More women joining operations workforce
In 2015, Norfolk Southern hired record numbers of female conductor trainees and management trainees. More than 28 percent of management trainees hired during the year – 48 out of 169 – were women, while more than 7 percent of conductor trainees – 154 out of 2,102 – were female.
“We’re better as a company when we have women involved in our operations because of the diversity of views and experience,” said Mike Wheeler, chief operating officer. “A gender-diverse workforce brings good ideas and viewpoints to the table, which leads to better results.”
At NS’ fifth annual “Women in Field Operations” conference in April 2016, 90 female field supervisors from across the company had a chance to network and talk with senior executives, including CEO Jim Squires, Wheeler, and operations department vice presidents. Attendees included management trainees, yardmasters and trainmasters, mechanical and track supervisors, and chief dispatchers.
Over the two-day session, company executives discussed how these female workplace leaders can positively impact safety, service, and stewardship at NS. Other topics included career development and women in leadership.
“We were fortunate to have this opportunity. This was clearly important to Norfolk Southern, and it was very effective for the women there. Women do feel supported,” said Cassandra Mullee, an eight-year employee who joined as a management trainee. She has advanced to assistant superintendent of Shire Oaks Yard in Pennsylvania, where she oversees trainmasters and around 250 train and engine employees.
Women entering our ranks:
trainees were women
trainees were women
Overall, females comprise 5 percent of NS’ unionized workforce and 20 percent of management employees. “NS is making progress to grow those numbers,” said Annie Adams, vice president human resources.
“Being able to compete for the best talent is critical to Norfolk Southern’s success,” Adams said. “Events like the Women in Field Operations session demonstrate the commitment of the operations departments’ vice presidents to retaining and developing women as leaders in field operations.”
In Atlanta, a taste of India
Since 2011, employees in Norfolk Southern’s Atlanta Midtown office building have celebrated Diwali, courtesy of Indian colleagues who share the culture, clothing, and foods of India. About 80 employees and contractors of Indian heritage contributed to the 2015 celebration.
The celebration underscores the goals of the grassroots diversity and inclusion councils that NS established in its operating divisions in 2015.
“The whole idea is to give everybody else insight into our culture and to make everyone realize that we can come from all over the world, but basically we’re all the same,” said Rajshree Doshi, technology analyst.
Many employees wore traditional Indian clothing, including such non-Indians as Fred Ehlers, vice president IT. Ehlers, attending his second Diwali event, said the Atlanta celebration is special because it is an employee initiative.
“This is the best kind of diversity event because it happened on its own without prompting from the company,” Ehlers said. “It grew organically from a group of folks who share their culture and their heritage with the rest of us. It’s a great time to meet and interact with your co-workers.”
Military Friendly®, a division of Victory Media, named Norfolk Southern to its 2016 Top 100 Military Friendly employers. The rankings are based on an annual survey that assesses a company’s long-term commitment to recruit, hire, and retain former military personnel; policies for Reserve/Guard members called to active duty; and the presence of military recruitment and support programs.
In 2015, Norfolk Southern hired 509 military veterans – 15 percent of total hires during the year.
Norfolk Southern was the only railroad named a 2016 Top 50 Employer by readers of Careers & the Disabled Magazine. Readers were asked to name companies they’d most like to work for or that they believe provide a positive working environment for people with disabilities.