A company’s social and environmental performance is becoming an increasingly important and much talked about topic, not just for investors and consumers, but also for employees!
Firstly, let’s look at why sustainability schemes are important for a businesses’ success…
Investors are showing increasing signs of demand for companies to demonstrate strong sustainability management and transparency of their social and environmental factors. Why?…because the positive demonstration of this shows solid overall company management, which will not only enhance investment value, but also mitigate risk.
Not to be overlooked is the statistic that around one in three consumers state they take into account sustainability concerns when shopping, according to a recent global study by Accenture and Havas Media. The trend of consumers wanting “relevant, truthful and easily understandable information about a company’s products or service”, as explained by The Guardian, is not one to be ignored!
Employees are showing just as much interest in a company’s sustainability initiatives with 59% of Millennials looking for an employer who shares their values, according to a PwC study. Further support as referenced by The Guardian, states that according to a recent study by marketing consultancy Interbrand, two-thirds of all US workers are happier in their jobs knowing that their employers are helping protect the environment.
The key question to address is how to make sure that your organisation’s sustainability strategy is engaging and interesting for your employees…
Taking the time to understand where your employees’ passions lie within sustainability and environmental factors is important… You cannot force strategies on employees and expect them to buy-in and be immediately passionate about it! Discussing the topic of sustainability with employees and understanding what interests them to make it more of a collaborative journey will work a million times more effectively! As Alexi Carli, global health and safety manager at UPS rightly states in this article on The Guardian; “Management needs to provide support and an overall framework, as well as set expectations, but real employee creativity comes when you loosen the reins.” An increasing number of workers want to work for a company where they can become an active part of the sustainability program and not have to shut-off their values and beliefs around social and environmental factors when in the workplace.
Generating volunteering opportunities is a great way to get employees feeling more passionate and interested in the initiatives. This is a great way to take employees away from their daily routine and encourage them to ‘think outside the box’; you could even create a competition out of a sustainability project! This approach encourages employees to view things from a different standpoint, which could result in a solution to a work issue or new creative ideas, which otherwise may have not been realised!
The more that employees engage with the sustainability strategy, the more innovative, collaborative and successful it will be. As a leader you need to champion the focus on sustainability and encourage your team’s participation and input. Hold open communications around the topics, use flexible and varied ways to promote involvement within your team and the more you become immersed in sustainability, the more your team will follow suit. With the obvious importance and benefits for involvement in sustainability and environmental schemes, it is not something you can afford to ignore!