BNSF’s Minot Gavin Yard team in North Dakota boosts new-hire training. Also, CN and Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) are recognized as two of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2024.
“Like all operations teams on our network, new members of the Minot Gavin Yard team attend BNSF’s required technical and hands-on training, but they wanted more,” BNSF reported in a Nov. 18 LinkedIn post. “Team leadership wanted their new hires to be at their best when it comes to building relationships, so they started a new one-day, human focused training session.”
In the training, new hires learn about BNSF-provided resources, including the Employee Assistance Program and suicide prevention training, and discuss difficult situations, including recent operating incidents, approaching others about safety, and recent personal challenges outside the workplace, according to the Class I. Leading the charge in establishing this “more personalized approach” to training were Josh Laidlaw, conductor and local union chairman in Minot, and Dave McCann, Superintendent of Operations II.
“We are here to support each other, in good times and bad,” Laidlaw said. “In addition to teaching operating rules, forging new relationships ultimately and undeniably leads to an all-around safer work environment.”
“The railroad culture and operating environment were new to me and completely different than any other experience I’ve had in the past,” reported BNSF conductor Ryan Eley, who has just over a year of experience with the railroad. “With the right people and a strong communications culture, it made it a lot easier to learn a new craft. BNSF’s focus on safety was the deciding factor for why I came to work for this railroad.”
The 24th annual list “recognizes employers with exceptional human resources programs and forward-thinking workplace policies,” according to Toronto, Canada-based Mediacorp. Editors review employers on eight criteria: (1) Workplace; (2) Work Atmosphere & Social; (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits; (4) Vacation & Time Off; (5) Employee Communications; (6) Performance Management; (7) Training & Skills Development; and (8) Community Involvement. Any employer with its head office or principal place of business in Canada may apply for the national competition. Additionally, employers of any size are eligible, whether private or public sector.
According to Mediacorp, following are among the reasons why CN was selected:
- “CN invests in ongoing professional development with employees logging over 900,000 hours in training in 2022—the company offers a range of in-house and specialized training programs, the ‘My 360’ online platform with tools and resources for individual career management, and access to e-learning content through partnerships with Skillsoft and Percipio.
- “CN recognizes exceptional performance through the peer-nominated People Awards for Excellence and maintains a dedicated safety recognition awards program called ‘Looking Out for Each Other’ to highlight efforts to make the workplace safer and to encourage employees to step up if they see a safety hazard.
- “CN operates the impressive Employees’ and Pensioners’ Community Fund, which has raised more than $19 million over the past decade for Canadian charities supporting health and research, community well-being, children and humanitarian aid concerns—and also manages the Stronger Communities Fund, donating over $15-million last year in support of hundreds of community partners.”
CPKC was selected for these reasons, among others, Mediacorp said:
- “CPKC encourages ongoing professional development throughout employees’ careers, from in-house apprenticeships (railcar and diesel mechanic roles) to leadership development programs, along with tuition subsidies (to C$5,000) for courses related and not directly related to their current positions.
- “CPKC helps employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan—employees can also participate in a share purchase plan to enhance their savings.
- “CPKC matches 100% of all employee donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada or the American Heart Association as part of its charitable program, CPKC Has Heart, which focuses on improving the heart health of adults and children across North America—the initiative has raised over $33-million since the program’s inception.”
“Winning employers inherently understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Richard Yerema, Executive Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. “The best employers have always been adaptable and proactive when listening to what employees need, want and value in doing their jobs. This has been especially important over the past few years, with employees working overtime to manage the challenges and rapid change in work styles, while ensuring their organizations stay relevant and thrive.”
CN reported its achievement in a Nov. 18 LinkedIn post, noting that it “is a testament to the unwavering dedication and hard work of our exceptional team of railroaders, who actively engage in diverse programs, champion our local communities, and drive our success.”
Commented CPKC via social media platform X on Nov. 17: “Our railroaders are the heart and soul of North America’s supply chain, and they make #CPKC a place that brings out everyone’s best.”