Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
At Covanta, our vision is to create a culture of acceptance and individuality where all employees feel valued, respected and empowered to achieve their full potential. To ensure we remain an industry leader and an employer of choice, Covanta strives to create an environment that values all employee contributions and provides equal opportunities for professional development.
Leading with Diversity and Inclusion
We aim to reflect in our employees the ethnic diversity of the communities where our facilities are located. We also focus on efforts to attract qualified female candidates to our organization. We track our progress internally against these and other diversity and inclusion (D&I) objectives using several measures, including recruitment targets and mentoring program participation. At the management level (director and higher), a diverse slate of candidates is sought and encouraged for every job opening. This is leading to definitive changes in our hiring process and the composition of our executive ranks.
2019 Workforce Diversity
Because we know that making continued progress on D&I will require full support from the top of the organization, in 2017 we launched the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Council, which comprises executive leaders from across Covanta’s functional areas. The Council has responsibility for D&I initiatives and meets quarterly to discuss advancement-related strategies and ensure alignment with key business objectives. Specifically, the Council’s purpose is to:
- Promote an inclusive environment in which all employees feel respected;
- Increase D&I awareness and education;
- Facilitate improved communication among and between employees and external partners;
- Assist with achieving excellence in operations and client service; and
- Promote innovation and creativity to enhance growth and the achievement of business objectives.
Building D&I Awareness
By supporting expanded awareness of D&I issues throughout the organization, we are steadily embedding a D&I mindset into the fabric of the company. To enhance employees’ cultural competencies across various D&I topics, in 2019 we completed in-person, half-day awareness training for approximately 90 percent of our workforce, an effort that was initiated in 2016. The goal of the training, presented in a workshop format, is to build a respectful D&I culture that recognizes the importance and unique contributions of every employee to Covanta’s success. The sessions include small group conversations in which employees provide valuable feedback to plant managers and share ideas on how to improve employee engagement around D&I objectives.
We shared feedback from the sessions with our D&I Leadership Council and other senior leaders to support corporate strategic planning in the future. Plans are now underway to continue to expand our learning and refine our ways of working based on these insights. Looking ahead, we will be focusing on developing inclusive leaders and understanding and mitigating unconscious bias.
Employee Resource Groups
In November 2018, Covanta’s first three Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) were launched, each made up of employees with shared characteristics or life experiences. Now, there are five established ERGs:
- Women of Covanta: RISE
- Early Career Connections
- Black Professionals
These five ERGs actively gather and engage people around their shared missions to create a more inclusive work environment for everyone. Any employee who shares the mission and goals of the group is invited to join. The ERGs frequently interact with senior leadership and the D&I Leadership Council to share their perspectives and act as liaisons with various diverse organizations.
In addition to providing a platform for sharing and connecting, the goal of the ERGs is to underscore Covanta’s D&I mission by supporting recruitment activities, reinforcing employee onboarding, fostering community outreach partnerships and providing professional development opportunities. ERGs are influential in improving workplace culture and raising issues or obstacles that may impact certain employee groups.
Supporting our Veterans
Covanta has historically employed many veterans, as we seek professionals that possess not only exceptional technical knowledge, but also exemplary qualities such as teamwork, dedication and integrity. We are proud that as of 2018, approximately 12 percent of our U.S. workforce is made up of military veterans.
In 2018, we expanded our veterans outreach efforts by participating in a variety of recruiting events geared specifically to veterans, including hosting career fairs at our facilities. We also rely on an internal group of corporate and field-based employees who are veterans and can assist hiring managers in translating military titles and responsibilities into related business roles. These “talent ambassadors” have helped Covanta develop veterans’ programs for recruiting, onboarding, recognition and charitable contributions. As a result of these efforts, we hired more than 60 veterans in 2017 and 2018 and have added over 290 veterans to our workforce since 2013.
We’re committed to our veterans both inside and outside of the workplace. In Massachusetts, our SeMass facility hosted our annual charity golf tournament in support of the Cape Cod Military Support Foundation. The foundation supports military members stationed at the Joint Base Cape Cod and U.S. Coast Guard’s Southeastern New England station in Woods Hole.