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Inclusion, Equity & Diversity
It’s essential that our workforce, from the frontline to executive leadership, reflect the diverse customers and neighbors who make up our communities.
Inclusion, Equity & Diversity (IE&D) are fundamental values, as described in our Code of Conduct. WM continues to assess our goals to make improvements in future years.
Embedding IE&D Across WM
In 2021 we launched two new Impact Groups to further foster a culture of inclusion and belonging. WEN, the Women’s Empowerment Network, and Tapestry, the multicultural employee resource group are led by Impact Group Chairs located in each of our 18 market areas and are focused on supporting employees with professional development, cultural awareness and advocacy, increasing frontline employee engagement, and building external partnerships. Business Champions aligned to each market area provide guidance and serve as advisors to each Impact Group’s strategic business plan. In 2022, we will launch two new Impact Groups, Prism (LGBTQ+) and Veterans.
Members of the Women’s Empowerment Network hosted an event to celebrate Women’s History Month in March, encouraging conversation and dialogue around Resetting the Table for Women.
Our IE&D Leadership Council, sponsored by members of WM’s Senior Leadership Team, continues to work to evaluate policies, practices and procedures, and offers recommendations in areas of education, training, talent development, recruitment and partnerships to ensure that our IE&D efforts are sustainable and are tied to our business strategy. The IE&D Leadership Council provides a quarterly report on enterprise-wide progress to the Senior Leadership Team, and an annual IE&D report to the Board of Directors.
In 2021, 574 leaders started participating in cohorts for IE&D training through a web-based learning platform and moderated group learning circles.
To further embed IE&D as a central pillar and continued cultural focus, we added two aspirational goals to achieve by 2025:
- Achieve ethnic and racial diversity in each segment of our workforce, with an emphasis on leadership, that is greater than or equal to the estimated availability of minority talent in the marketplace.
- Lead the industry in female representation at all levels, with a special emphasis on frontline and women in leadership.
In 2020 we identified policies, practices and procedures that could enhance our ability to meet these goals; incorporated IE&D metrics into each market’s monthly and quarterly business reviews; and launched internal and external campaigns to highlight employees from underrepresented groups in an effort to inspire existing and future employees. In addition to these goals, we are growing our focus on recruiting employees who identify as LGBTQ, as veterans or as having a disability.
WM is committed to a diverse Board of Directors. This is evidenced by the fact that one-third of our Board members are women, and 22% self-identify as ethnic minorities.
Growing Awareness of IE&D
WM’s efforts to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce represent a long-term commitment. As the U.S. grapples with long-standing issues related to racial injustice, inequality and fairness, we have also been confronting these hard realities.
For example, we launched the Power of One, a movement focused on the impact one person can have, designed to enable all employees to commit to doing one thing to be part of the solution and improve IE&D at WM. Employees have pledged to educate themselves on IE&D issues, share what they learn with family members, and mentor and guide diverse emerging leaders. With nearly 50,000 employees, we believe that many small actions can add up to powerful change.
Another way we are continuing the dialogue is through a Courageous Conversation series. During these webinar-style events, employees across the enterprise come together to discuss topics such as and tips for and transportation. We also shared a between WM leaders about how we must move forward as a company to address racial injustice and held a town hall session where employees could pose questions to leadership about WM’s IE&D efforts.
Increasing the Number of Women in Our Ranks
While the waste industry has traditionally been male dominated, we are making significant strides to increase the representation of women. The percentage of women in professional, executive and Board positions at WM currently approaches or exceeds industry averages, and we aspire to lead the industry in female representation at every level.
To further address gender diversity challenges in frontline positions, we’re taking steps to actively recruit, hire and develop women. For example, we are a Gold Member of the Women in Trucking (WIT) Association, which works to encourage employment, promote accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women in the trucking industry. WM serves on WIT’s board and works closely with the organization and other trucking industry participants to address recruitment efforts.
The recruitment of veterans is another ongoing focus, especially because the military offers a substantial pool of potential professionals with expertise in transportation, logistics and maintenance—all areas well-aligned with our needs.
We take a systematic approach to recruiting veterans, posting all open positions on military and veteran network sites that specialize in promoting placement of veterans with private-sector employers, as well as government-owned job placement sites. We also engage in strategic partnerships and marketing efforts with the Department of Labor Career One-Stop centers, Hire Purpose, Corporate Gray, U.S. Veterans Magazines and job fairs. Today, we have almost 2,500 veterans working in a variety of roles at WM, representing 5% of our workforce.
To help retain the servicemembers on our teams, we offer a military leave policy and donate to military causes in the U.S. and Canada. As a result of these and other policies, WM was named to Military Times’ 2020 list and Victory Media’s 2021 list of Military Friendly Employers.
Meeting the Needs of Individuals with Disabilities
We are continually working to better accommodate the needs of individuals with disabilities within our workforce. To support this effort, we survey our employees every five years, using the Department of Labor self-identification form CC-305. In 2020, we conducted a new survey through which 20% of respondents self-identified their disability status. To better serve employees who need accommodations, we have a new tracking system to identify commonly requested accommodations and describe best practices for addressing them.
WM has been proactive in assisting people with disabilities through our Transition to Recovery Program and by working with the Department of Labor on regulatory proposals to support people with disabilities. We participate in various professional and industry groups, including National Industry Liaison Group (NILG) and local chapters such as the Greater Houston Industry Liaison Group. NILG is the largest consortium of private-industry federal contractors working directly with the Department of Labor in shaping equal employment regulations and understanding their impact on the workforce.