Norfolk Southern Reviews | Glassdoor

Norfolk Southern Reviews

Updated December 4, 2017
84 reviews

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Norfolk Southern Chairman, President and CEO James A. Squires
James A. Squires
10 Ratings

84 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The pay and benefits were best of the best (in 57 reviews)

  • Good pay for what you actually do (in 75 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance is very one-sided (in 53 reviews)

  • Working long shifts and on call 24/7 365 (in 31 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Great Job but this is the worst company I have EVER worked for"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Railroad Conductor
    Current Employee - Railroad Conductor
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I work as a conductor soon to be locomotive engineer. Some good things about this job this job is
    -the pay is adequate for the work and the benefits are halfway decent.
    -has the most liberal policy for calling off work of anywhere I have worked.
    -riding around on a locomotive (if you are into that kind of stuff)
    - company paid training (abit pathetic though)

    Cons

    Like i said in the title, this is the worst employer I have EVER worked for. Employee morale is the absolute worst I have ever seen. Basically we don't have supervisors, we have rules enforcement police officers. Their ONLY job is to come out, watch you doing your job and FIND something wrong you are doing no matter how safe you are working. They TRY to find stuff to write you up and fire you for. Management is not out to improve you at your job, they are out to fire you. I have previous management experience and the approach to management here does NOT lead to a safe and productive work force. so here is my list of cons.
    -They try to fire you from the day you start
    -Hostile management
    -nasty toilets on the locomotives
    -work on call
    -Union representation is virtually non existant
    -can not use cell phone at work
    -spend half of your life or more in a motel
    -nobody is happy
    -do not feel at ALL valued as an employee
    -the company steals money from you.
    -tries to cover up injuries
    -VERY unsafe work environment. Safety is a joke here
    -the training program is pathetic
    -FORCED TO WORK tired
    - alot of backdoor politics here
    -expect to be laid off several times during your first 5 years
    -no brotherhood of employees whatsoever
    -having to tell people you know that you work for the freak show known as the railroad.

    Advice to Management

    As a former manager myself, I recommend you work WITH your employees and NOT against them. It is good for everyone and will MAKE the company money and keep people more productive.


  2. "The honest truth of NS"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time

    Pros

    Good pay and good benefits

    Cons

    There's a rulebook thicker than the Bible and if you mess up you're fired. Sometimes you don't even do anything wrong and you're still fired.

    Advice to Management

    Stay in the office and let the railroaders railroad.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Evil Company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Operations and Service Support in Atlanta, GA
    Current Employee - Operations and Service Support in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Health Benefits! I would love to say pay, but after railroad retirement and the government half your pay is gone

    Cons

    Discrimination and racism is only the tip of the iceberg! If you aren’t a white male you will be treated less than and it will be made clear that you are valued as less than!

    Advice to Management

    Stop hiring your kids, nieces, nephews and inlaws!


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Cut Throat & Stuffy"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Norfolk, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Norfolk, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Norfolk Southern full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Some nice people scattered throughout, decent pay

    Cons

    The company has lacked forward thinking and became a fat cat from being in bed with the coal industry for so long. They have been scrambling to get lean and not get purchased by larger railroads. The morale is terrible and is largely due to the toxic HR environment that radiates out to the rest of the company. They used to have a great wellness initiative but that went by the wayside. They have some nice company retreat locations but if you aren't a "chosen one" you don't ever get to go to them. They neglected minorities for so long that they are on a crusade to fast track them to management positions which has created great division in the company and doesn't help morale. There are many unhappy older people there holding on for the retirement that they squash any enthusiasm from young/fresh talent and ideas. Was a horrible place to work in the corporate environment.

    Advice to Management

    Overhaul HR, stop cutting benefits, promote a more liberal workplace that encourages team work. Stop promoting the squeaking wheels and promote the performers with good attitudes.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Might be a good place to start or short term."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Norfolk, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Norfolk, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time

    Pros

    Vacation. Some managers support work life balance (others watch the clock). CEO has done well playing to the shareholders.

    Cons

    Several groups have been outsourced or moved to another city with little notice. If you cannot move, you get nothing (your job was not abolished, just moved). No one knows who will be next and that does not make for a happy work environment. My department shuffles people regularly instead of focusing on your development goals. Very demotivating but very grateful to still have a job.

    Advice to Management

    Employees are no a commodity. You are not only losing bodies but also discretionary effort. Culture matters. RESPECT matters.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Conductor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Conductor in Missouri City, TX
    Current Employee - Conductor in Missouri City, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Not a whole lot of pros for working for this company. The medical benefits is the only thing decent and that is about to go to crap.

    Cons

    The biggest con is the fact you can be fired for the smallest rule infractions. Middle and upper management sucks.

    Advice to Management

    NS could be a a force to be reckoned with. BNSF and UP run trains NS don't. Let your Trainmasters run trains instead of one hundred other things. Do that and you'll be on top.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Train dispatcher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Train Dispatcher in Roanoke, VA
    Current Employee - Train Dispatcher in Roanoke, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Norfolk Southern full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Good pay and benefits are great

    Cons

    As an employee you are nothing to this company. The care nothing about you and it's very obvious. The would rather hire new employees than retain the ones they have. You are consistently subject to harsh dicaplinary action for honest mistakes. Do not waste your time with this company.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your people like you want them to work for you.

