According to the article Engaging Employees to Create a Sustainable Business published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review (ssir.org)
“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.
Table of Contents
- So, the BIG question is…
- Use this article to look at 7 ways companies can get their employees engaged in sustainability.
- 1. Define the company’s current Sustainability Strategy and vision for the future
- 2. Create knowledge and competencies about sustainability
- 3. Make every employee a Green Ambassador
- 4. Co-create best practice sustainability efforts with your employees
- 5. Encourage healthy competition between employees
- 6. Make sustainability the Norm… make it visible
- 7. Commit to your sustainability efforts by creating transformational change
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 look at 7 ways companies can get their employees engaged in sustainability.
1. Define the company’s current Sustainability Strategy and vision for the future
Your employees must be informed and have a clear picture of your company’s long-term vision for sustainability. They need to understand what your current sustainability strategy is. By using an idea that is too complicated or only motivated by the money it will be hard for them to see the long-term benefit of their efforts. So, without clear communication, you will struggle to get your employees engaged.
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 can you get them engaged on a day-to-day basis?
2. Create knowledge and competencies about sustainability
Sustainability should be everyone’s concern!
Without the proper knowledge and competence to understand what sustainability means, regarding your company and your employees’ lives, it is hard to get engaged.
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 must 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 need to 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 is committed to sustainability and allows them to be part of the SOLUTION.
5. Encourage healthy competition between employees
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.
So, 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 needed 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.
All of your employees are potential green ambassadors and co-collaborators on your sustainability journey.
Let them be part of YOUR solution!
As you use these 7 ways to get your employee engaged in sustainability, it is important to enlist the help of creditable sustainability partners.
You can find even more information about solutions for the implementation of your sustainability strategy and engaging your employees in the solution by visiting https://2030.builders/solution-2/sustainability-training/
If you would like step by step guide to engaging employees in your sustainability efforts please https://2030.builders/5-steps-to-engage-employees-in-sustainability/
This article is inspired by an article written by the former CEO of Unilever, Paul Polman in his article published by the Stanford Social Innovation Review. https://ssir.org/articles/entry/engaging_employees_to_create_a_sustainable_business
 https://ssir.org/articles/entry/engaging_employees_to_create_a_sustainable_business# accessed 15/8/22
 https://news.stanford.edu/2017/10/06/change-behaviors-changing-perception-normal/ accessed 19/8/22