Engagement Through Communication
Employee compensation only goes so far, however, in engaging our workers. Creating a sense of teamwork and shared purposes is vital. Communication among company leaders and employees at all levels fosters honesty, accountability and respect — all critical to retention. Our senior leaders operate with an open door — and open email — policy. Each quarter, this team hosts a Town Hall-style meeting at our Houston headquarters. We have begun expanding participation throughout our operations through live streaming technology. Employees unable to attend also are invited to submit questions by email, and they receive direct responses. Responses to common questions are often included in our company’s weekly internal newsletter. In addition, a replay of the meeting is posted on the company’s intranet.
Our Waste Management Monday newsletter serves as a powerful tool to project company values as it arrives in inboxes and is posted in lunchrooms weekly. The newsletter includes stories on employee safety, leader communications, potential job hazards and — most importantly — employee success stories. We also update our workforce on key aspects of employee welfare, including benefits, career opportunities, and useful tools and tips for employees at work and elsewhere.
We emphasize engagement as a way to empower employees. We stress our commitment to fair treatment of all employees and strive to apply company policies consistently throughout the organization. For our union employees, this goal must be handled according to the practices and expectations agreed to within the collective bargaining unit. For non-union employees, we look for ways to reinforce our fair treatment and continuous-learning culture. Our Waste Management Drivers Council, for example, captures the wisdom of our front-line employees, who are represented by 17 drivers, one from each market area in the organization. In addition to providing us with feedback on removing barriers that prevent drivers from delivering exceptional customer service, we also have engaged the Council for ideas to help reduce voluntary turnover and promote the retention of drivers and technicians. Constant and collaborative engagement is also the foundation of our Service Delivery Optimization program; our Mechanic Service Delivery Optimization; our Peer Review safety program; our Sales Delivery Optimization program; and the fair treatment and respect that comes from the adherence to our Code of Conduct.
Gauging Our Progress
To make sure our engagement and retention efforts are meeting the needs of our workers, we ask for their feedback. In 2017, we completed a workplace study for our corporate headquarters. The study allowed us to evaluate our current work environment and better understand how we interact and engage to support field operations. This involved measuring space utilization, conducting visioning and focus group sessions with corporate employees and conducting an employee survey.