Trash haulers look to overcome 'stigma'

DALLAS, TX -- Speaking here at Waste Expo, Kenneth Baylor, vp-labor relations, said trash hauler Republic Services finds the key to worker retention is not pay but pride.

“Let’s talk about what money does,” said Baylor in a speech at the solid-waste management conference. “Money attracts and retains only as long as you can pay more than the competition. And monetary incentives are subject to abuse. They also motivate individuals more than groups.”

That is not to say pay and benefits are not important, ha cautioned. But they won’t by themselves create an environment in which people are enthusiastic and work hard to provide superior customer service.

According to Baylor, overcoming the “stigma” of working in the waste industry is critical. He said the image of waste haulers in their customers’ eyes must be improved—and customers must be helped to realize the valuable contribution the waste industry makes to their quality of life. That, he said, is where pride comes in.

“Look, our workers are hanging on the backs on their trucks, running their routes, day in and day out in summer heat and winter cold,” he said. “And they are the ones customers see, not me. That’s why their pride in their job matters—it keeps them coming to work and doing a great job.”

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