Five Elements of a Great Patriot Rail & Ports Employee
Our mission at Patriot Rail and Ports is “To develop innovative solutions and create value for customers, stakeholders, and employees as North America’s safest, most reliable rail and ports company.” It takes people to put this vision into practice. The available roles at our many railroads, ports, and storage facilities across the country are as varied as our product offerings.
Regardless of position, we have found success putting the right associates in the right situations by identifying safety, communication, teamwork, understanding, and happiness as the five characteristics of a great Patriot employee.
Seaonus Cold Storage First Shift Operations Manager Derek “DJ” Johnson can’t say enough positive things about his team’s strength, efficiency, and effort. He elaborated on each of the five elements that set Patriot associates apart in a recent conversation.
Not surprisingly, safety was the first thing DJ mentioned.
“We focus on safety here,” he said. “We have a lot of people moving around on the dock, and there are a lot of different ways to cause an accident. Once you have an accident, you can’t go back, and I want everyone to go home in the same shape they came in.”
The team must communicate with one another to ensure they are operating safely, but effective communication impacts virtually every other aspect of the business. Efficiency and customer service are two prominent areas where being on the same page is critical.
DJ elaborated, “we have to communicate with one another on the dock, but we also have to communicate with the customer service team. They know specifically what the client wants, and it’s up to us to execute. Once I have clear instruction on a ticket from upstairs, it’s my job to make sure that whoever gets assigned knows exactly what they are doing. You make a lot of people, most importantly, the customer, very happy when things are done right the first time. So I preach communication to avoid mistakes.”
Hundreds of orders come through the warehouse, and we load and unload tons of cargo there daily. When everyone is working together towards clearly stated objectives, a natural sense of camaraderie develops. Without every associate working together as a team, it would not be possible to achieve our goals.
“I always tell the team,” DJ said, “if you see somebody needs help, get over there and help them. Don’t wait, don’t drive by him, or walk past. Getting help when you need it and giving help when you can is very important. This teamwork brings everyone closer together.”
Patriot team members are given vast amounts of information daily. Our managers believe it is important for associates to fully understand their assigned tasks and the short and long-term goals of the facility. We want our operators to know how to do the job efficiently and safely and the many reasons why it is crucial to focus and execute.
“We meet every morning to go over safety and goals,” DJ related. “And then when I’m giving out tickets for the guys to take care of, I make sure they understand what they’re looking at and why it has to be done right. I hope they ask questions. I want them to. That means it’s as important to them to get it done right as it is to our customers.”
Knowing that you are cared for as an individual by your supervisor and team leads to happiness on the job. The work we do at Patriot is strenuous and dangerous, and performing it with others naturally builds trust and friendships that extend beyond the workplace.
“We work hard,” DJ continued, ‘but we care about each other, and that’s what makes it enjoyable. At the end of the day, when our customers are taken care of, and we all worked together to make them happy, we’re happy. The more challenging the job, the more satisfying it is to get it done.”
It’s easy to see how the five definitive traits of a great Patriot employee are intertwined. No one of these elements could exist without the other four. For example, happiness is derived from working in a safe environment where communication is effective, the team works together, and they understand what needs to be done to create positive experiences for our customers.
Likewise, no individual associate could be successful without the support of every other member of their team. Associates who bring safety, communication, teamwork, understanding, and happiness to work with them every day enable us to consistently deliver on our mission.