Veolia Australia’s portfolio spans multiple industries including water, energy, industrial and waste. Across all sectors there is one common goal – to further develop and support the organic growth of its operations and workforce.
Alex Moreau, Chief People and Safety Officer says the company’s vision is not about satisfying the status quo but aiming to inspire meaningful change within industry. “It is important to understand that diversity is not just gender based, it also includes age, ethnicity, disability, and we are trying to address these different factors,” Alex says.
Alex is French-Canadian and has worked for Veolia for nine years. He moved to Australia 13 months ago following his work as a Human Resources Director for Veolia in Canada and says he’s passionate about driving meaningful programs for diversity in the Australian and New Zealand markets.
“One of these programs is Women on Wheels, which very much targets the gap we have seen in the demographic of waste drivers in the business,” he says.
“The initiative developed naturally within the business itself through a request from the field. The idea aligned with our strategic vision, so we built the concept and launched the program which is really exciting.”
The Women on Wheels program aims to increase female employment within the waste industry, particularly when it comes to waste collection.
Alex says that reducing the gap between male and female employment in this space is partially reliant on changing the perception around the industry, while also supporting female employees.
“The driver workforce across the waste industry, in some cases, is very male dominated. We identified that we need to have more gender diversity in this space. There are female drivers interested in the roles, and we’ve now found a way to better support them to reach their full potential,” Alex says.
“The program has been launched in Tasmania as a trial. Six to eight women will be selected for the program and we will help them to develop accreditations needed to become a registered and recognised driver within the waste business.
“Throughout the program, the participants will be exposed to different areas of the business, such as operations and customer service roles, including sales, to understand the behind-the-scenes operations.”
Alex says that providing knowledge around the goals and ambitions of the company can help to develop a positive working culture.
He says that providing a sense of accomplishment is also essential to attract new employees to the business.
“Ultimately if people do not understand our organisation across water, industrials, energy or waste then they are coming in to do their work, but they cannot feel part of that purpose and end goal that we are trying to achieve,” Alex says.
“You can copy and adapt programs to suit other roles within the company. For now, Women on Wheels is the focus, but the same structure and foundation of the program can be applied elsewhere.”
Providing a supportive network for employees is one of the key factors for Veolia when attracting new talent. The company is aiming to attract employees from a range of backgrounds. Alex says that setting a clear vision for the future can give potential employees an opportunity to contribute. “It is critical for us to have that strong purpose, because it will help to create a sense of belonging,” he says.
“We are here to achieve ecological transformation and to fight against climate change, so that we can create a better future for everyone. Having that ethos, I believe, is a major factor in creating a sense of belonging.”
Alex says this also applies to attracting talent from a range of ages. “Different generations have shown us that we need to adapt our discussions and conversations with each of them, to make sure that we can attract them differently,” he says. “Nowadays people are asking questions, such as ‘is this job in line with my values’. I think this is where we differentiate ourselves as a company.
“We can say that we are actually working towards a goal, such as net-zero. It’s showing our current and future employees that we are actually making a difference, and you are helping us to achieve these goals.”