The 2019 update to our 2018 Sustainability report is available here.

The following site covers subject matter through 2018.

Better Workforce


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  • Training 

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.

Senior Management Leadership Program

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.

Driver Training

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.


Training By-The-Numbers

Training By-The-Numbers
Employees Trained Annually
Employees Offered Training

Average Hours
of TrainingPer Employee

Average Spent
on TrainingPer Full-time Employee
Annual Training HoursAmong Full-time Employees

Drivers Receive
Safety Training Annually

Environmental Professionals
Receive Safety Training Annually
Current Employees Trained
On Code Of Conduct
Waste Management Operational
Divisions Receive Training Annually

Injury and Illness Prevention Training

Our Injury and Illness Prevention program is focused on preventing injuries among our post collection employees. The program examines equipment, processes, policies and other potential causes of injury and illness for employees across our facilities and properties and evaluates possible interventions and the success of these interventions on prevention. Data gathered may be used to formulate or refine monthly training topics under our Safety Awareness Training Calendar.

Other ongoing initiatives include our Hazardous Energy Control Program, as well as programs timed with seasonal risks such as heat illnesses in the summer and slips, trips and falls in the fall and winter. To read more on our full list of employee training programs, including the Hazardous Energy Control Program, see the Training section of the Workforce appendix.

Sales Force Training

Our Sales Department has a Learning & Development division dedicated to developing sales professionals from on-boarding coaching to on-the-job skills development to mentoring for career advancement. Our 10+ years tenure with our top sales employees reflects internal opportunities to expand and grow in the job. From 2015 through 2018, we have been named one of Selling Power’s “50 Best Companies to Sell For.”

Contractor Training

To educate all subcontractors working on our sites about potential risks or hazards, we have developed a Contractor Safety Orientation program. In 2016, we updated the program to include a revised Basic Safety Program module, Landfill Safety module, Landfill Gas module, Electrical Safety module and a Renewable Energy module. Presently, 235 Waste Management landfills are active on the program, with 2,000 contractor companies and 12,000 contractor employees registered. We also have a toll-free helpline available to contractors 24/7.

For more detail on Waste Management training, see the Training section of the Workforce Appendix.