Talent Management

Our Human Resources (HR) team spent much of fiscal 2020 focused on protecting and supporting employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. While employees were physically distanced from colleagues, we went to great lengths to ensure that despite the distance, team members did not feel alone and that they could continue to rely on our robust program of training, development, and benefits.

We believe that a safe and healthy workplace is fundamental to realizing the full potential of our talented workforce. As essential businesses, our first priority was ensuring that we were able to operate safely throughout the pandemic. Early on, we developed and implemented health, safety, and wellness protocols, rolled out training, and effectively communicated across our platform.

All of Schnitzer’s operating facilities were designated essential businesses, and therefore have continued to operate throughout the pandemic.

Actions included pre-entry temperature checks; wearing face coverings and other personal protective equipment; social distancing; frequently cleaning our work sites and washing our hands; and remote working arrangements, where applicable. During this entire process, we provided support to employees to help them navigate the changes and reduce stress as much as possible. (Read more here).

Training & Development

While COVID-19 delayed some of our plans for new training, we continually look for opportunities to help employees grow. For example, we offer apprenticeship programs for key skill areas such as welders and electricians, partnering with local state and community colleges to deliver an accredited program that blends classroom curriculum with on- site job experience. Employees spend eight hours on classroom coursework, followed by four hours of on-site training. We also offer tuition reimbursement for eligible employees interested in furthering their education independently. As one specific example of how we adjusted our efforts to adapt to the pandemic, we developed training designed to assist those managers now leading teams virtually.

In fiscal 2020, we began implementing Communication Leadership Essentials, a third-party training program for our front-line supervisors. We were successful in training a network of internal trainers who will enable us to roll out training more fully in fiscal 2021.

New Benefits

In the wake of COVID-19, healthcare benefits became especially important. In January 2020, we enhanced our already comprehensive benefit package to include MDLive, a telemedicine resource that allows employees to meet with a healthcare provider without leaving home. We also created a two-tiered network for care under our Blue Cross Blue Shield network, which reduced costs for participants, and introduced Livongo, a comprehensive diabetes management program. We introduced a 401(k) plan for Puerto Rico-based employees for the first time; all U.S.-based employees now have access to a 401(k).

Also, we provided two additional opportunities for employees to take paid time off. We implemented a new annual floating holiday, known as Heritage Day, effective in fiscal 2021. This new holiday is intended to honor our diversity by enabling every employee to select a day of their choice to celebrate a cultural, religious, social, or other memorable event. We also now allow employees to utilize up to an additional eight hours per calendar year to volunteer in their community.

Further, in recognition of the challenges faced by our front-line employees, we awarded special cash bonuses, benefitting 85 percent of our workforce.

When we did have to implement furloughs or make adjustments to work hours, we ensured that employees did not lose access to health coverage or other benefits. We also allowed employees to continue to accrue paid time off (PTO) while furloughed.

A full list of our expanding employee benefits can be found on our careers website.