Norfolk Southern’s health and wellness program, WellNS, encourages employees to get regular medical screenings, become active, quit tobacco use, and make nutritious food choices.
Employees can earn points and pocket up to $500 a year by walking, participating in healthy activities, and tracking their health. “HealthZone” stations at 50 locations across the system enable employees to monitor their weight, blood pressure, and body mass index.
Teams of 10 or more employees can compete to benefit nonprofit organizations with a $1,000 donation through WellNS.
Norfolk Southern offered Pilates, Zumba, and power abs in our Norfolk, Roanoke, and Atlanta offices, and in the training center in McDonough, Ga.
WellNS personnel, as part of annual efforts to promote WellNS and employee involvement, targeted Chattanooga, Tenn., and Roanoke, Va.
Norfolk Southern added a WellNS position to promote employee health at the company’s training center in McDonough.
The American Heart Association recognized Norfolk Southern as a Platinum Fit-Friendly Worksite for encouraging physical activity and health in the workplace.
Healthy in Atlanta
Norfolk Southern ranked No. 3 among large Atlanta companies in the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2014 Healthiest Employers awards. The journal cited the company’s WellNS health program and partnership with Virgin Pulse to encourage employees to get active and lead healthy lifestyles.
Norfolk Southern introduced WellNS in 2008, and Jim Welch has become a champion of the voluntary health and wellness program. For his efforts raising awareness among employees, Welch earned a 2014 SPIRIT Award, which recognizes employees who exemplify our core values of Safety, Performance, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork.
Jim Welch is senior general foreman at Norfolk Terminal’s rail car shop. He never thought much about his health until he and his wife brought a new daughter into the world four years ago.
“We’d been married 13 years and always wanted a child,” he said. The couple had success through in vitro fertilization, and, at age 50, Welch entered the world of fatherhood.
With a cholesterol level over 300, putting him at a higher risk of heart attack, Welch decided the day his child was born that something had to change. “I realized I needed to live to be 100 because of this little girl,” he said.
He decided to attend a Weight Watchers at Work program introduced at the terminal by the company’s WellNS program. In 17 weeks, he shed 30 pounds. Over time, his cholesterol dropped by more than 100 points, without medication. He’s now a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, and, even though he has met many of his personal health goals, he continues going to the terminal’s weekly meetings. He weighs in and devotes himself to inspiring employees to adopt healthier lifestyles.
“Norfolk Southern pays half of the Weight Watchers program fee, and the employee pays half,” he said, calling it a no-brainer to participate. The program at Norfolk Terminal, the company’s first on-site field Weight Watchers at Work group, has flourished, owing much of its success to Welch’s recruitment efforts. “I’ve worked with a lot of these people for 30 years, and I saw people who needed to consider making changes for their health. I talk to employees about being there for their kids and grandkids.”
Welch shares easy recipes for tasty and nutritional foods, promotes biweekly company-sponsored workout sessions, and shares fliers, tips for a healthier lifestyle, and PowerPoint presentations on WellNS.
“WellNS just shows you that Norfolk Southern cares about its employees and has made a commitment to their health,” Welch said. “Most of us who work here are shareholders, so it benefits all of us to maintain our health, reduce the company’s health care costs, and be accountable. Really, WellNS gives us an opportunity to be the best we can be.”
Norfolk Southern recognizes that keeping employees healthy and well is essential to the company’s success. For their efforts promoting health awareness, Vickie Carroll-White and Shawna Baines earned a 2014 SPIRIT Award, which recognizes employees who exemplify our core values of Safety, Performance, Integrity, Respect, Innovation, and Teamwork.
Vickie Carroll-White and Shawna Baines have had family members affected by cancer or heart disease, and they have made it a personal mission to raise awareness about lifestyle risks that can lead to those diseases.
The two women, who work in Norfolk Southern’s Human Resources Department, regularly team up to organize awareness campaigns for employees — Heart Health Awareness in February, Prostate Cancer Awareness in September, and Breast Cancer Awareness in October. Their efforts range from breakfasts and lunch-and-learn events to handing out health literature. They recruit doctors and nurses as guest speakers, and they once invited a comedian to a heart health event who spoke about “Laughter is Medicine.”
In September and October 2014, the women distributed more than 8,000 pamphlets from the American Cancer Society. As part of a “Real Men Wear Pink” event, they encouraged male employees to wear pink shirts to promote breast cancer awareness. CEO Wick Moorman participated, and Baines says employees emailed pictures of themselves in pink shirts. The women organized a similar “Go Red” day to kick off activities for Heart Health Awareness during February.
“I think promoting good health is very important to us as a company,” said Baines, a certified vocational provider for the company’s vocational rehabilitation program. “Raising awareness of health issues and encouraging healthy lifestyles builds and sustains value for the company and for employees.”
Baines and Carroll-White said all employees are company stakeholders and owe it to one another — and to their families — to take care of their health.
“If we have a healthy workforce, we’re going to have a more productive workforce and less absenteeism,” said Carroll-White, supervisor occupational health and a registered nurse. “That helps the company stay viable and supports sustainability.”