How to Embed Sustainability Within Your Company Culture *

Employee Sustainability Engagement Stage 1


Note: This is the second 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.


This is the second installment in a five-part series on employee sustainability engagement. The first installment introduced the four stages of employee engagement.  It also explained the benefits and how companies with sustainability programs that are built upon high employee engagement perform better.

This installment will discuss the first stage.  Increasing your employees’ awareness and understanding of sustainability.  Not only what it means to your organization, but also what it means to your employees’.  We will also provide examples of how companies build an understanding of sustainability across diverse employee bases through communication, training and visual engagement. 


People Take Pride in Their Employment


When you meet a new person, how often do you ask, “Where do you work?”  It is no secret that employees often talk about their employer outside of the workplace.  

One way of examining employee engagement is to ask yourself how employees would describe your company when asked this question.  An engaged employee will typically have good things to say about the company.  They will be excited to talk about their job and will be proud of where they work.  Better yet, studies show that every engaged employee is worth $3,570 more a year.

How do your employees answer this question?


How do Your Employees Describe Your Company


In our first article in this series we said that after building a clear vision and strategy, the next step in employee engagement is to think about how you can best “meet your employees where they are”.  When planning how to increase awareness and understanding of sustainability.  

Meeting your employees where they are, requires finding out how they describe your company.  Identifying what they say, how they say it and who or what influences their perceptions of the company.  

Surveys work well for gathering this type of information, especially when you allow employees to answer some key questions in their own words.  Survey results can help shed light on what will work best through each of the stages of employee engagement, but in preparation for the awareness stage, the survey plays its most important role as it provides a place to start.


Surveys Identify Employee Satisfaction


A well-designed employee survey will point to your target audience and common vocabulary.  It can even identify who’s in the best position to educate employees on the company’s direction.  

If you know how employees currently describe your company and who or what influences their opinion.  Then you will be able to translate your sustainability goals and objectives into words and actions that resonate with them.


Your employee survey provides details needed to establish employee sustainability education guidelines

Develop Your Company Messaging


When you have decided on your messaging goals, it is important to consider how to deliver the message through the company’s top influencers.  Once the messaging is developed and disseminated throughout the company.  

It’s then effective to give your employees clear action items to accomplish.  This makes them feel as though they are contributing to the overall success of the organization. This will go a long way towards sustaining your sustainability momentum.


Sustainability Training and Education


Training Increases Sustainability Awareness


Training gives you an excellent opportunity to increase awareness about your company’s sustainability strategy.  It also helps to gain your employee trust through transparency.  However, if your training session sounds too much like Public Relations, it is not likely to increase employee commitment to your sustainability strategies.


Education Increases Sustainability Engagement


For this reason, it is important for any training session on sustainability to clearly explain why the company is adopting a sustainability strategy.  And how all parties involved will benefit.

Your employees know that you would not implement a sustainability strategy unless you thought the company would benefit.  So there’s no point in trying to present it otherwise.  If employees get a clear picture of your motives for embracing sustainability, they will be more likely to understand and support it.


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.  


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