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At WM we are focused on putting people first, which includes our nearly 50,000 employees.
We offer employees competitive wages and benefits, including medical, critical illness, dental and prescription drug coverage; short- and long-term disability coverage; life insurance and accidental death benefits; retirement plans; and a stock purchase plan. The WM Health and Welfare Benefits Plan allows employees to choose from different levels and types of coverage. This allows each employee to put together a mix of benefits to meet their needs while receiving significant tax advantages by paying for benefits on a pre-tax basis (as allowed by law).
WM pays the full cost to provide employees with short-term disability benefits, long-term disability benefits, basic life insurance for the employee and their dependents, legal services, and employee and family assistance benefits. The costs for medical and dental coverage are shared with employees, with WM picking up a majority of the premium expense. The company offers other important benefits such as legal services (e.g., wills, powers of attorney), flexible spending accounts, adoption assistance, paid vacation and holidays, employee discounts, education savings accounts, student loan refinancing services, a second opinion service and scholarship programs. As the age distribution of our employees changes, we have more employees caring for children and aging parents. The company offers subsidized back-up childcare and elder care to help employees smoothly handle their responsibilities
One of the most unique benefit offerings WM provides is the Guild Education benefit. This benefit provides employees and their eligible dependents the opportunity to go to college or receive other types of certificates and certifications for free—WM pays the cost.
We also provide plans to help employees save for their future. The WM retirement savings plan provides employees with diversified fund options to invest in for retirement. Employees can choose to make pre-tax and/or after-tax (Roth) contributions, with the company providing a market-competitive match with immediate vesting. Employees receive free investment advice through a call center staffed with licensed advisors, as well as through a suite of online tools. Another valuable program is our Employee Stock Purchase Plan, which provides employees an opportunity to buy shares of WM common stock at a discount of 15% or more.
We are particularly proud of our wellness programs. Our team of “Get Well Guides”— nurses, coaches, dietitians, clinicians and financial counselors—help employees and their families access the help they may need for a variety of life challenges. Employees can dial a toll-free number for confidential support and assistance from reliable, compassionate professionals. Employees and their families also have access to 2nd.MD, a virtual expert second opinion service that provides real-time consultation with doctors specializing in a variety of practices.
Financial wellness and emotional health have been on the forefront of WM well-being. To provide additional support and resources in these areas we have added LegalEASE and Calm for all WM benefit eligible employees and dependents. The LegalEASE plan provides personal estate planning, legal, financial and identity theft services. Calm is the No. 1 app for sleep, meditation and relaxation, and is available—at no cost—to all WM benefits-eligible team members and their families
Through the WM Wellness Champ initiative, representatives at sites spearhead activities such as Couch-to-5K, fruit and vegetable challenges, tobacco cessation programs and “Biggest Loser”-style challenges at their sites, all with the goal of developing a culture of well-being. The Well Worksite Program recognizes WM sites that demonstrate a commitment to fostering a workplace that encourages and promotes well-being.
Our wellness programs also include some on-site flu vaccination clinics and health fairs where we provide blood pressure tests, blood lipid tests and other screenings that aid in the early detection of health risks. A health coach also meets individually with all participants to review their results and suggest action items to improve their health.
Learning and Development
WM offers expansive learning and development solutions to meet the needs of our people at all levels and is an important way we maximize engagement and retention. WM’s workforce of nearly 50,000 includes a wide range of roles that require an even wider variety of skill sets, so our training programs are equally varied.
Training types fall into a few broad categories:
- New hire onboarding programs--Tailored specifically to critical roles within our collection and fleet operations, post-collection operations, customer experience, and sales
- Development Trainee Programs—Designed for new hires and existing employees who will complete a role-based, experiential trainee program and then succeed in that role
- Compliance training—Conducted upon hire and annually/bi-annually; required of all employees, such as training in WM’s Code of Conduct and Cybersecurity
- Safety training--Conducted upon hire and ongoing, especially geared toward drivers, fleet technicians, heavy equipment operators, and sorters
- Environmental Excellence--Required of employees in specific roles focusing on environmental compliance
- Frontline Leadership Program-- Immersive learning experiences designed for leaders across all business units
- Professional development--A self-service learning experience that enables employees to develop and upskill their professional and business skills
At WM, entry-level jobs are a foot in the door to a new career. We developed online and experiential development trainee programs to provide new hires with skills in leadership and operationally critical areas throughout our business. We hire with this focus on training and development to help our employees grow, develop confidence, learn and practice new skills, and achieve their career goals. Some of these development trainee programs include:
|Name of Development Program||Target Audience||Description|
|Name of Development Program Disposal Operations Management Program (DOMT)||Name of Development Program New management trainees developing into landfill operations and/or district manager roles||Description An 18-month in-depth technical training program designed to provide new hires with the skills needed to fill operationally critical positions at our landfills.|
|Name of Development Program Route Manager Training Program (RMT)||Name of Development Program New route manager trainees||Description A 20-week program designed to provide new Route Manager Trainees with the skills to lead, grow and coach our drivers to continued success.|
|Name of Development Program Fleet Manager Training Program (FMT)||Name of Development Program New fleet manager trainees||Description A 12-month program designed to provide the skills to operate a fleet maintenance site successfully.|
|Name of Development Program Engineering Development Program||Name of Development Program New engineers within WM’s landfills||Description Trains new engineers at WM in the complex challenges of building and maintaining landfills to the highest industry standards.|
|Name of Development Program Gas Operations Management Training||Name of Development Program New management trainees developing into gas operations and/or other roles within Renewable Energy||Description An 18-24 month program customized for each participant interested in pursuing a management role in our gas operations or Renewable Energy areas.|
|Name of Development Program Gas Operations Technician Training||Name of Development Program New Gas Operation Technicians||Description An instructor-led technical training program designed to provide the skills to operate landfill gas, methane, and electrical generation systems.|
|Name of Development Program Sustainability Rotation Program||Name of Development Program WM employees with a desire to have a career in Sustainability||Description This is a two-year rotational program to help provide employees a career path into a sustainability career, providing training and broader exposure to WM’s sustainability lines of business.|
|Name of Development Program Associate Project Manager||Name of Development Program New project managers within Sustainability Services||Description An 8-month program designed to provide our sustainability services operations team with the skills necessary to work and sit onsite with clients and manage their waste streams.|
Leading Today, For Tomorrow® is WM’s leadership development program for all levels of leadership, starting with frontline supervisors and managers. Below are some of the WM’s leadership programs:
- Frontline Servant Leadership is a fully integrated, 26-week program that helps leaders at all levels develop the foundational skills required to lead people at WM.
