According to studies, employee retention, productivity, and general engagement all increase due to sustainable strategies such as energy savings. Nonetheless, even when the individuals who work for these organizations, including their leaders, are concerned about global sustainability, it is difficult for them to operationalize sustainability goals. Not enough businesses have found out how to connect their employees’ ideals and commitment to sustainability to their daily work and operations. To put it another way, the gap is not in the why but the how of embedding sustainability.
The first step in resolving the tension that people may experience between their professional responsibilities and their personal principles is to emphasize the company’s long-term objectives, which are unquestionably better aligned with the benefit of society and the environment.
To stay in business, a firm must produce money, but it can do so in a way that follows the triple bottom line, which considers people and the environment as well as profit.
When a corporation begins to think beyond profit and consider the long-term, it may be confronted with an unanswerable question: “Why does this firm exist?”
Companies who want to stay relevant and competitive as we go into the purpose economy will need to be able to answer this issue.
B Corps, for example, is a growing international movement of businesses united in their belief that business can and should be used for good. Greyston Bakery, a Certified B Corp, is one of the best instances of a profitable business with a social mission, as their famous motto goes, “We don’t hire people to bake brownies; we hire people to bake brownies.”
Basically, you can get employees to show up only to get paid, but you can engage them when they realize their work’s larger meaning and purpose. It’s not always simple to persuade employees to recognize the economic justification for operating more sustainably, but it’s critical; otherwise, people would believe that sustainability is only about ‘doing good,’ not also about ‘doing well.
While the triple bottom line emphasizes environmental stewardship and social responsibility, a company must be profitable in order to stay in business. Making the business case for sustainability efforts is crucial across the organization. Persuading employees to recognize the economic basis for functioning more sustainably is not always easy, but it is vital; otherwise, people would assume that sustainability is simply about ‘doing good,’ not also about ‘doing well.
While the triple bottom line emphasizes environmental stewardship and social responsibility, in order to stay in business, a firm must be successful. Across the organization, making the business case for sustainability measures is critical. From energy use to procurement, sustainability affects every part of a company. It is critical to teach employees about sustainability and create systems and processes that make it easier for employees to integrate sustainability into their business decisions to strengthen the “can do” belief and attitude among employees.
Providing staff with sustainability training is a crucial step in fostering a sustainable culture. Employees, after all, need to know what sustainability is and why it’s essential to properly support the company’s sustainability activities. This training can be done in various ways for small organizations, including using a combination of internal and external resources.
You may, for example, offer a monthly “lunch and learn” session on a different topic relevant to corporate sustainability or display sustainability movies followed by a group discussion. You can also set aside a small budget for staff training to attend conferences, seminars, or online activities (be sure to ask the employees to share what they learned with coworkers at one of the monthly lunches).
You’ll want to build systems and processes that help employees implement what they’re learning in their own job, in addition to making sustainability training a regular part of their experience. Allowing employees to assist in designing applicable policies for the organization or incorporating sustainability into the decision-making process you already use to identify new initiatives are two straightforward methods to accomplish this.
One thing that every great firm has in common is good leadership. And nowhere is this more vital than in building a long-term business. However, having sustainability champions at the top isn’t enough—they must be nurtured at all levels and across the organization. To be really sustainable, a firm must ensure that everyone – from the CEO to the lowest-level staff – is on board with sustainability.
Employees may not have the resources or direction to undertake a sustainability program without the CEO’s backing. On the other hand, without staff support, a CEO’s vision may falter owing to a lack of implementation. To get everyone on board with sustainability, make sure you’ve followed all of the procedures we’ve discussed so far: establish a clear objective, understand the business case, and teach people.
Every person in the organization will be able to assist with the firm’s sustainability program after they understand the company’s long-term purpose and the business case for sustainability and have received the required training. Involving employees in the co-creation of sustainable practices is another important strategy to integrate sustainability in a company. Acting on employee initiatives is one way to do this.
Giving employees a say in creating the company’s sustainability program is one of the most refined ways to engage people in sustainability. This was one of the top recommendations from a recent study of a few experts on employee engagement tactics. Employees will automatically buy in if they are given the opportunity to design your company’s sustainability project rather than being given directions from on high.
Creating a green team is one of the most effective methods to accomplish this. Your staff will have a space to express their ideas and make judgments on which ones to execute with the help of a green team.