticeships, management courses, and a wellness programme with trained mental health first-aiders.

The organisation also introduced a new “colleague promise”; a charter for how they wanted employees to feel about working at LKQ Euro Car Parts. This covered culture and values, reward and recognition, the working environment, and the company’s leadership style.

“One of the things that has really helped us drive this is that we have a leadership team that is doing this because they truly believe it’s the right thing to do,” says Donna. “Why would we not want to be the best employer? Why would we not want to have a fantastic workplace?”

This was all delivered to all employees as a small, physical card summarising the company’s strategic pillars, its promise to colleagues, its values – and, crucially, how every member of staff contributes.

The Outcome

A year after its first insights, LKQ Euro Car Parts re-ran its annual engagement survey.

“The night before the results came in, I felt like an expectant parent all over again,” says Donna. “Please let us see the right results, because if after all of that work we don’t move the needle, I’m in the wrong job!”

Donna needn’t have worried. Having so conscientiously analysed initial findings a year before – and then making significant changes throughout the organisation – the results were outstanding.

Company-wide, there was improvement in every single engagement category.

As well as response rate increasing to 88% and the organisation’s overall engagement score climbing to 73, the metric previously identified as the most important – whether people thought the company would do anything about the results – had leapt from 45% in year one to 60%.

Donna adds: “That was the one I went to first. We’ve still got a long way to go – we’re facing our difficult second album – but people now trust we’ll do something.”

In addition, 93% of people said they’re clear of what’s expected of them in their job, 92% understand how their work contributes to the success of the business, and 88% said their team always puts the customer first – vindicating the introduction of the new colleague promise.

The organisation also achieved notable improvements in results for statements including, “I’m proud to work for the business” (69% agreed in the first survey, 76% agreed the following year), “I’d recommend the business as a great place to work” (57% to 66%), “I see myself working here in 12 months, even if a comparable job was available elsewhere” (63% to 67%), and “I’m motivated to do my best work” (78% to 82%).

Now, Donna and her team are focused on ensuring all line managers across all branches are empowered to improve engagement and support organisational change.

“Line managers are the ones that will really make the biggest difference and that can have the biggest impact on engagement,” says Donna. “We want to give them the skills, the tools and the confidence to be the best leaders they can be.”

To hear more of Donna’s story, and how LKQ Euro Car Parts achieved such an incredible transformation in its first year with WorkBuzz, you can rewatch her session from our recent WorkBuzz Live! event here or above.

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