Town Hall Q&A
Answers on healthcare, operations, pricing and more
Before the company’s quarterly town hall on February 18, employees submitted a
range of questions to the company’s senior leadership. Here are some of those
questions and their responses.
Q: Sometimes a person with many duties is held back because of a title.
Can we redefine titles?
A: We want our employees to grow and take on new responsibilities, and a job title
should not limit that ability. At the same time, we must be thoughtful about redoing
job titles, since they take into account a number of things, including internal consistency,
compensation and so on. Please discuss the issue with your local representative so we can
figure out the best solution.
Q: Given the latest weather, have you considered telecommuting
for office workers?
A: We certainly want employees to work from home when weather makes travel dangerous
and working from home is an option. However, telecommuting may not work for all jobs.
You should discuss this with your manager.
Q: Following the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA), I heard our 2015 expenses
would increase. Is that true?
A: Healthcare reform will have some cost impact in 2015, but hopefully nothing drastic. Our
hope is that our plan participants will see reasonable adjustments in 2015, continuing the
trends of recent years. Overall, though, any prediction about the long-term impact of
healthcare reform would be a guess at this point, although one thing we can say with certainty
is that our goal to provide affordable, quality benefits for or employees will not change.
Q: Why do employees no longer receive a $1,500 credit for choosing not to
be on the company health plan?
A: Following its passage, the goal of healthcare reform is for every American to have
health care coverage. We felt it was contrary to that goal to provide an incentive to
Q: Why was tuition reimbursement canceled?
A: Our tuition reimbursement program steered a significant amount of our available
benefits funding to a relatively small number of employees. We decided that it would
be better to invest this money more broadly into other benefits that a greater number
of employees can take advantage of. With that said, leadership development is still
important, which is why we encourage employees to take advantage of WMU, which
has a number of courses, and our College Marketplace to get discounts at
Q: Why does it seem to take longer for the IT Service Center to
solve a problem?
A: IT continues to monitor and refine services focused on the customer experience.
While there may be instances where some problems take longer to resolve than others,
overall we’ve been working judiciously to serve our employees affectively. Some facts
- 75 percent of all incidents to the IT Service Center are resolved on the first contact
- Each phone conversation lasts approximately 10 minutes for a phone and 18
minutes for a chat
- While chat takes longer because of the typing required, it usually results in a
With all that said, please fill out the surveys you receive following your experience with IT.
We do read — and value — your feedback.
Q: How does WM stay on top of regulatory changes with the EPA?
A: WM’s Washington, D.C. federal policy office has been interacting with EPA for decades
to ensure we not only adapt to regulatory changes, but have a role in shaping them.
Current topics include:
- New climate change and air control requirements for landfills
- Sensible standards that foster our ability to handle coal ash for the utility sector
- Ways EPA and private sector companies can partner for more sustainable materials
management and recycling
- Ways EPA policies will assure that communities have their fair say in environmental
policy and facility permitting
WM is fortunate to have two Washington veterans working 2 at EPA, or on Capitol Hill, and
interact with senior EPA leadership regularly.
Q: Will DriveCam be rolled out to all vehicles, including pick-ups and
A: Initially, DriveCam was implemented to serve as a coaching tool to enable our managers
and drivers to build knowledge and further develop safe driving skills. The expected
return-on-investment was to save lives, while reducing incidents and costly claims associated
with the most active and exposed portion of our fleet: our collection trucks. The fact is, we saw
tremendous progress in 2013 and are continuing to evaluate the opportunity to include
additional support vehicles.
Q: If drivers have computers in their trucks, why can’t they do their pre/post
trips forms online and then email to dispatch?
A: WM intends to use our on-board technology to automate the pre/post trip process, and share
data between operations and fleet. First, though, we must finish the deployment of the technology
to the entire company, which will be done in the first half of 2014. Make no mistake, our major goal
is to increase automation and streamline existing processes, and this represents one of our future targets.
Q: Why are we investing in the PGA Tour and the Waste Management Phoenix Open?
A: The investment in the WMPO is done for several reasons:
- It strengthens relationships with customers who are invited to the tournament
- It offers significant branding, advertising and media exposure
- It allows us to showcase for our leadership in environmental services
In addition, we’ve done significant research about our customers and know that some of largest target
audiences are big fans of the PGA TOUR. In fact, the PGA TOUR is among the most popular sport
among our customer groups. This research also shows that customers’ opinions of WM are very positively
impacted through the WMPO and feel better about us as a company.