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Putting People First Training & Development

Finding opportunities for every employee to reach their full potential is the most important way we can maximize workforce engagement and retention.

Waste Management offers expansive learning and development solutions to meet the development needs of our people, as well as proactively recognizing good work and supporting opportunities for growth and improvement. Our talent management program is designed to reach employees at all levels. Hiring, selecting and developing future leaders, as well as evaluating employees in alignment with our values, is standard across the enterprise.

Waste Management’s workforce, which is 44,900 people strong, includes a wide range of roles that require an even wider variety of skill sets. As a result, our numerous programs are equally varied. Training types fall into a few broad categories:

  • Compliance training—Required of all employees, such as training on Waste Management’s Code of Conduct and Cybersecurity.
  • Professional development and leadership training—Often customized and conducted voluntarily as part of an individual’s development plan.
  • Tailored training for specific jobs—Including collection and fleet operations, post-collection operations and sales. Learn more about these training programs in our ESG Resource Hub.
  • Safety trainingConducted upon hire and on an ongoing basis, geared toward employees in critical positions such as drivers, fleet technicians, heavy equipment operators and sorters.
  • Environmental excellence and compliance training—Required of employees in specific roles.

In addition to training, we manage performance through regular check-in conversations, coaching and feedback, goal-setting and annual performance reviews. Annual evaluations set accountability expectations for employees with the understanding that progress is monitored throughout the year. Talent reviews and succession planning are designed to recognize and reward high-performing and hard-working employees.

Training By the Numbers

Comprehensive training on safety, job skills and ethical conduct is important at Waste Management. Across our growing workforce, we invest significantly in training every year.

average spent on training per
full-time employee (using
blended learning techniques)2

total annual training hours
among full-time employees1

average hours of training
per employee1

new and current employees
trained on Code of Conduct

employees offered training

Waste Management
operational divisions receive
training annually

trained annually1

average spent per employee
for two-week new hire
training for drivers and fleet

drivers receive safety
training annually

environmental professionals
receive safety training annually


  1. Includes training completions tracked in Waste Management’s Talent Central System and an estimate of blended learning techniques (e.g., daily training huddles, weekly safety training, monthly observations and post-training reinforcement methods such as videos and practice sessions) that occur in the field
  2. Includes learning and development team salaries/contract labor, development costs, learning management system, travel, external products and services, materials
  3. Includes trainers’ salaries, facilities, trucks and equipment, materials, travel/lodging/meals

How We Help Employees Learn

Our objective is to create a continuous learning culture that drives performance and supports a superior customer experience. With a vast and decentralized workforce, we take a “learner-centric” approach that allows employees to learn in the ways that are most effective and convenient for them. Our training is delivered in several modalities, including in-person and virtual instructor-led training, online training, self-study and video modules. All required training is produced in English, Spanish and French.

The Waste Management Talent Central system, our intranet learning repository, has approximately 3,600 learning modules available to all employees. The content covers all aspects of the company’s operations, along with key topics that support career advancement. This learning library is always growing. In 2019, the Learning & Development department introduced 436 new, internally developed courses, which included a combination of web-based and instructor-led training. Waste Management also partners with two external vendors that create, release and update new training content on a monthly basis. In addition, we partner with colleges and credit-granting organizations to provide employees, and in some cases, their families, with tuition discounts, scholarships, grants and waived fees.

Safety Training

Waste Management engages employees on injury prevention through our Mission to Zero (M2Z) program. We reinforce M2Z with new-hire and ongoing training, including daily huddles and weekly training at all sites. Regular training helps ensure understanding of our operating policies and procedures as well as specialized topics including fire prevention, emergency response, asbestos, personal protective equipment, hazard communication, and slips, trips and falls. These topics are scheduled and communicated through our Safety Awareness Training Calendar. Read more about Safety at Waste Management.

Professional Development
& Leadership Training

Ongoing training is tailored to an employee’s individual development program and future growth plan. We offer consistent training for our leaders and managers to support the skills and behaviors we expect, as well as accelerated learning programs designed for high-potential professionals moving to frontline, mid-level and executive leadership roles. A Business and Professional Training Library, part of our internal Waste Management University, includes 800 online courses that focus on business analysis, project management, communication skills, software skills and customer service. In addition, we work hard to build our understanding of field operations and the scope of services among corporate employees. New hires and senior management team members join driver ride-alongs and visits to recycling facilities, landfills and other Waste Management assets for a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the business.

In 2019, we completed a new leadership development program called The Summit, which engaged 15 leaders from six market areas. Participants spent a year learning about different segments of Waste Management’s business, including the leadership challenges and concerns facing each, and completing projects to help certain segments. They also received feedback on their performance through leadership assessments and virtual coaching. Participants then worked with their managers to create individual development plans, which are being used to inform succession planning.

Sales & Customer
Service Training

Sales and customer service professionals undergo dynamic onboarding programs that last from four to 25 weeks, depending on the role. These programs combine coaching, in-person training, virtual instruction and on-the-job skills development to help new hires successfully transition into jobs and build careers at Waste Management. We are proud of our high-performing sales and customer service employees, many of whom have been with the company for more than 10 years. We view their tenure as validation of the opportunities offered to learn and grow within our organization. Our approach to sales has paid off: For the past five years, Waste Management has annually been named one of Selling Power’s “50 Best Companies to Sell For.”

Measuring Success

We measure the effectiveness of training in a variety of ways, depending on the goals and type of training. Waste Management compiles training completion reports for all required compliance training and onboarding programs. Measurement methods include:

  • End-of-course evaluations to assess participant reaction
  • Post-training assessments to measure participant knowledge
  • Post-training observations to measure skill or process application