Employee turnover continues to be a concern in the environmental services industry due to high demand in a strong economy for skilled workers—especially truck drivers, route managers and maintenance technicians. We also compete against other industries for certain talent, such as the oil and gas industry for engineers in our renewable energy facilities.
By promoting from within and offering a wide variety of training opportunities, WM helps employees maximize their effectiveness and grow in their careers.
WM is committed to providing a living wage to all employees, which is defined as the minimum pay received for the basic number of working hours to ensure coverage of workers’ and their families’ basic needs. During the pandemic, we also guaranteed all full-time hourly employees’ pay for a 40-hour work week, regardless of COVID-19-related service decreases.
WM is committed to fair treatment of all employees. With 9,026 union employees in the U.S. and Canada—19% of our workforce—this commitment is met 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.
Engagement Through Communication
Communication between company leaders and employees at all levels fosters honesty, accountability and respect, all of which are critical to employee retention. Each quarter, senior leaders host a town hall-style meeting that covers a variety of topics, available to all employees via live-streaming technologies. Employees unable to attend can submit questions by email and view a replay on our intranet and our employee mobile app, WM Now.
WM Now is a one-stop shop for all things WM, making critical information available for field employees who may not have access to a desktop computer at work. This includes COVID-19 safety updates; access to employee benefits and our employee handbook; episodes of “The Route,” our internal podcast; employee engagement efforts; and stories from across the company. We were pleased to achieve our goal of 80% adoption of the app within 10 months and adoption by our new team members from ADS in less than six months. Analytics tell us which features employees find most useful, and we use those insights, as well as qualitative feedback, to further refine the WM Now experience.
WM also has a weekly internal newsletter with stories on employee safety, leader communications, potential job hazards, employee successes, updates on benefits and career opportunities and more. Every quarter, answers to questions that were not addressed during the live-streamed town hall are included in the newsletter, which is distributed by email, posted in lunchrooms and available through WM Now. Communication is a two-way street, so we regularly gather input from employees on how we can improve. Throughout 2020, we solicited feedback through informal conversations with leadership and voluntary pulse surveys. These surveys inform not only strategic priorities, but also let us know which communication channels employees find most useful.