Sustainability Provides Opportunities

 

Note: This is the first installment in a five-part series on engaging employees around sustainability. The first part introduced the four stages of employee engagement; the second part discussed raising employee awareness about sustainability; the third part discussed connecting to the company’s vision and strategy; the fourth part discussed how connection leads to commitment; while the fifth part discusses learning the secrets of measuring employee sustainability engagement.

 

Sustainability leadership is a fairly new opportunity for your business to explore.  One of the most important components, employee engagement benefits companies in several ways.

Sustainability strengthens your business in areas ranging from increasing employee retention and satisfaction to positive financial impact.  Many companies with sustainability programs built upon high employee engagement perform better and provide tangible benefits to both the employees and the company.

According to Net Impact’s Talent Report:  “Workers who are able to make a social or environmental impact on the job are more satisfied by 2:1.”

Employee engagement is a critical component of the organizational change and development which you are seeking.  Without the buy-in and support of employees, it is difficult to make any type of meaningful organizational change within a company.

 

Sustainability Engaged Employees are Satisfied

 

According to the Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing Index, which each year surveys employees about their level of job satisfaction.  The most important way to engage workers is to enable them to make progress in meaningful work.  They found that organizations that do this successfully have 3.9 times the earning per share growth compared to organizations with lesser engagement in the same industry.

 

Sustainability Engaged Employees Perform Better

 

Can your organization increase performance by engaging employees in sustainability?  Companies are finding themselves in one or more stages of the sustainability process.  This results in various levels of employee engagement, at any given time.

Several stages may occur simultaneously.  Not necessarily in any linear order.  In our coming three-part series, there are some guidelines and tips for making each stage, shown in the diagram below, a success.

 

Stages of employee sustainability engagement

Stages of Sustainability Engagement

 

Beginning, you need a solid sustainability vision and strategy so employees have a clear understanding of the company’s future direction.  Employees need to understand why sustainability is important to the organization and their own futures.  This foundational step is key and will be the glue that ties together all the other elements as the stages progress.

You must build on that clear vision and strategy.  Think next about how you can best “meet your employees where they are”.  You have to increase employee awareness and understanding of sustainability.  Consider not only what sustainability means to your organization, but also what it means to your employees.

Once you’ve connected with your employees on a more personal level and they feel a closer connection to the vision and strategy.  You are then well positioned to move them toward individual commitments, both at work and at home.  This requires ongoing interaction, idea sharing and reinforcement of their value in the company’s sustainability journey.

Finally, as an organization and its employees progress through the stages along the engagement continuum, they will achieve action-oriented results built upon a healthy level of competition, recognition, and rewards.

 

Employee Sustainability Engagement Matters

 

Employee sustainability engagement is important, however, the journey doesn’t stop there.  As new employees join your company, others retire, and some change positions, you will need to seek new ways to engage or re-engage them.  

 

Sustainability Engagements First Phase, Awareness

 

In our next post, we will cover in more detail the first phase of engagement, Awareness.  We will also provide ideas and examples of how companies have built an understanding of sustainability across diverse employee bases both nationally and globally.

 

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

 

If you would like to calculate your Carbon Footprint, follow the link to the free carbon footprint calculator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.