Industry certifications are only a starting point. Company culture ultimately determines whether it’s a good match.
High employee turnover, low-level commitment, disorganized operations. If your electronics recycler suffers from any of the above, your organization is bound to suffer too. When searching for a partner to take on your retired electronics, don’t overlook the role of company culture.
As important as it is to look for the right industry certifications for environmentally sound and legally compliant electronics recycling and data destruction (R2, NIST 800-88, etc.), they don’t really say much about who you will be working with.
The question is how to quickly gauge who rises above the pack? Who is going to back up their certifications with engaged, reliable service provided by people who love what they do?
A winning company culture = satisfied customers
Many studies address the role company culture plays in helping organizations thrive. Happy employees stick around longer, develop better in-depth knowledge, are more productive, and show higher levels of engagement.
But the benefits are not only counted in the individual wellbeing of employees and the impact it has on the overall performance of the organization — it’s also good news for anyone the company does business with. If your e-recycling partner has created an environment in which team members can be their best, chances are that culture also permeates customer relationships.
Here are a few factors that could help you determine whether the company culture of your electronics recycler will set you up for success:
A high turnover rate is, of course, the most telling sign something is amiss. The warehousing industry, for example, is notorious for its turnover churn, partly driven by the fierce competition for a dwindling pool of workers. If the grass seems greener on the other side, many understandably take the bite. With a turnover rate of 37%, far higher than the recommended target of 5% to 10%, the stakes are high for employers to create incentives for warehouse workers to stay.
If you have enlisted an electronics recycling company where staff members change like a merry-go-round, you know it can be frustrating. Service disruptions, loss of institutional knowledge, and on-the-job training all get in the way of optimal performance. If, on the other hand, you work with a company where everyone is focused on your needs rather than the exit door, the odds favor a successful partnership.
Cut-throat or cooperative?
Does the company foster a culture where individuals are pitted against one another or does it try to instill a cooperative team spirit?
An article in Harvard Business Review notes “many companies bet on having a cut-throat, high-pressure, take-no-prisoners culture to drive their financial success.” While it may sound results-oriented, the impact has been quite the opposite. Research shows it inspires a culture of fear which causes employees to disengage, increasing turnover rates and lowering productivity. Again, you pay the price in lackluster returns and service levels.
But how would you know what the prevailing culture looks like when evaluating e-recycling partners? Here’s a tip: How does the company leadership talk about lower level employees? There’s nuance in language, and it can indicate what type of company you’re dealing with.
Is everyone a team member who, at every level, feels trusted and empowered to make decisions without always running to management for approval? Are they encouraged and supported to acquire cross-functional skills? It all matters to how successful you will be.
Everyone is in business to make money, but these days, a growing number of companies also aspire to meet more than financial targets. If you are one of them, you likely want to partner with an e-recycler who shares your commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.
In the realm of electronics recycling, it may mean examining whether your prospective partner aims higher than the goals spelled out in service-and product level certifications. Does the company have a so-called purpose or passion statement that it’s actively striving to live up to? Does it make an effort to be a positive force in the community? Is it pursuing certifications that go beyond measuring the typical performance metrics of the electronics recycling industry?
Training programs and benefits
Do the employees who you will be working with feel disposable or valued? The answer is a good indicator how satisfied you will be with your electronics recycler. Winning company cultures tend to be built on a solid foundation of employee training and leadership programs, competitive pay, bonus programs, and generous benefits packages.
Companies with strong organizational cultures, consequently, have 72% higher employee engagement ratings. And people who are engaged simply do a better job. There’s really nothing like working with a group of informed, take-charge people who know exactly how to bring it in their interactions with you.
When you hire a third party to help you part with and leverage your retired electronics, you should be able to comfortably take the role of an observer. First step: Identify a partner whose company culture allows you to trust them to seamlessly get the job done.