Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Awareness
Maintaining a diverse workforce brings many benefits, including accelerating innovation, productivity, profitability, and employee engagement. Most importantly for Schnitzer, however, is that diversity makes us a company people are proud to work for.
When people are treated with respect, fairness, and equal opportunity, they are better able to reach their full potential both personally and professionally. Our formal Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) program, launched in 2018, is helping us better embrace employees of all backgrounds, actively recruit from diverse talent pools, and create a respectful workplace with a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination and harassment based on race, ethnicity, age, military status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion.
As we continue to develop our Diversity & Inclusion program, we are finding ways to integrate D&I into all aspects of our talent ecosystem, weaving key messages and principles into initiatives and communications that are already in place. For example, new training on unconscious bias has been incorporated into annual employee ethics training. In Fiscal Year 2020, we will roll out Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), which are voluntary, employee-led groups designed to celebrate diversity and foster an inclusive workplace. The first group to launch will be a Veterans ERG. Schnitzer was named a Military Friendly® employer for 2020, and this group will help us continue to create a rewarding place to work for those who keep our country safe.
Measuring diversity and inclusion leadership
With more than 3,300 employees, we take pride in our strong and diverse workforce. To better understand our own employee population and identify opportunities to be even more inclusive, Schnitzer has undertaken significant efforts to collect and benchmark diversity statistics against industry averages. We are especially proud of Schnitzer’s representation of women at the executive level and on our Board of Directors. With three women out of eight directors (38 percent), our representation of women on the Board is nearly twice the Russell 3000 average (20 percent).
Additionally, we seek a diverse slate when undertaking searches for Company leadership positions and new Board candidates.
Cultural awareness campaign
To increase cultural awareness, inspire employee engagement, and foster an environment where open and safe conversations can exist, Schnitzer introduced a cultural awareness program in 2018. The campaign covered topics such as unconscious bias and harassment, discrimination, bullying, and the importance of fostering a positive, inclusive culture at work.
Due to the varied nature of Schnitzer’s workforce, there is no single technology that all employees use to communicate. This made it critical to introduce this campaign through multiple communication channels, including posters, monthly videos, newsletters, and flyers, in English and Spanish. All were designed to empower employees to set a positive example and take responsibility for improving our workplace culture.
Other important components of the campaign were town hall meetings, held at all facilities, as well as “town calls” hosted by CEO Tamara Lundgren. Across the more than 120 town hall meetings held over the past year, the top suggestions that employees shared were related to communication and recognition. We are keeping lines of communication open by continuing to hold town halls on a regular basis. In 2019, we held an additional 50 meetings and launched a new initiative, "Engaging Employees Everyday," or 3Es. We will continue to organize employee meetings through this initiative to engage employees. Schnitzer also introduced a 90-day engagement survey, which is an opportunity for new hires to provide feedback on their experiences with the Company to date, including perceptions related to safety, culture, communication, and the interview and onboarding processes.
To address feedback related to recognition, we have introduced a new suite of recognition programs, including the Star Finder Program, which rewards employees for referring future team members; the Star Award Program, a peer recognition program that rewards outstanding performance in the areas of safety, teamwork, attitude, and resourcefulness; and a service award recognition program that will honor employees for reaching milestones in their years of service with the Company.
Joining a movement
In 2019, CEO Tamara Lundgren joined more than 700 CEOs of the world’s leading companies in signing the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion. By making this pledge, she commits the Company to, among other things, fostering effective conversations about diversity, implementing unconscious bias education, sharing a strategic diversity plan with our Board, and sharing best practices with other companies. “Promoting diversity and inclusion is a responsibility that every organization should make a priority,” says Tamara. “We are honored to be part of this group pledged to act on supporting inclusion and committed to fostering environments that attract and retain diverse workforces.”