Updated: Mar 6
Whilst doing some further research into how to engage employees in sustainability I came across an excellent article written by Rodolphe d’Arjuzon (great name too) MD and Global Head of Research at Verdantix and I have summarised his findings below:
D’Arjuzon identified that employees are essential in transforming an elaborate strategy into action or “Carbon-reducing reality” as one example..
They [employees] are on the front line of business and every little action they take adds up. But as d’Arjuzon notes, as businesses move beyond the basics, they need more commitment from employees to improve processes, innovate products etc. Here comes the rub.
Motivating employees is not easy. Not as many care as we would like to think; some don’t know why its relevant and some, even if they do care, struggle to change their routines (more on behaviour change coming soon). There is no easy solution, but d’Arjuzon noted how Mitsubishi Electric UK used a survey to segment the audience to ensure the right messages for the right groups. We have certainly seen how this can be powerful. Global Action plan used surveys, focus groups and spot checks to choose the right interventions to change behaviours in the ‘more challenging groups’.
Making sustainability part of an employee’s job description has also helped because it engenders responsibility.
Communication – the oft used buzzword of many organisations is key and those businesses that not only encourage ‘green teams’ but actually budget 10% the green teams time in work to communicating on sustainability seem to get the best results. Volunteering opportunities and framing of conversations also add to engagement.
Facilitation is another strategy worth consideration. Not so surprisingly carpooling works best in businesses with a high number of office-based staff, so make sure whatever you are planning to do is relevant to the business and substantial numbers of employees. Providing funding for employee led initiatives can reap rewards – substituting effort for funding, but empowering people to take control and action.
Of course, since d’Arjuzon wrote his article many software or cloud-based solutions have been released that can help and I am sure many more will come to market in the near future. But as the wise man noted:
“But one thing is clear: without employees' engagement, sustainability strategies in the workplace will never succeed.”
Rudolphe d@Arjuzon’s take on how you engage your employees in sustainability can be found here https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/employees-engaged-sustainability-how