Providing the opportunity for every employee to reach their full potential is perhaps the most important way that we can maximize workforce engagement and retention. This is why we offer expansive learning and development solutions to meet the needs of our business and our people, as well as providing coaching, feedback and annual performance reviews on a consistent basis.
We believe environmental excellence and compliance are the hallmarks of sustainability and reflect Waste Management’s core values. As such, compliance with applicable regulatory standards and internal policies and procedures is part of the performance review structure for employees. To foster a culture of collaboration, we use daily huddles and regular check-ins to solicit feedback and share information.
As part of our succession planning process and continued commitment to developing talent, we created a leadership program in 2015 to build bench strength at the senior management level. The program includes a series of business-related modules that incorporate classroom instruction, practical projects, leadership assessments with executive coaching, and exposure to the senior leadership team in both formal and informal settings. Components of this program are integrated with leadership programs that support development and retention of our midlevel leaders. We continue to refine our succession planning processes to anticipate how to best support millennials advancing within the organization and to anticipate the need for successors for our retiring leaders.
Our goal is to provide continual learning opportunities in areas like professional development, sales, leadership, technical training and compliance training.
We take a “learner-centric” approach to provide employees with a mix of options. All employees participate in annual training that includes job-speciﬁc programs as well as a variety of general professional development trainings. We offer training programs delivered face-to-face, as well as virtually, through mobile and online communications. The latter is facilitated through technology that delivers “just-in-time” learning, streamlines the learner’s experience, creates online communities to build collaboration and provides individualized development plans. The company partners with colleges and credit-granting organizations to provide employees, and, in some cases, their families, with tuition discounts, scholarships, grants and waived fees. Our focus is to create a continuous learning culture that drives performance, improves our talent and supports a superior customer experience. Overall, our intranet university, the Waste Management talent central system, has nearly 3,000 training modules available to all employees, with course plans that cover all aspects of the company’s operation and key aspects of career advancement.
Each major Waste Management department conducts job-specific training and development. Some of the most critical positions in the company are drivers, fleet technicians and post collections workers, such as heavy equipment operators. One of the methods we use to train these employees on health, safety risks and good working practices is a Safety Awareness Training Calendar. Site managers use the calendar to schedule training for employees throughout the year on required training topics, including emergency response, heat injury and illness, asbestos OSHA training for landfill and maintenance, personal protective equipment, hazard communication and procedures for handling of chemicals and hazardous substances, just to name a few.
With a vast and decentralized workforce, we are also utilizing training videos specific to four key areas of Waste Management’s operations: hauling teams, post collection employees, maintenance teams and our Energy Services division. The videos detail topics related to each worker’s role, such as specific threats that must be managed throughout the workday.
As a key component of our Mission-to-Zero program, Waste Management’s Training Center in Fort Myers, Florida, seeks to standardize driver training and help us work to reduce driver and fleet technician new-hire turnover, as well as the number of vehicle accidents. The center includes classroom work, interactive computer lab learning, hands-on learning stations, actual and simulated driving, and immediate coaching from our skilled driver trainers. Since 2012, more than 8,000 drivers have trained at the center in intensive, two-week sessions.
In 2016, we began training fleet technicians at our center. Since then, we have trained over 500 and are looking to increase capacity for more in the years to come. We believe that the Training Center is a key element in our continuous improvement in safety metrics, such as Total Recordable Injury Rate and Vehicle Accident Recordable Rate.
Additionally, drivers are now certified in the SAFETY system, an advanced training program that teaches the critical skills of safe driving. The principles learned through SAFETY are revisited monthly through an ongoing video series focused on drivers’ daily operating environments. Topics can include managing intersections, pedestrians, bicyclists, rollover prevention, following distance and braking. These awareness videos align well with discussions, observations and coaching.