  8. "OSS"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Operation and Service Support in Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Operation and Service Support in Atlanta, GA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Norfolk Southern full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you like to learn about train operations

    Cons

    Where do I start due to high railroad taxes beaware that you are tax 25% weekly 50% biweekly so if you gross 2000 you are only paid $1000 every two weeks....health insurance sub par $250 a month single or family almost $90 a month union dues .30% for 4O1k no vision or eye care for a year...no parking for employees.., Most important no vacation for over a year and sometime a year and a half...no PTO at all only 5 sick days a year...

    Advice to Management

    Are kids in a nursery. One person assigned 4 Managers


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Customer service supervisor"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Norfolk Southern full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Its a job.... That's about it.

    Cons

    Good ole boy management. No opportunity for advancement. No work/ life balance.

    Advice to Management

    Promote based on performance instead of nepotism and cronyism.


  10. Helpful (3)

    "OST or Management trainees-Trainmaster...don't bother."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Trainmaster in Elkhart, IN
    Former Employee - Trainmaster in Elkhart, IN
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Norfolk Southern full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Some of the people you work with can be great. Others are okay. If it was a 40 hr work week, pay would be good (which it is not). The 2 weeks of vacation starts right after being hired. The 2 weeks of training in Norfolk VA was nice too. Sad but finally getting 1 day of is really nice. After that..it's all Cons.....

    Cons

    Lets see if I can list them all....
    You will work no less than 60 hours a week. At times it will be 84 hours, so all 7 days of the week. You might get a day off, maybe 2 off, but then you will work another 7-9 days. That's on the low end. It is definitely possible that you will work 9-14 days straight. And no care about how tired you are, over worked, mental or safety state. Zero.
    Like I mentioned, if it was a 40 hour work week, then yes, 30 an hour (though salary) would be nice. but since the average hourly week puts you at $14-$15 an hour...it's no where near worth it. You can work 7 days straight, have a day off but get called in..and you will come into work. And the person that called in better be dying cause if you're sick or hurt, you are still expected to come into work or get ready for a chewing.
    Micro-managing like I have ever seen in my life!! Everything you do is wrong. Even when you get trains out 95-100 %, you can always do better. Management at your Terminal, likes to tell you (and this is super rare) "good job on getting those trains out...BUT...you can do better!" At 100% and we can do better?? Give me a damn break, read a good book on Leadership and leave us alone. Let us do our job and stop breathing down our neck on every decision we make OR...the decision you made the day prior but somehow today, your same decision requires a phone call or IM, cursing...yes curing...me out...very unprofessional.
    Where you start at here in ELKHART, IN (purgatory) is not a Management job. Not even close. You are a high temp clerk, secretary, crew/taxy dispatcher, datasheets, turnover sheets, emailing constantly, IM'ing constantly and this is non stop for your whole shift. People calling you or upper management calling you to call this person (why they don't call...I have no clue), your cell is ringing, phone is ringing, and etc. You probably get 5 mins to eat your lunch and 1 mins to go use the bathroom. You are seriously swamped non stop. If you don't like to multitask with 8-10 non stop for 12 hours...not a job for you. But then remember, you are told that you are a Trainmaster..manager..over the Engineers and Conductors...better go do your make believe safety and rules checks. Oh...don't have time...better find a way or else. Or just lie about it, per your boss. But get caught...definitely fired and that boss knew nothing of the sort..... OR, you worked 10 days straight..that's ok, come in on your off day for 5-6 hours and do it.

    This is 110% the truth. When I got hired, I read all the good and the tons and tons of negative reviews about the position but blew it off. DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I MADE OR YOU WILL FIND A NEW JOB LIKE I DID, A YEAR AFTER BEING HIRED. ALL THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS ARE TRUE. THE POSITIVE ONES ARE PROBABLY FAKE, CREATED BY UPPER MANAGEMENT OR PEOPLE IN THE NICE OFFICE JOBS.
    Don't believe me. Just come to Elkhart or North in general and when you talk to everyone and you say "I'm a trainmaster" listen to what they say. Usually it's...run!, you won't be here for long, when are you quitting?, I feel sorry for you and so on......Truth.

    Advice to Management

    You have to supply the bigger HUMPS with more people or your management members are going to leave. This is why 4-5 OST's or management trainees and Leads quit in Elkhart each year.
    Stop screaming for all the rule checks or safety checks when we get zero time to get our there and accomplish them. We are so undermanned (critically) to the point that they want us to come in on our off days to do them. So work 9-14 days straight, tired as all can be, mentally drained...just to get around 10,000 tons of death???? Seriously??
    When you promote people to the next level....talk to everyone to see how that person truly is. Hire or promote someone that is a Manager AND Leader, not an Iron fist Manager that will run your managers off due to disrespect, micro-managing, talking about them behind their backs, sexist, tell you that you are doing wrong though connections are at 94% and the list goes on.
    Hire people that have been a trainmaster for a few years to these locations, like Elkhart. I can see why the new trainmasters quit. They see how horrible it is, look at how life will be (worn out looking trainmasters with zero moral) see that they will only make $14 an hour with the long days and hours.....and run. Sort of a Duh situation I would think but guess not.
    But I heard that this has been brought up to the higher ups in Dearborn but either you are being lied to for fear or reprisal or just don't care.
    If not...revolving trainmaster door....new come in...new goes out. And even some that have been around a few years will join them.


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