Recognized as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 30, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Canadian National Railway / CN was selected as one of Montreal's Top Employers (2019):
- Through the company's health and wellness program, CN organizes a number of initiatives to support healthy habits and active living throughout the year, including a 1-month wellness challenge with employees tallying nearly 411-million steps (the equivalent of travelling across CN's entire rail network 10 times)
- CN cultivates an ownership mentality through a share purchase plan, available to all employees, and encourages employees to save for the future through the security of a defined benefit pension plan
- CN operates the impressive employee and pensioner-run "Community Fund", which has raised more than $16.7-million over the past decade -- and also manages the "Railroaders in the Community" program to provide grants to charitable organizations where employees, their families, and retirees volunteer their time
CN is on track in developing its people for success
Employee development and support are among the touchstones at CN, North America's only transcontinental railway and supply-chain service company. Despite its size - with more than 16,000 Canadian staff and close to 2,000 full-time employees in Montreal - CN manages to be employee-focused.
"The root of CN is the people," says Catherine Corbeil, who is based at CN's Montreal headquarters. "The company invests a lot in its employees."
Corbeil, the delivery lead for an internet technology initiative called the Enable Program, cites her own trajectory at CN as an example: she started as a computer programming graduate and moved up through the ranks, taking advantage of multiple training opportunities. "At CN, you'll have more than just a job - we'll help you grow and develop as professionals and build a rewarding career," she says.
Annual check-ins on employees' career development plans are a huge boon, she adds. "We look at how people are growing as individuals. We're really focused on expanding our employees' skill sets and aligning them with opportunities." CN recognizes that its success as a company depends largely on how it develops its people and helps them achieve their full potential.
Joy Lynn Datinguinoo says she's also benefited from CN's commitment to employee growth. As the test lead of IT application management and delivery, Datinguinoo has advanced her career at CN amid dramatic transformation in the company's digital arm, which has come to embrace leading-edge technology.
Apart from her work, Datinguinoo is proud of the company's commitment to the community, and she regularly participates in charitable events through the CN Employees' and Pensioners' Community Fund. Over the past 10 years, the fund has raised more than C$14.7 million in support of a range of non-profit organizations to help the less fortunate in Canada.
Recently, she brought two teenage cousins to Montreal's Light the Night Walk to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, which is supported by the CN Employees' and Pensioners' Community Fund. "I'm so happy that the warmth of the CN community means family members are welcome at these events," she says. "Being Filipina, I'm from a culture that's deeply rooted in family."
Corbeil and Datinguinoo also cite a plethora of advantages as reasons for choosing CN, including the company share program, robust benefits, onsite daycare and the gym at the Montreal headquarters, where a variety of fitness courses and equipment are available.
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 1, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Canadian National Railway / CN was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018):
- CN created the Aspire program in 2012 to help educate young women about opportunities in the railroad industry, and to encourage them to consider careers in non-traditional roles -- the company also maintains a dedicated internship program to provide women with exposure to transportation, mechanical, engineering, and intermodal disciplines
- Along with the formation of a diversity task force, CN produces quarterly diversity report cards to help track the organization's progress to achieving diversity goals -- report cards include information on recruitment, hiring, workforce representation versus market availability and outreach activities with community partners
- CN works with Canada Company, a non-partisan organization that connects businesses and community leaders with the Canadian military -- the company participates in the Military Employment Transition program and attends annual networking events to connect with veterans and reservists
CN signals its commitment to inclusion
At CN, Helen Genoway works in an operations environment where she doesn't think about her gender. As Senior Manager Autoport, Eastern Region, she oversees the complex activities of hundreds of CN and Autoport employees and suppliers.
"I pitch in and help with the offloading when things are really busy or there are challenges," she says. "I don't see myself as a woman in Operations. I am recognized for what I contribute, and my gender is not a factor. It is hard work, but at the end of each day, I can see the fruits of my labour. When I go home, I feel like I have made a difference."
Genoway has been with CN for 17 years, starting as a truck dispatcher for Intermodal (CN's container traffic) and later working in Sales, Marketing, Human Resources and Operations. "Unlike a small company, CN has many departments," she says. "You can move around, trying new things. CN is fabulous at training and developing people. I have never experienced any barriers to advancement because of my gender."
The Montreal-headquartered company is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive work force. "Diversity provides us with a wider range of ideas and perspectives," says Mike Cory, Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. "This increases the effectiveness of our decision-making, helping to foster innovation."
CN's strategic diversity and inclusion plan has a number of initiatives to increase diversity, including ensuring that 50 per cent of the candidates interviewed for any position are from diverse backgrounds. This requires efforts to reach out to diverse groups through their social media channels and their associations.
For example, CN draws on its relations with Aboriginal communities along its route to encourage the hiring of Aboriginal peoples and has close to 650 Aboriginal employees working in Canada.
So far this year, 35 per cent of CN's new hires were from diverse backgrounds, and approximately one-third of those diversity hires were women. "This is a transportation and logistics company, and we don't want the women we hire limited to office jobs," says Cory. "We want them to be comfortable whether driving an engine, working on the track or on our IT systems. And we want to see more women rising to leadership positions. In 2016, around 20 per cent of our promotions in Canada were filled by women."
Through its workplace culture of continuous learning, CN helps employees develop their skills. "The company is very interested in investing in long-term, sustainable, experienced employees," says Genoway. "I have taken many training and development courses that CN has offered over the years."
In addition to development courses, another key channel for the success of diverse groups is mentoring, either by leaders or peer to peer. "In one sense, there is equal opportunity, and in another sense, we make sure that people who start from a tougher position receive help and coaching so that they can succeed," says Cory.
Mentoring has played an important role in Genoway's advancement. "I had great leaders who took the time to mentor me," she recalls. Early in her career, her manager "saw something in me and pushed me forward. That was a turning point for me."
Later, when she was an entry-level manager at Intermodal, her boss also encouraged her, telling her she had much more potential than she realized. "I have a lot to pay forward," she says.