In a well-attended symposium, meeting the challenges of the changing work force was the primary focus of the Florida Diversity Council’s best practices discussion a week ago August 2, 2013. Presentations by Diana Sorfleet, Vice President and Chief HR Officer of the Chessie System Railway and the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad (CSX) and Ben Hawkins District Manager of Walgreens were informative and engaging.
Their thought provoking remarks were accompanied by power point illustrations showing the statistical changes in the racial and age demographics that are impacting the workplace and giving their organizations the opportunity to implement diversity calls to action.
CSX Corporation is one of the nation’s leading transportation suppliers providing rail based transportation services including traditional rail service and the transport of intermodal containers and trailers. Its network of 21,000 miles of track covers 23 states, the District of Columbia and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
In her talk extolling the corporation’s continual inclusion practices within to meet the progressive changes in society, Sorfleet pointed out the need for the work place to reflect the community. She gave examples of improvements in CSX’s diversity and inclusion performances such as providing safety gear made to fit women in the field and promoting from within the ranks. In comparing growth trends among the Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, Millennials and Traditionalists she concluded that by 2020 Millennials will represent 50 percent of the workforce. In 2045 the largest minority in the nation with be Hispanic.
Ben Hawkins, who is District Manager over 41 Walgreens establishments, spoke of the value brought to an organization when employees are retained. Walgreens which began in 1901 in Chicago by Charles R. Walgreen from Galesburg, Illinois is the largest drug retailing chain in the United States with 8300 stores in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam.
In addition to discussing strategies for promotion and diversity in upper and middle management positions, Hawkins described the newest trends in upcoming Walgreens’ improvements, citing the experimental model Chicago store on State Street that exemplifies 2 floors of appealing accessories: a Wellness Center, a hair salon, an ice-cream and sushi bar, along with many other additional luxuries to attract customers.
Both guests discussed and responded to questions regarding some of the difficulties of recruiting and retaining employees over the long haul and the perks their companies provide to maintain that coveted loyalty.