Fostering Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
At Schnitzer we believe the more diverse our employee community is the broader the perspectives and stronger our connections can be. We know that the best opportunities for innovation are generated by shared information and ideas.
Fundamental to our success is our ongoing commitment to fostering an environment that attracts a diverse workforce and cultivates genuine inclusivity where employees collaborate toward a common goal. We strive to attract, motivate, and reward individuals who work with pride and passion, and promote an expectation of mutual respect and accountability. We support fairness and equity, and reject the discrimination and oppression of any individual or group.
Measuring Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Leadership
Our formal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program celebrates employees of all backgrounds. We are committed to advancing a safe and healthy work environment in which individuals are treated equitably and with dignity and respect. Accordingly, we have a zero-tolerance policy against discrimination and harassment. Our employees’ annual training includes the strict prohibition of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, age, military status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion.
To better understand our own employee population and identify opportunities to enhance inclusivity, we collect and benchmark diversity data. We are especially proud of Schnitzer's representation of women on our Board of Directors. Four of our eight Directors (50 percent) are female—more than twice the Russell 3000 average of 22.6 percent. We seek diverse slates of qualified candidates for all Company leadership positions.
Engaging Employees Every Day
Our Engaging Employees Every Day (3Es) initiative increases cultural awareness, inspires employee collaboration, and creates an environment where open and safe conversations can take place. Town hall meetings are held at each of our facilities, complemented by all-Company virtual “town call” meetings featuring our Chairman and CEO and other members of the senior leadership team. These regular meetings offer a dedicated space for employees to hear from leadership teams and provide direct and candid feedback on workplace experiences.
Based on employee suggestions from 3E programs, in 2021 we added new elements to our existing Safety, Teamwork, Attitude, Resourcefulness (STAR) Award program, which recognizes outstanding workplace performance.
Employee Resource Groups
Schnitzer’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that promote a diverse and inclusive workplace aligned with our Company’s purpose, values, and business practices. ERGs are open to all employees and aim to build a sense of belonging and deepen the understanding of our shared purpose.
Each ERG maintains an executive sponsor and steering committee to support group administration. Members have the option to fill other leadership and administrative positions, and all employees are welcome to participate in ERG activities, regardless of membership status. In fiscal 2021 we expanded the number of our ERGs from four to six. Approximately 10 percent of our employees are actively enrolled in at least one of our ERGs, and we have had approximately 1,000 employees participate in various ERG-sponsored events to date.
To develop and nurture an inclusive community for all gender expressions, support Schnitzer’s efforts to diversify staff at all levels, and actively work to attract, retain, and motivate LGBTQ+ employees and their allies.
Like all Schnitzer’s ERGs, PRIDE seeks to create an environment where members feel included, engaged, and valued. PRIDE supports and celebrates the LGBTQ+ community at work and beyond through a mentoring program and internal education efforts about issues faced by LGBTQ+ individuals.
Building community through the PRIDE ERG means providing an outlet for employees to both voice concerns and highlight the contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies. Through quarterly virtual meetings open to all employees, the PRIDE ERG offers a regular communication channel and has successfully engaged employees from across the organization.
In 2021 the PRIDE ERG initiated a Gender Identity and Pronoun education campaign about using an individual’s desired pronoun as a form of mutual respect. Additional group efforts included launching an education campaign about creating and maintaining safe spaces—environments where all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, feel supported and welcome.
To provide an open forum where employees with shared interests can aspire, develop, support, and collaborate to reach their highest potential, represent Schnitzer in our communities, and serve as a key resource to the Company.
The BEN ERG creates a platform for employees to share perspectives and ideas in pursuit of a more equitable and inclusive workplace culture. The group actively builds awareness around racial issues and encourages open communication among all Schnitzer employees.
One of the primary goals of the BEN ERG is educating our workforce on the historic and societal challenges faced by our Black colleagues. Schnitzer has taken steps toward this goal by creating a formal training program for leaders to promote bias-free recruitment practices. Building on this effort, the BEN ERG is developing a mentorship program and hosts networking events for BEN members to engage within the broader Schnitzer community.
During the month of February, the BEN ERG supported Company efforts to celebrate Black History Month, providing content for an employee-focused social media campaign and suggestions for educational materials for the entire Schnitzer community.
The BEN ERG also seeks to establish external partnerships to incorporate best practices as the group continues to grow and evolve. By forming relationships and expanding existing partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), BEN will offer internship and employment opportunities to graduates, establishing a pipeline for Schnitzer’s talent and recruitment efforts.
To engage, empower, develop, and support women at Schnitzer.
[email protected] is dedicated to supporting and mentoring women in the workplace and in our communities. The group holds regular events to advance women personally and professionally by creating opportunities for mentorship and career advancement, providing social opportunities for networking, and establishing a forum for discussing women’s workplace issues. The group incorporates member feedback by administering frequent surveys to find new engagement opportunities for both women and men throughout the organization.
In 2021 [email protected] launched a powerful Speaker Series with the theme, “Thriving Through the Second Shift,” to highlight the reality that for many women the workday is not over after completing daily workplace responsibilities. Instead, women often begin their “second shift,” caring for children and other family members. The group found that addressing this topic head-on advanced the critical conversation around finding remedies and developing relief strategies.
In the Speaker Series sessions, [email protected] also touched on topics including societal expectations around women’s responsibilities at home and at work, and impacts to these expectations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whitney Cox, Schnitzer’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Program Manager, spoke about challenges that women encounter in the workplace, and the importance of acknowledging and openly discussing these challenges at all levels of the Company as the first step toward addressing them. Whitney said, “We have to be resilient and lift each other up.”
To serve as a strategic partner group within Schnitzer, to promote a sense of belonging and connection through increased engagement, to attract new talent and facilitate community outreach, and to offer opportunities for networking and personal and professional development.
Schnitzer is proud to be a military-friendly employer and an organization that honors and respects the commitment to service. Through a common military background, members often share experiences around team dynamics, goal setting, and coalition building. The VERG celebrates member stories and experiences through guest speaker events—opportunities to hear directly from veterans and educate others within the organization about military service and the transition to civilian life. The unique perspectives and insights offered during these events are valuable to our entire organization and serve to support the members and participants, as well as extend their reach to others.
To promote and celebrate cultural awareness in the workplace and to give the Hispanic community at Schnitzer a forum to interact with one another, open avenues of support and networking, educate others, and advance personally and professionally.
Schnitzer’s Hispanic Employee Resource Group officially launched in September 2020 during National Hispanic Heritage Month. With the support of the group’s executive sponsors, more than 100 participants attended the kickoff meeting. Membership and attendance have since grown substantially.
The group seeks to build on advancement pathways for Hispanic employees within the organization, and increase outreach, communication, and engagement with frontline Hispanic employees to promote collaboration across functional levels.
The HERG promotes increased dialogue between Hispanic employees and Company leadership teams, offering an important opportunity to share ideas, information, and valuable development tools.”
– Pedro Orbezo, Co-Leader of HERG
To build up others.
The purpose of the BUILD ERG is to address critical needs in our communities through volunteerism, specifically by seeking out partnerships with organizations that support underserved populations.
BUILD offers the opportunity for Schnitzer employees to dedicate time, resources, labor, and knowledge to help address the needs of others. Like other ERGs at Schnitzer, an important objective of this group is education. BUILD asks members to share experiences and knowledge based on their diverse backgrounds and cultures, and provides an outlet for employees to learn about and from one another and apply their discussions to our communities to advance efforts to build up others.