Unlocking Employee Engagement in Sustainability: 7 Proven Strategies

by Oct 21, 2022Employee engagement0 comments

According to the article Engaging Employees to Create a Sustainable Business published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review

“The key to creating a vibrant and sustainable company is to find ways to get all employees—from top executives to assembly line workers—personally engaged in day-to-day corporate sustainability efforts.”

In other words, integrate sustainability into every employee’s job and way of thinking, and you will turn your sustainable business model into an everyday practice…. just business as usual.

So, the BIG question is…

How do you inspire your busy employees to feel the desire to take action?

Especially when it may seem like their efforts are like a single grain of sand in an hourglass. They can’t see the bigger picture… the picture of how each of their small actions, collectively, can make a huge impact!  

Use this article to explore how companies can engage their employees in sustainability through seven effective methods 

Engage your employees in your sustainability efforts.

1. Define the company’s current Sustainability Strategy and vision for the future 

Ensure that your company’s long-term sustainability vision is well-understood by your employees, with a clear grasp.Help them understand your current sustainability strategy. Simplify complex ideas and focus on purpose, making it easier for them to see the lasting value of their contributions. Effective communication is key to engaging your employees.

By aligning your company’s mission and values with that of the climate and planet, it will allow your employees to also feel empowered to do the same and to see value in their efforts.

So, ask yourself: Are your employees in tune and informed about what your company’s commitments to sustainability are? And How could you get them engaged on a day-to-day basis?

2. Create knowledge and competencies about sustainability

Sustainability should be everyone’s concern!

Getting engaged becomes challenging when sustainability, its significance for your company, and its impact on employees’ lives are not understood due to a lack of proper knowledge and competence.

Your company needs to provide educational resources that will help your employees gain the needed understanding and confidence to integrate the best sustainability practices into their decision-making process.

There are many resource types available for your company to use, for example, platforms like 2030 builders.

3. Make every employee a Green Ambassador   

Your company is only as strong as your weakest employee. By giving the power to each employee to be leaders of sustainability initiatives you are creating many shared values.

Value of individual= Value for the company

Your leadership team could be committed and believe in the company’s sustainability initiatives. People like your CEOs and board members need to be some of the first to show their commitment. By them engaging they set an example and can encourage employees to do it on their own.

4. Co-create best practice sustainability efforts with your employees

Your best practice sustainability efforts and strategy can be created alongside your employees. Letting them have the possibility to be innovative and feel empowered.

Get behind employee-led initiatives. Let them know that there will be resources and funding available to them to encourage their efforts. Doing this will show that your company can be committed to sustainability and allows them to be part of the SOLUTION.

5. Encourage healthy competition between employees

‍Moreover, no matter how strong the implementation of your sustainability strategy is or how informed your employees are, there will still be some who aren’t as engaged as others.

Thus, by creating a company culture of sustainability that recognizes and rewards employees for their sustainable efforts, you can foster some healthy competition surrounding your sustainability goals. Making it a safe place to practice and find value and validation from and with their peers. This could give them the extra push they would need to get fully engaged.  

6. Make sustainability the Norm… make it visible

It’s necessary to make your sustainable efforts seen both from inside and outside your company. Employees showing actions within your sustainable initiatives cannot simply be encouraged to do so. They must see that it is the norm…the everyday…business as usual.

There must be a change in their behavior, but in order to do this, they must have a change in their perspective of what the new norm is.

7. Commit to your sustainability efforts by creating transformational change

You must not just talk the talk but walk the walk.

By committing to your efforts and creating transformational change within your company you have the ability to inspire your employees to be a part of the change. Giving them self-motivation and confidence to make sustainable decisions on their own.

This will ultimately let them see the bigger picture: The climate crisis is NOT a you or a them problem it is a WE problem…. We can ALL be part of the SOLUTION and help stop the devastating effects that are currently plaguing our planet.

Final thoughts….

All of your employees are potential green ambassadors and co-collaborators on your sustainability journey.  

Let them be part of YOUR solution!

The enlistment of credible sustainability partners is important, as these 7 ways are utilized to engage your employees in sustainability.

You can find even more information about solutions for the implementation of your sustainability strategy and engaging  your employees in the solution by visiting 2030.builders

If you would like a step-by-step guide to engaging employees in your sustainability efforts, click here.

This article was inspired by an article written by the former CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman in his article published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review.


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