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Meet The Billion Journey Project start-ups: Peakon

Peakon and OBC's Andrew Morison

In the first in a series of features telling the stories of the start-ups that have joined the billion journey project, we catch up with the ambitious employee engagement outfit Peakon.

Nothing is more important to a business’ forward journey than the people it employs.

But employment should be about more than simply paying a person to do a task. To get the most from a workforce – and have them help drive a business’ growth, success and evolution – employees need to be highly engaged.

That’s something the thriving start-up Peakon has made the core of its offering. Founded in 2015, the company’s distinct platform helps organisations understand and engage their employees. Peakon gathers nuanced feedback from staff, analyses that data, and then provides meaningful insights that can guide a business’ development in real-time. All that effort is done with a singular goal in mind; to have people bring their best selves to work.

And now, thanks to joining the third cohort of the Billion Journey Product, Peakon has had an opportunity to couple its platform with one of the UK’s leading public transport companies, and establish a real, practical pilot to explore how their truly disruptive technology can positively impact public transport.

As part of the project, Peakon partnered with Go-Ahead’s Oxford Bus Company to collectively investigate means to better attract, engage and retain bus drivers.

“That opportunity for immersion was huge,” enthuses Peakon’s account executive, James Munro, reflecting on the Billion Journey Project experience. “We were able to go to Blackfriars station and see how things work, to be able to have these great chats with Andy Morison from the Oxford Bus Company, and even to be able to go and see Brighton and Hove bus company; that all completely opened my eyes to lots of useful stuff.”

All of that matters to Peakon because it lets the team comprehend the nuances of the specific business – and as such the people – that it has set out to serve.

“The Billion Journey Project team have also been amazing at getting us involved and getting us stuck in and allowing us to hit the ground running straight away,” explains Munro. “I think that’s really, really key. That was impactful for us, and lets us deliver something all the more impactful for the Oxford Bus Company.”

That, of course, is the very point of the Billion Journey Project. Peakon and the other nine start-ups were able to move to building working proof of concepts on a pilot basis almost from the off, refining their offering and learning on the go. The initiative is certainly about knowledge sharing and ideas; but it is ultimately about hands-on experience.

With the third cohort phase of The Billion Journey Project still underway, Peakon’s platform is presently live within the Oxford Bus Company ecosystem, capturing data from bus drivers, and building insights that will directly help the operator. At the same time, Peakon has been afforded to better understand how it might serve other transport organisations, both within the Go-Ahead Group, and beyond.

“Peakon’s platform is superb straight off-the-shelf, and I suspect just about any organisation could customise it to suit their business structure and colleague engagement ambitions,” offers Morison, who serves as Head of Customer Experience at Oxford Bus Company. “Add to that the excellent support from James and his colleagues and you have a product that’s mature, backed by real science and research, and has an impressive portfolio of results.”

Clearly, through practical collaboration Peakon and the Oxford Bus Company are forging an opportunity that is already bringing meaningful gains to both companies, while improving customer experience. And that is what the Billion Journey Project is ultimately about.