Investing in Training and Development
Covanta employees are eager to learn new skills and develop new professional capacities. To prepare our teams for the future and ensure they have all the tools they need to succeed in their roles along the way, we offer numerous opportunities for individual development and mentorship.
Covanta offers a variety of programs designed to advance employees’ skills. Evaluations are completed after core leadership training programs to measure effectiveness across five categories, including job impact/business results, which continues to be one of our top scoring categories. During a recent survey of all past program participants and their managers, more than 80 percent saw improved job performance as a result of the training.
Key training programs include:
- The Essentials of Supervisory Success and Powering Your Leadership, which equip Covanta managers with the skills they need to increase their personal effectiveness. To date, more than 450 first-line managers and mid-level leaders have taken these courses.
- Operator and maintenance qualification programs, which ensure that our employees are equipped to perform their jobs safely and efficiently by providing guidance on topics such as electrical qualification, boiler operations and power generation fundamentals.
- Education assistance programs, which provide financial support to employees who would like to broaden their knowledge base, develop further professional skills and take external classes to prepare for other positions within Covanta.
- Six Sigma Green Belt certification program, which provides employees with the opportunity to learn continuous improvement tools while working on a project to improve our operations or business practices. To date, 15 employees have received their Green Belt certification.
Covanta’s business is highly technical and requires well-trained and skilled operators and maintenance personnel. As such, we have a rigorous program to ensure that our employees have the right skills, qualifications and training to complete their jobs.
A key component of our training and qualification program is American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Certification. We employ over 400 Operators at 35 facilities with a certification to operate facilities that combust municipal solid waste and recover energy from that process. The certification process is progressive in nature, providing opportunities to advance in one’s career. In 2019 alone, there have been over 350 instances where operators have completed the requirements to advance or be promoted.
Technical training is provided through several mechanisms to allow for flexibility and facility-level specific training:
- Self-paced training courses: This material is designed to provide applicable fundamental and theory-based training.
- Facility-specific system study guides: This content is site specific and based on the technology found at the assigned facility. These guides are designed to aid the operator in gaining a greater understanding of the systems, components and technology at his or her facility.
- Additional requirements: Any additional certifications, licensing, training or experience required for the operator to satisfactorily perform the duties and responsibilities of his or her position.
Tracking the completion of training to ensure that our operators are meeting the requirements of their positions is managed through our Learning Management System (LMS). Our LMS provides a single-point solution that assigns, offers and tracks the status of our qualification and training programs. All assignments are organized in a manner that intuitively displays expectations and status, allowing managers and corporate/regional personnel to quickly ascertain individual and collective performance across the enterprise. On demand reports as well as regularly scheduled automated reports improve the visibility and management of the qualification program.
Our reporting capabilities reflect the current status of an organization, predict current trajectory and identify improvement opportunities. In addition, our well-defined process (control plans) coupled with identified Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) provide us with detailed data analysis, allowing us to better understand the state of our program regarding its strengths and potential areas for improvement.
Developing a Strong Talent Pipeline
We value the diversity in our workforce as reflected by age and levels of experience. According to U.S. Census data, 40 percent of the workforce is expected to be comprised of millennial and Gen Y employees by 2020. In addition, a significant portion of Covanta’s workforce is at, or approaching, retirement age. In anticipation of these trends and the need to equip our future leaders with the skills they will need to be successful, Covanta offers several professional development programs for young professionals:
- Our Undergraduate Internship Program invites talented individuals to gain knowledge and experience about the waste management industry while supplementing their studies. During the summer of 2019, Covanta welcomed 64 interns from 36 universities, filling roles at 21 Covanta and CES locations.
- The Early Career Development Program, launched in 2018, enables recent college graduates with less than three years of relevant work experience to gain knowledge about Covanta’s diverse business functions. Eight young professionals (25 percent female and 25 percent from diverse ethnic groups) participated in the inaugural class. We plan to continue to expand and diversify this program by leveraging the Undergraduate Internship Program.
- Our companywide Mentoring Program, first launched in 2017, is a year-long opportunity for employees from diverse cross-sections of the company to develop the skills to succeed in a dynamic work environment. Believing in the unique power that these mentoring relationships can provide, we launched a second iteration of the program in March 2019 that connected 50 mentee/mentor pairs, up from 40 pairs in the first program.
Educational Assistance Training Program
Covanta provides an educational assistance program to financially assist and encourage employees to broaden their knowledge, skills and effectiveness while also helping prepare them for other positions within the Company to which they may reasonably aspire. The program is available to regular full-time employees who are actively at work and have completed six months of continuous service with the Company.
Performance Review Process
Covanta has established a year-round Performance Management process in which managers and employees work together to establish performance goals, communicate expectations, identify development plans and provide ongoing feedback on a consistent basis. It is a valuable tool used to visit and revisit performance strengths and development needs throughout the year, while also ensuring performance and organizational goals are aligned. The process includes mid-year and year-end performance review meetings to review performance and develop new goals and plans as needed.