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 the tools needed to succeed in their roles, we offer opportunities for development and mentorship.
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 our employees have the right skills, qualifications and training to complete their jobs. Key training programs include:
- The Essentials of Supervisory Success and Powering Your Leadership, which equip Covanta managers with the skills to increase their personal effectiveness.
- Operator and maintenance qualification programs, which ensure that employees are qualified to perform their jobs safely and efficiently.
- Education assistance programs, which provide financial support to employees who want to broaden their knowledge base, develop professional skills and take external classes to prepare for other positions within Covanta.
- Six Sigma Green Belt certification program, which enables employees to learn continuous improvement tools while working to improve our operations and business practices.
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.
A key component of our training and qualification program is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers certification. We employ more than 400 operators at 35 facilities who are required to have a certification to operate facilities that combust municipal solid waste and recover energy. The certification process is progressive and provides opportunities to advance in one’s career. Technical training is provided through several mechanisms to allow for flexibility and facility-level-specific training.
- Self-paced training courses provide fundamental and theory-based training.
- Facility-specific system study guides provide greater understanding of the systems, components and technology at their facility.
- Additional requirements include any additional certifications, licensing, training or experience required for the operators to satisfactorily perform the duties and responsibilities of their position.
Our Learning Management System (LMS) tracks the completion of training to ensure that our operators are meeting the requirements of their positions. Our LMS provides a single-point solution that assigns, offers and manages 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 and regularly scheduled automated reports improve the visibility and management of the qualification program.
We track the status of our training program and identify improvement opportunities. By measuring against key performance indicators, we are able to understand our program’s strengths and potential areas for improvement.
Developing a Strong Talent Pipeline
We value a diverse workforce, as reflected by age range and levels of experience among our employees. According to a Pew Center report, millennials currently comprise the largest population in the U.S. labor force. As Generation Z continues to enter the workforce, the trend towards a younger workforce will continue. 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.
- 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% female and 25% 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.
- First launched in 2017, our companywide Mentoring Program is a year-long opportunity for employees from across 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. Today, our program is adding focus to our employees in the field.
Educational Assistance Training Program
Covanta provides an educational assistance program to financially support 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 Covanta.
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. This is a valuable tool used to evaluate on a regular basis performance strengths and development needs while also ensuring alignment of performance and organizational goals. The process includes biannual performance review meetings to discuss performance and develop new goals and plans. In 2021, we added “Values Diversity” to our performance review process to highlight the importance of this competency to our business and building strong teams.