WorkBuzz Webinar

Reinventing the employee experience at HS2


Neil Hayward, HS2 Chief People Officer and WorkBuzz discuss how HS2 reinvented its Employee Experience (EX) by:

  • Defining a world class EX and maximizing buy-in
  • Creating an effective employee voice
  • Building capability to act on employee feedback
  • Focusing on leading, not lagging data

Ultimately improving employee engagement by 18%, boosting retention by 9% and becoming the first UK company to achieve the Clear Assured Platinum Award for Equality & Diversity.

Your Host:

Neil Hayward
Chief People Officer, HS2
Bio: Neil Hayward is a Non-Executive and Board Advisor with FTSE 100 Group HR
Director experience. Over the last 25 years, he has worked in a variety of different sectors – in the UK and Internationally – for organizations such as the Post Office, BT Pie, and the Ministry of Justice.
Dawn Smedley
Enterprise Clients Lead, WorkBuzz
Bio: Dawn works with some of our largest clients here at WorkBuzz including the Priory Group and Aspris. Her mission is to help organizations improve the employee experience and brings a huge amount of energy and 10 years plus experience in global culture and insights to the conversation.
Steven Frost
Founder & CEO, WorkBuzz
Bio: Steve is the Founder & CEO of WorkBuzz, with first hand experience helping the likes of Home Instead, Right at Home and Priory Group create great employee experiences, improve retention and enhance their employer brands. In 2019 and 2020, Steve was named in the Top 101 Employee Engagement Global Influencers.


High Speed Two Ltd (HS2) is the organisation tasked with building Britain’s high-speed rail network. It is the largest project ever invested in by the UK Government. Phase 1 of the new network, London to Birmingham, is now under construction and is scheduled for completion towards the end of the decade with a price range of c£40-£45 billion. Some 17,000 people are now working on the programme, and this is expected to climb towards c30,000 at peak construction. HS2 is a ‘mega project’ of a size and scale never previously attempted in the UK.



We spend a third of our lives at work, so ensuring this is meaningful, enjoyable and productive, has always been important. But recent changes, like hybrid and remote working, have created brand new challenges for HR.

WorkBuzz is HR’s secret weapon. We help you gather real-time feedback from your people, track employee wellbeing and make more informed data-driven people decisions.


WorkBuzz Customer Story:


‘Mega project’ HS2 transforms business with employee experience insights

First UK company to achieve the prestigious Clear Assured Platinum Award for their efforts to improve Equality & Diversity
Staff retention increased by 9%
Staff engagement increased by 18%
When Neil Hayward, Chief People Officer, joined HS2 back in 2017 he found a company that was in danger of failing.
“There were clear signs of distress in terms of HS2’s reputation, and performance. Their people were disengaged and unmotivated. A lot of change was required. That change had to embrace every aspect of their operating model – structures, systems, processes, governance, as well as their people. The Board signed off a new People and Organization strategy which committed us to doing things differently, with focus on building HS2 as ‘an effective client organization with the right capabilities’ and developing ‘a talented workforce and an inclusive culture’.
Employee voice, a corner stone of engagement wasn't working at HS2. It had run a traditional bi-annual staff engagement survey – it was laborious process and by the time the results were shared with people managers, the feedback was dated. And the single snapshot in time wasn’t keeping up with the rate of change at HS2.”

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