Covia aspires to attract and retain top talent and believes in sharing the prosperity we generate with our employees. We aim to be an employer of choice by fostering a unique culture, encouraging engagement in Sustainable Development (SD), and providing employees with training and education, personal and career development, health and wellness programs, and employee benefits.
Since Covia’s inception, our cultural aspirations have been clear—our two combined companies were guided by similar cultures. Our newly developed set of values—Clearly Covia—is comprised of four pillars: Safety First; Be Different; Deliver on Promise; and, Do Good. Do Well. Act Responsibly. The values and behaviors below demonstrate our pillars in practice, and guide our daily actions.
Covia offers competitive compensation packages, inclusive of comprehensive health care programs, and country-specific retirement savings plans. Through our Sustainable Development (SD) Teams, employees can contribute to the health and vitality of our people, Company, and communities. We encourage all employees to get involved in SD and invest in our communities.
We encourage employees to join one of our 10 Sustainable Development (SD) Teams, lead or co-lead an SD Team, or add an SD dimension to their daily job. Any employee can join an SD Team and help contribute ideas, conduct SD research, innovate new processes, or manage an SD-related project. SD involvement advances Clearly Covia and many employees find it to be personally fulfilling while developing new skills and advancing their careers. Engagement in SD Teams provides diverse learning experiences that add value to Covia, employees' lives, to the communities where we operate, and to the environment. Furthermore, our SD Advisory Committee allows executives and senior leaders to contribute their leadership skills to SD for several years, with membership changing over time.
Covia offers employees formal talent development programs and informal learning resources that support performance achievement on multiple levels. These programs align to the skill requirements and competencies associated with specific functional and leadership roles, and deliver consistent and timely content through classroom, virtual, and experiential learning. We utilize Individual Development Plans (IDPs) that serve as catalysts for strengthening employee leadership and career development opportunities.
We also encourage employee growth through voluntary education. Our Empower U Sustainable Development (SD) Team and various other SD Teams develop and deliver training on a wide range of desired topics. Employees can also access hundreds of Covia-recommended training courses via online learning platforms, such as Udemy.
Healthy employees are happier, safer, and more productive. Through our voluntary wellness program, smoking cessation tools, Employee Assistance Program, and wellness challenges, we encourage our employees to live healthy lifestyles at home and at work. To plan for future medical expenses, U.S. employees may choose to divert pre-tax income to a Health Savings Account (HSA), an accumulation vehicle that allows users to save money tax-free to pay for medical costs. In addition, our Welli Award recognizes employees who have demonstrated commitment and success in personal health and wellness.
The Health & Wellness Sustainable Development (SD) Team conducted two step challenges—Walk This May and STEPtember—that saw large participation numbers from Covia employees. Walk This May included four-person teams competing in a 31-day challenge garnering nearly 169 million collective steps. 552 employees participated with an average of 9,183 steps per employee, per day. STEPtember also utilized four-person teams competing in a four-week challenge, collecting nearly 110 million steps. 408 employees participated with an average of 9,562 steps per employee, per day.
The Team also conducted a weight loss challenge called The Healthy Weight Challenge. This was a new, 10-month challenge that was focused on the individual to help promote self-awareness and progress toward better health. The challenge was divided into two, five-month programs that saw 644 employees participate, and was successful in large part thanks to the hard work of our SD Coordinators and site contacts to keep track of employee progress and report out. The results of this challenge fed into our Welli Award nominations.
Covia is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I) within our workforce, and retaining employees is a high priority. We strive for and support a diverse workforce as we firmly believe this lays the foundation of our success. Our compelling culture supports inclusion, individuality and respect within the workplace. We are committed to providing employment opportunities to the most qualified candidate based on work-related factors and without regard to non-work-related factors including race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, or military service or reserve or veteran status. We gather informal and formal employee feedback to assess levels of engagement and identify opportunities for improvement.
We have launched our intranet, called Covia Connect, which includes more accessible information for our global workforce such as specific department information, HR information, Sustainable Development information, success or "wins" to celebrate, new employee recognition, and recognized international holidays and days of observance. Covia implemented core leadership development programs throughout our North American operations. In 2019, we will conduct an initial rollout of SD in Canada and Mexico.
The Empower U SD Team rolled out a learning challenge—Sandopoly; two new Udemy online courses; two new online learning platforms—TED Talks and Khan Academy; and, an ALICE Active Shooter two-part course (in partnership with the Safety SD Team). We also offered opportunities for employees to take courses at accredited institutions, and we plan to further expand our platforms to give employees access to as many learning opportunities as possible.
Covia developed a new performance management program—Elevating Achievement Measurement Process—rolling out to employees in the first quarter of 2019. This process serves as an ongoing dialogue between leaders and teams, helping to drive a culture of formal and informal feedback and relationship development. Leaders will work with their employees to set annual objectives aligning with their functional role and learning content will be deployed through the learning management system according to job title. Leaders and employees will revisit the employee’s objectives throughout the year and the process culminates in a formal achievement measurement discussion at year-end. This discussion will also include feedback on how employees demonstrated the Clearly Covia values and behaviors. In addition, we plan to expand the scope of our SD Teams Company-wide in 2019.
Career development through succession planning is key to helping identify leaders of the future. We plan to launch a succession planning process in 2019, which includes identification of high potential candidates for development and growth opportunities. We also plan to conduct an employee engagement survey in 2019 and follow up every 18 months going forward.
In 2019, our Human Resources team will develop a comprehensive diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy to attract and retain women, minorities, veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals, and hiring applicants with criminal convictions. The program will include training on D&I related matters, recruitment outreach efforts, and development opportunities to engage and retain employees.