We recognize that employing a highly skilled and diverse workforce is a competitive advantage and leads to better employee engagement. We are committed to the development of all employees in support of their career aspirations. To maximize employee engagement and retention, we have formal and informal programs to develop our workforce through employee improvement and professional growth.
Our continuous performance improvement strategy is grounded in healthy discussions between an employee and their manager. We expect managers to engage with employees and advocate for the growth and development of their direct reports. We see this development as a partnership that begins with setting meaningful annual goals.
Salaried employees set annual goals in performance, developmental, and personal categories. Employees also track progress towards six key competency areas which reinforce our belief that it’s not enough to just accomplish your goals, but it’s how you accomplish those goals that matters. Managers provide formal feedback at least once a year to employees regarding their performance and progress towards their goals.
Employee performance is further calibrated across operating divisions and is finally reviewed by the executive team to ensure that performance measures were evaluated equitably across the organization. This annualized process provides a framework from which managers and employees can collaborate to ensure that employees remain on a meaningful growth trajectory aligned with the needs of the organization.
Because we know our employee population is eager to continue to develop and grow their talents, we offer a wide array of training opportunities for employees to become more proficient in their current roles and grow their careers in preparation for larger roles throughout the Company. Training is offered through a variety of mediums including classroom, in-house, or on-line to accommodate the diverse personal and professional needs of our employees as they move through their careers. Individual development is heavily supported through formal and informal on-the-job programs including paid apprenticeships and cross training. Employees are also encouraged to participate in a variety of cross-functional learning opportunities including safety audits, environmental audits, or capital installation projects. We believe there is no substitute for these diverse on-the-job learning opportunities and their ability to drive team member engagement.
We also recognize that not every employee is on the same development path and, therefore, we provide financial assistance through our tuition reimbursement program to employees whose career development path may require more formal continuing education. We may also cover travel related expenses to help employees attend training that may not otherwise be hosted in our rural communities.
As part of our commitment to developing talent, we conduct leadership training programs to build bench strength at the supervisor and management level. The leadership training brings together mill, timberlands, real estate, and corporate employees who have been newly hired or promoted and who are individuals essential to developing future leaders. The multiday training modules include workshops on a wide range of issues such as leadership, conflict resolution, supervisory skills, and coaching tactics, and build a greater understanding of all the businesses within the Company. Employee engagement following the training has been very positive with employees feeling that interaction with executive leaders and peers strengthened their leadership network and that the skills they developed are directly applicable to the workplace challenges they face every day.
Succession planning is critical to ensuring that we have the right people in the right position at the right time. We conduct annual succession planning meetings across the organization, starting with our local operations and rolling up to our division and corporate levels, including our executive team. This robust calibration process ensures that we review all employees and their potential to move throughout the organization. Individuals who have demonstrated a desire and ability to move to new leadership roles collaborate with their managers to document meaningful development plans designed to ensure that their development remains on track.
Our summer internship program provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to gain on-the-job experience in our businesses and to learn about PotlatchDeltic. Interns are provided with meaningful projects and collaborate with other students, as well as with employees and managers. Internships not only develop a pipeline of potential future talent, but also provide our employees an opportunity to be mentors and build their leadership skills.
The School to Registered Apprenticeship Program (STRAP) offers Idaho students aged 16 and over an opportunity to apprentice while completing high school. The student is paid first year apprenticeship wages and is provided a work-based learning experience including instruction, appropriate supervision, and safety training.
Upon graduating high school, students can complete their apprenticeship with advancing wage scale. Once the apprentice completes the program, they can acquire a national credential in that occupation and the Team Member advances to a journey worker pay scale. PotlatchDeltic follows child labor requirements.
We currently have two students participating in this program at St. Maries in millwright apprenticeships until they graduate in May 2023. In 2021, we had two participants in the program, and both returned to full-time positions at our St. Maries, Idaho facility upon high school graduation.
Our summer internship program provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to gain on-the-job experience in our businesses and to learn about PotlatchDeltic. Interns are provided with meaningful projects and collaborate with other students, as well as with employees and managers. Internships not only develop a pipeline of potential future talent, but also provide our employees an opportunity to be mentors and build their leadership skills. Our 2022 summer interns included four interns in our southern timberlands, four interns in Idaho timberlands and six interns at our wood products facilities.
Timberlands interns worked on a variety of projects including seedling survival assessments, comparison of three-year-old growth in open pollinated vs. mass-controlled pollinated seedlings, integrating Cherrylane Seed Orchard’s parent tree and combined orchard block climate information into a spatial model to match our seed orchard seed to planting locations with like climates, delineated Stream-Side Management Zones on harvest areas and field verification of seedling identification and mapping utilizing high-resolution imagery.
Wood products interns worked with the safety and environmental departments with key projects including data collection, managing aerosol waste and recycling, and taking water samples. A wood products IT intern provided end user support and training, installed personal computers and other equipment and built workstations.