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People First Culture

Waste Management is a company committed to People First, knowing that the daily contributions of our 44,900 employees are what enable us to play a vital role in the communities we serve. The success of Waste Management depends upon the success of each employee, and we strive to give them the tools they need to develop and excel in their careers.

Waste Management employees span four generations—Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials and Gen Z— —each with their own preferences and expectations when it comes to ways of working. Beyond generational differences, our workforce is diverse in terms of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, language and life experience. We are committed to promoting and fostering equal opportunity for all employees, and we strive to maintain a workplace where everyone is valued and respected.

Waste Management is improving cultural communication with all employees. For example, “¿Qué Pasa Jim?” is a video series featuring CEO Jim Fish. Filmed in Spanish, the videos contain messages from Jim, including information about wellness initiatives or Waste Management’s observance of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Pathway to Our People-First Culture

As our industry and workforce evolve, we face new challenges to creating a strong and successful workplace for our employees. These challenges include high levels of turnover; ongoing cultural integration of more than 100 acquisitions over the past five years; the need to transfer knowledge and skills among our four generations of employees; an imperative to keep employees safe as waste streams and industry dynamics change; and a desire to become more diverse and inclusive at all levels of our company. We are committed to becoming and remaining an employer of choice, but achieving that goal is more complex than ever before.

To address these challenges and help reduce the wide variance in employees’ cultural experiences, we launched a new Culture & Engagement department in 2019. This allows us to further mobilize our People First Culture through engaging employees in listening campaigns, dialogue and programming. Led by a Senior Director, the new department began its work by forming a Culture Council made up of a cross-section of leaders who will help drive engagement strategies. A Commitments & Values ambassador program, with over 700 designees, was also established in 2019. Ambassadors will help educate employees on Waste Management’s newly adopted Commitments & Values, organizing site-based programs to demonstrate ways we can live our culture. We also developed resources to demonstrate ways to live our values, such as site posters, pledge placards and employee wallet cards listing our Commitments & Values in English, Spanish and French.

We also conducted roundtable meetings and leadership conversations; reviewed historical data; continued to conduct “Stay Interviews”; organized celebrations of Black history, Women’s History Day, Women’s Equality Day, Hispanic Heritage Month, Pride Month; and began the process of resetting Waste Management’s vision and strategy to increase employee engagement. All insights gathered through these activities will help inform and direct the development and implementation of new company policies and programs aimed at continuing to cultivate a culture of inclusiveness and respect.

Waste Management Commitments and Values

In the simplest terms, our values come down to this: Do the Right Thing. The Right Way. This idea sets the standard for our fundamental commitments and core values, guiding our daily actions and decisions.


  • People First: The proud, caring and resilient members of the Waste Management family are the foundation of our success. We commit to taking care of each other, our customers, our communities and the environment.
  • Success With Integrity: Our success is based not only on the results we achieve, but how we achieve them. We are committed to being accountable, honest, trustworthy, ethical and compliant in all that we do.


  • Inclusion & Diversity: We embrace and cultivate respect, trust, open communication and diversity of thought and people.
  • Customers: We place our customers at the center of what we do and aspire to delight them every day.
  • Safety: We have zero tolerance for unsafe actions and conditions, making safety a core value without compromise.
  • Environment: We are responsible stewards of the environment and champions for sustainability.