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Better Workforce

Engagement &
Retention

Communication

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.

Houston Employee Survey Highlights (66% RESPONSE RATE)
91%
FEEL TRUSTED to make good decisions about where and when to work
93%
HAVE EASY ACCESS to resource/technology in the office
63%
feel that Waste Management is anINSPIRING PLACE to work that invests in its people
76%
FEEL EASILY RECOGNIZED by colleagues when passing them in the hallway
Word to describe Waste Management:
#1 FAMILY
#2 FRIENDLY

We surveyed all Waste Management Market Areas to gauge the effectiveness of our community support programs, with a response rate validating the information as representative of all areas of our operations. 82 percent of employees rated Waste Management’s overall community support as good or very good. The rating for specific programs (charitable donations, Wildlife Habitat Council and Keep America Beautiful) scored even higher at 89 percent positive. In a striking finding, only 2 percent of those surveyed believed company efforts to benefit the communities where they do business were “unimportant.” We also solicited input on the kind of activities the company supports (e.g., environmental, safety, youth programs) to align our community engagement to employee priorities.

In addition, we issued a talent retention survey earlier this year to nonexempt front-line employees via text message. The survey was sent to drivers, technicians, dispatch and equipment operators. For employees who opted out of receiving text messages or did not have a cellphone number on file, the survey was also delivered via paper format. Hourly employees with a Waste Management e-mail address received the survey electronically.

We conduct department-specific engagement surveys as well as the broader, cross-functional surveys. One business segment conducts an annual electronic survey to find the locations with lower expressed employee satisfaction in order to devote resources to improve training and communications. Another segment conducts in-person “Stay Interviews” to elicit insight into employee concerns, satisfactions and perspectives on what makes Waste Management a good place to work, as well as why an employee might choose to leave.

Looking ahead, we are researching ways to further enhance employee engagement, including continually improving our culture as well as our use of technology and our physical work environment. Each of these affect social collaboration and networking across functions and geography and will have a long-term impact on our ability to retain employees and attract the next generation of Waste Management workers. The results will inform our engagement framework for 2019.