When it comes to sustainability and the workplace, most employees want to be part of the action. In fact, research shows that, after customers, employees are a key driving force behind sustainability efforts.
How can you encourage employees to play a larger role in your sustainability efforts? Create a culture that consistently encourages and recognizes their involvement.
Share Goals: The first thing you need to do is communicate. Let employees know what you are trying to accomplish and how they can help. By sharing your sustainability objectives, employees are better equipped to focus on the right things. Whether it’s upgrading the recycling bins to increase use or reducing energy and water consumption, your employees are on the front lines for putting your goals into action. Be sure to post signage about your sustainability goals near recycling areas and other high-traffic areas, and communicate consistently in the company newsletter or intranet.
Sustainable Cafeteria: Showcasing your sustainability commitment in action reinforces your message, and a great place to highlight efforts is the cafeteria, where people meet and congregate daily. Creating a more sustainable cafeteria is as easy as moving away from unsustainable materials, like Styrofoam, and upgrading the recycling station to composting and buying produce from local sources. Regardless of scale, even small improvements can have a big impact, both on company sustainability progress and employee sentiment. Use milestone successes as an opportunity to reward employees and celebrate results, such as a free coffee day when they bring their own reusable coffee mug.
Sustainability Events: Hosting team building events allows employees to get involved, and will multiply results. You may want to combine employee volunteer efforts with sustainability goals to maximize results. Plan volunteer events with local organizations to beautify playgrounds, plant trees or host a community e-waste event during Earth Day. Create green teams to help identify work-place areas for improvements. Recognize and reward employees for their involvement to reinforce how the company values the culture of sustainability. These activities are impactful, fun and tap into your employees passion around sustainability.
There are many ways sustainability can help improve employee engagement, build stronger teams and improve your company’s reputation in the community, and in industry. You may even want to ask employees, who are the best ambassadors of the company, to help amplify your message in social media. Sharing your stories of success will earn corporate social responsibility extra credit with stakeholders, and build a culture of sustainability.