Employees want to work for a business that shares their ethics and values. They want to know that their employer has a moral compass and that they are authentically interested in solving the world’s major issues.
Employees also want to feel empowered by their employer. Empowered employees create a culture of community and are more invested in the success of the business.
You can improve employee engagement by tapping into a commonly held value: sustainability. Nearly 9 in 10 people want to live in a more sustainable, equitable world and will work hard to protect the environment.
Effective leaders are imaginative, driven, and care about their employees. This helps them create greater buy-in when rolling out new initiatives and practices. As a leader in the workplace, you can improve engagement in sustainability practices by educating employees and underlining the need for greater environmental activism.
Start by highlighting the key facts and figures. Draw from trusted sources like NASA and empower your people by giving them access to key environmental data. You may find that some folks are still reluctant to join in with sustainability practices, but others will come around to the idea.
Consider reaching out to employees before you start setting new policies. You may find that your employees are already enthusiastic about making a positive change and have ideas that you had not yet considered. A quick sustainability survey will improve buy-in and ensure you create a sustainable workplace that everyone cares about.
Sustainability should start in the workplace. There are plenty of easy changes you can make to minimize your business’s impact on the environment and become a force for positive change.
If your employees wear a uniform or must meet a dress code, consider starting a sustainable clothing scheme that embraces slow fashion and recycled clothing. Keep stock of old uniforms, and offer to repair any damaged clothes. If your employees are due to attend an event with a dress code, consider renting suits and formal wear. This will save your employees money and help reduce their personal waste.
You should liaise with your local council or government to discover sustainability schemes in your area. You may be surprised to learn about new recycling and waste-reduction opportunities in your district. When speaking with local government, use the opportunity to connect with governmental organizations that help you form a deeper relationship with your community.
Employees care about the impact their job has on the world. 74% of employees say that their job is more fulfilling when their businesses make a positive change in their community and 64% of millennials say that they would not work for an employer that does not have a strong corporate social responsibility program.
Sustainability-oriented employees will also want to see your business make a financial commitment to sustainability. If possible, set aside part of your budget for sustainability-oriented outreach opportunities.
You can amplify your business’s impact on the local environment by working with community organizations that protect your local ecosystem. Look for community outreach programs that host opportunities like:
● Community Clean Up
● Community Gardening or Allotment Schemes
● Water Conservation Efforts
● Waste-Free Events
These sustainability opportunities can improve your brand presence and help improve employee engagement. Sustainability-oriented employees will jump at the chance to make a difference in their city or town and will love that your business gives them financial backing.
As a leader, employees look to you as an example and will model their workplace behavior on you. If you ignore recycling bins and wear fast fashion, they will too. Instead, take your role seriously and try to model sustainability and eco-conscious living whenever possible.
Make your commitment to sustainability public by starting a carpooling scheme. Carpooling is a great way to save money on fuel and reduce everyone’s personal carbon emissions. Create an informal network of contact information and start a rotation so everyone does their fair share of driving. Carpooling employees may even be eligible for financial kickbacks from the Clean Air act depending on the state you live in.
Consider hosting a voluntary sustainability-oriented town-hall meeting once per month. Town hall meetings encourage participation from all levels of the corporate ladder and give everyone an equal voice. Take the suggestions you gather in earnest and try to incorporate as many ideas as possible into your workplace planning.
Your employees want to work for a business that matches their values and commitment to sustainability. Give your employees access to all the information they need and survey them to discover which sustainability policies excite them the most. Set a strong personal example by following your own policies to the letter and offer opportunities to carpool and clean up your community. Even small changes, like offering rented business attire, can reduce your personal carbon emissions and improve employee engagement.
About the Author: Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and business topics are his favorite. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.