Norfolk Southern’s Thoroughbred Code of Ethics has a new look, but the purpose of this “old friend” remains the same: To outline the company’s high standards of business conduct – and provide a guide to help employees make the right decisions.
Employees soon will receive the updated code in the mail. Every NS employee – agreement and nonagreement, entry level to senior executive – has a responsibility to read and know what is in the code, said Wayne Lockwood, NS director ethics compliance.
“Our Thoroughbred Code of Ethics is important because it sets the ethical tone of how we get our jobs done every day,” Lockwood said. “It’s about integrity and respect in how we treat each other in the workplace, in how we treat our customers, and in how we treat suppliers, contractors, and even competitors.”
Typically updated every two to three years, the code is both a valuable work tool and a resource for employees to use if they have questions or concerns about issues that arise on the job, Lockwood said. The most significant content update is the addition of a section on inclusion, which is a key component of NS’ workplace diversity policies, Lockwood said.
“The diversity and inclusion effort is partially about how we treat each other and work together,” he said. “As a company we’re making great strides in that area.”
Another update is the addition of a “SPIRIT” key that highlights which of the company’s SPIRIT values – safety, performance, integrity, respect, innovation, teamwork – are best represented within each section of the code. There’s also a new message from CEO Wick Moorman, who reminds employees that protecting the company’s good name means more than just doing the right thing: “It’s about upholding the core values that make us proud to say we work here.”
Most of the other changes in the update reflect efforts to improve the code’s readability and make it more visually engaging. The update, for instance, is packed with photos of employees at work. In addition, colorful graphics and design by NS’ creative services team draw attention to key information.
Employees can protect themselves and the company by using the code. Every year, Lockwood said, NS investigates possible ethics violations involving such things as misuse of company assets and fraud involving company credit cards, payroll, and suppliers.