First came WiNS, then YoungNS, and then VeteraNS. Now there is GeneratioNS, Norfolk Southern’s newest employee resource group.
Open to all employees, GeneratioNS – aka GenNS – has a core focus on long-serving employees, and the hope is eventually to draw in NS retirees as well, said Marc Orton, director visual communications, a 20-year employee who chairs the group’s leadership council.
A primary mission of the group, which launched in Norfolk, is to give NS a competitive advantage by fostering professional development and the sharing of institutional knowledge and best practices, Orton said. For example, Orton is planning upcoming GenNS events to include members of WiNS, a networking group with a focus on female employees, and YoungNS, a group with a focus on young professionals at NS.
“This is an avenue for long-serving employees to share their knowledge and experience and an opportunity to promote networking across all generations at Norfolk Southern,” Orton said. It’s also a venue for informational sessions on issues that matter to older employees, he said.
The group’s first lunch-and-learn focused on Healthy Habits and included a visit by representatives from Whole Foods and a regional hospital. An upcoming session will focus on finances, including investing and planning for retirement.
As of mid-January, the Norfolk group had nearly 120 members, with Jeff Heller, vice president intermodal and automotive marketing, serving as the group’s executive sponsor. Eventually, Orton hopes other work locations across the network will adopt a GenNS chapter. He also hopes that GeneratioNS will become a venue for the company to remain connected to retirees.
“When someone retires, all their experience and valuable information leaves the building,” Orton said. “If we can find a way to interact regularly with retirees, we have an opportunity to pass along all that knowledge. GeneratioNS could help keep them within earshot of the company.”