On track with culture change to improve safety and service
In 2012, Norfolk Southern began implementing changes in our safety and operating culture. We shifted to a behavioral science approach that emphasizes positive reinforcement to recognize safe work behaviors. The goal is to create a more positive work environment that further enhances safety and job performance.
Because safety and service go hand in hand at Norfolk Southern, our efforts to improve safety have contributed to improvements in customer service and gains in productivity.
“People in a wide variety of areas are more engaged in doing positive things to help make a difference,” said Mark Manion, executive vice president and chief operating officer, who has led the company’s efforts.
Assisting us is Aubrey Daniels International, a consulting firm that specializes in behavioral science processes to improve business performance. ADI has helped train our managers in behavioral science techniques and is involved in the expansion of training in 2013 to our entire workforce, focusing on peer-to-peer relationships.
Our use of behavioral science is strengthening relationships and building trust among supervisors and our unionized craft employees, who represent about 24,000 of the railroad’s approximately 30,000 employees.
“This is allowing us to reach common ground on things like safety, efficiency, and eliminating waste,” said Terry Evans, vice president of transportation, our largest department, with about 12,000 employees. “I am extremely excited about the opportunities here. When you talk about 12,000 folks working together with one goal in mind, the company wins, the customer wins, and I think the country wins, because what we do is important to our economy.”
Our company’s Operations Division Safety and Service Committee visits different work locations every month to meet with employees. Members have received good feedback about the culture shift.
“People really like the emphasis on positive reinforcement, recognizing the things they’re doing well, whether it’s around safety or around their productivity and work,” said David Julian, vice president of safety and environmental. “Our people are the ones who make this company work, and everybody likes to be reinforced on things they’re doing right.”
Description of key impacts, risks and opportunities, how these are prioritized, performance progress and processes, how sustainability impacts financial performance, a table outlining performance targets, and governance mechanisms in place to manage these risks and opportunities.