Show your team you care with actions, do not just tell them. That caring nature will continue to carry our industry through and out of the challenges of the pandemic that still linger from 2020.
By John Paglia III

Anyone in the waste industry for a substantial amount of time understands it can get into your blood, and your passion for success remains unchanged no matter what happens externally. 2020, and all it brought to the industry, challenged that statement greatly. In true Darwinism fashion, the strongest will, and have, survived. Whether you are discussing the industry, sectors of the industry or companies involved, there are
examples shared daily showcasing leadership and teamwork that have bonded our groups even tighter. In general, the industry in North America seems to be returning stronger and busier than ever, with demand for  services at an all time high, while the supply of available workforce is extremely limited. The root of our business is undoubtedly people first. Without hard  working men and women, our  industry would come to a screeching halt.

Motivation and Leadership
Motivating and leading your team has become priority number one. It does not matter what size you are—public or private—taking care of your employees is most important. It does not matter who you talk to, everyone seems to be searching for that secret sauce to control and attract new hires and reduce turnover. I am here to say it takes more than money to solve the problem. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed my outlook and approach to life in general. It was an awakening personally to make sure I took every chance I could to not only tell, but also show people that I am responsible to lead daily, how much I care for them and appreciate them trusting in me to lead them to their personal and work-oriented goals.

Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is something we have started to adapt to at all Florida Express Environmental locations. We have always given our team members the tools, training and opportunity to succeed. Ultimately, it is a 50/50 agreement. We agree to provide them with a stable career with endless opportunities for growth. We provide the leadership and ability to complete their task with the best equipment money can buy in the field or in the office. We provide full health and dental benefits packages, monthly safety bonuses, annual bonuses, holiday pay and bonuses, monthly gym memberships, above average base pay and many more opportunities to earn more income. Even in doing all of this, we too still have the same struggle of attracting talent. I define talent differently than some. Talent to me is an individual who will bring their honest effort every day, will agree to work hard when asked and treat others with the same respect they are shown. These talented individuals will buy into the team and in return be part of something great that they can be proud of.

Even when we are challenged, I highly encourage my team to stick to our root culture. Treat others how you wish to be treated—always. When evaluating our employee package, the piece we found missing and was sometimes overlooked was the importance of the work-life balance. We have committed to shortening our days for our men and women company-wide. We understand that while our staff’s time is valuable to helping the business succeed, it is important to them to spend time with their loved ones or significant others. While it is not easy, we have and will continue to staff up and provide enough equipment for our men and women to not only feel well compensated, but also respected for their time. It certainly will not happen overnight and will most definitely raise operating costs. This cost is worth paying for to have a team of rewarded and refreshed individuals ready to work hard when their number is called.

Staying Positive
During this process, and at certain times of the year, your staff will be called upon to put in the extra effort and work overtime. If old school face-to-face communication is shown from top to
bottom daily, the team will be comforted in knowing that their leaders recognize the challenges faced and are helping to minimize challenges and obstacles. Show your team that you care with actions, do not just tell them. That caring nature will continue to carry our industry through and out of the challenges of the pandemic that still linger from 2020. Stay positive and stay safe in all you do. I look forward to you reaching out to me upon reading this article. | WA

John Paglia III is a 4th generation garbage man and President of IMG, the parent company of Florida Express Environmental. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world that we live in today. He continues to cultivate his passion for business leadership, innovation and education through his memberships in the National Waste and Recycling Association, Legislative Affairs Committee for Florida, National Interstate Insurance Corporation and the Future Industry Leader Association (FILA). He is also an active member of the Detachable Container Association (DCA). John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail [email protected] or visit