- The Emerging Leader Program seeks to identify, train, mentor, and coach high-potential mid-level leaders to ensure their readiness for future leadership opportunities at WM. Through this 8-month cohort program, we are investing in our leaders today for tomorrow's challenges to sustain and grow our business in a hyper-competitive environment.
- Aspiring to be a Servant Leader is a self-guided online learning journey for individual contributors interested in learning more about servant leadership.
WM encourages employees to develop their careers and provides various training, tools, and resources to help them grow their potential. Below are a few examples:
- Develop Your Potential is a series of monthly and quarterly virtual instructor-led course offerings to all WM employees on topics ranging from communication and self-awareness to mastering emotional intelligence.
- WM’s Mentoring Program is a relationship between a mentor and mentee with professional and personal development goals. Mentors help our mentees explore where they are in their careers, where they want to go, and ways they might get there.
- WM’s Digital Learning Journeys ate learning facilitated by technology. It allows WM employees to learn about various topics relevant to their development needs at their own pace, anytime, and place.
- Professional Safety Leadership is a monthly virtual refresher training on DOT topics and SAFETY defensive driving.
- Waste Watch® trains drivers in neighborhood watch skills to be vigilant for unsafe or suspicious activities.
To develop effective training program WM uses design thinking, which is a problem-solving approach widely used in various industries, including learning and development. It focuses on understanding the needs of the end-users and creating solutions that meet those needs effectively. In the context of WM learning assets, design thinking allows us to create engaging and impactful learning experiences by putting our WM learners at the center of our design process. At WM, design thinking involves the following:
- User-Centered Approach: Design thinking begins by empathizing with the learners and understanding their needs, motivations, and challenges. By gaining insights into their perspectives, we can develop learning assets that resonate with them and address their specific requirements. This approach ensures that our learning experiences are meaningful and relevant to the learners' context.
- Iterative Process: Design thinking embraces an iterative and flexible process. We don't aim for a one-size-fits-all solution right from the start. Instead, we develop prototypes and gather feedback from learners throughout the design process. This allows us to refine and improve the learning assets based on real-world insights and user input. Iteration helps us avoid assumptions and create more effective learning experiences.
- Creativity and Innovation: Design thinking encourages a creative and innovative mindset. We explore multiple possibilities and generate ideas to solve learning challenges. By thinking outside the box, we can develop novel approaches, interactive elements, and engaging formats that enhance the learning experience. Design thinking helps us break conventional methods and push the boundaries of what's possible in learning design.
- Collaboration and Multidisciplinary Approach: Design thinking promotes collaboration among diverse stakeholders. We involve subject matter experts, instructional designers, graphic designers, and even learners in the design process. By bringing together different perspectives and expertise, we can create learning assets that are comprehensive, well-rounded, and cater to a wide range of learning styles and preferences.
- Continuous Improvement: Design thinking emphasizes continuous improvement and learning from failures. We understand that not every idea or design will be perfect initially, but by embracing a mindset of experimentation and learning, we can evolve and enhance our learning assets over time. This iterative approach enables us to adapt to changing needs, incorporate feedback, and stay updated with the latest trends and technologies in the learning field.
Using design thinking to create learning assets, we can ensure that our WM learning experiences are effective, engaging, and learner-centric. It enables us to deliver impactful learning outcomes and support the development and growth of our WM employees in a meaningful way.
We continue to fully support our employees’ rights under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, which includes the right to self-organization; to form, join or assist labor organizations; to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing; and the right to refrain from such activities. Our company policies and procedures adhere to all applicable domestic laws concerning freedom of association, nondiscrimination, forced labor and underage workers in the workplace.
We are currently signatory to 144 separate collective bargaining agreements in the U.S. and Canada, covering approximately 17% of our workforce. In 2022, there were no work stoppages, strikes or lockouts.
Reorganization is a fact of life in a rapidly changing, dynamic business sector. WM provides transition assistance, including severance benefits and outplacement services, to eligible employees whose employment is terminated in connection with a reorganization event.
Peer Review Program
Our Peer Review program is an innovative, industry-first initiative designed to create a greater sense of job security and awareness by interjecting employees directly into the administration of our safety disciplinary policies and culture. It began as a joint effort between management and employees at a single hauling site to address safety-related issues and perceived inconsistent disciplinary practices.
In summary, employees who believe they are wrongly accused of a safety infraction can appeal that determination before a group of employees randomly selected from their worksite. After reviewing evidence presented by both the employee and management in an informal hearing, this group independently determines whether the evidence is sufficient to sustain management’s decision that the employee violated the work rule as alleged. This determination is made by secret ballot, with the results final and binding.