Award Winner Blog Series: Northern Rail Winner of Large Business of the Year 2017

The Northern Power Women Awards not only found a ream of inspirational individuals but also whole teams.

Northern Rail were right on track to win best large business at the awards and one member of the workforce, Nicola Hosty, who left school when she was 16, talks here about her dedication to achieving her career goals that has seen her rise to head of HR Support Services.

“I started work as a railway trainee; and I remember my father said to me if I wanted to have a career I needed to work hard, have a great attitude and keep my options open because anything is possible – there are no boundaries to what you can achieve.

“I always enjoyed sport at school, and was captain of various sporting teams, so I was really competitive. I think that this competitive nature came through in my career as well. I wanted to do well, I wanted to be a leader and I wanted to feel that whatever I did in my life would add value.

“I was also really inspired by Jane Tomlinson, who after being diagnosed with cancer, wanted to make a difference, rather than dwell on her illness. She had the idea to create the Jane Tomlinson charity and run all these various marathons and races raising money that would go back into research to find a cure for cancer, and that charity is still going strong now. Every so often, I run the Jane Tomlinson races in Leeds too. It helps remind me of her achievement.

“The thing that I am most proud of in my career is definitely the recent change of the brand of our EDI work from the label ‘Diversity’ to a more inclusive approach with the brand ‘Working Together’. This led to improved engagement internally, which led to the achievement of the Investors in Diversity/Leaders in Diversity accreditations – it is the pinnacle of years of hard work being recognised.

“Whoever said you can’t have diversity without inclusion was a very wise person.

“And it can be challenging when you come across people who are adverse to change and who rebel against continuous improvement and modernisation.

“But as a side note – another ‘punch in the air moment’ also happened recently. I asked a conductor, who is gay, since we started the Working Together initiative, has it made a difference to his daily job and he said: ‘Yes, at work I feel I can really be myself.’

“We are all delighted to have won the best large business award at NPW. By doing so, it gives the business a great platform to promote the brand, promote our inclusive employer status and shout out to other businesses how EDI can deliver fantastic business benefits.

“I would like to encourage leaders to invest in EDI and talk about it as a business priority, develop key performance targets, measure their results and talk about their results.

“The rail industry has a huge hole when it comes to female and BME workforce representation. The issue is ‘you can’t be, what you can’t see’ and my role is to promote this business and this industry and the value proposition to a wider net in order to build a railway the country is proud of. Our door is open to talent; whoever you are!”

For more information on what it is like to work at Northern, email Nicola at hr@northernrail.org or visit the website to browse the variety of careers on offer at northernrailway.co.uk

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