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10 Tips for Cultivating Employee Personal Responsibility around Sustainability

How to establish sustainable habits among your employees

Both consumers and employees care more about sustainability than ever! Learning how to encourage and enable sustainable habits for your employees not only can help boost workplace morale but also have a huge impact on our planet’s health.

CEOs can learn a few lessons about how a leading company can engage employees around sustainability.

Paul Polman, Unilever’s CEO, notes that many brands are becoming more aware that sustainability is crucial. However, employees tend to be skeptical about their company’s intentions with sustainability initiatives.  

Mainly, companies find it challenging to engage their employees in sustainable practices.

Why Going Green Matters

Companies have plenty of reasons to improve their impacts on the community and its environment. Going green means cutting costs. Brands can reduce waste — whether through energy or product — often saving money in the long run.

Sustainability also increases revenues. Customers connect with sustainable brands and are willing to spend more money on green or ethical products, such as those made from recycled materials or fair trade.

Employee retainment is easier to achieve, especially when finding quality workers is the top priority. Being a reputable company for treating employees and the planet is no longer just a good thing. People prefer to work for sustainable companies with an embedded culture.

Practicing sustainability is also good for publicity. Customers, employees, governments and suppliers will all talk about your company’s role in society and the environment. It’s smart for business leaders to be part of that conversation.

9 Reasons why sustainability is better for your business

Here are the top 10 strategies for cultivating employee responsibility around sustainability.

1. Establishing the Company’s Purpose

Companies successful at sustainability define their purpose. Once a business establishes its own values, employees will likely buy in. You should also assess what is in the company’s best interest in the long term.

2. Explain How Sustainability Benefits Company Profits

The aim is to help employees see the economic case for operating sustainably, but it may not be that easy. However, they need to understand that going green isn’t only about the good it delivers to the environment. It’s also about how the company performs. 

Employees and management must communicate about sustainable projects. Every initiative should showcase how it will benefit the company.

How businesses can reduce their carbon footprint

3. Create Sustainability Awareness

Spreading the knowledge and creating systems for your employees is key to integrating sustainability into business decisions.

Employees need to understand what sustainability is all about — and why it matters — to support the company’s efforts. Training programs can help employees learn about their role in the process and apply it to their everyday responsibilities.

4. Support Employees Through Implementation 

Successful companies lead by example and take ownership at all levels of the organization. Truly sustainable companies have everyone on board — from the CEO to employees.

Employers must incorporate the previous steps to avoid a lack of implementation:

  • Have a clear purpose
  • Understand the economic case
  • Provide training

The best way to accomplish this is to create policies on integrating sustainability into a decision-making framework.

5. Involve Employees in Creating Sustainable Practices

One of the best ways to engage employees in sustainability is to give them a voice. Provide them with the opportunity to create a company program. This gives them the power to share ideas and decide which of them to implement.

How to reduce water waste in your business 

6. Create a Healthy Competitive Work Environment

Consider offering rewards when employees achieve a sustainability goal. For example, suppose the office uses secondary fiber recycling to reduce waste by 25%. In that case, the company can host a fun event that employees can pick.

Businesses across the world are constantly looking for ways to improve workplace productivity and performance. However, finding the right rhythm or strategy can be difficult as there are several projects and timelines that you need to meet. This is where a performance improvement plan or pip template can be the perfect solution to your problem. The performance action plan offered by monday.com will allow you to customize and create an effective pip for each employee so that you can improve their work performance.

7. Embed Sustainability Throughout the Organization

According to Harvard Business Review, many companies talk about sustainability but fail to follow through with initiatives. One way of achieving those ambitions is to have clear metrics and goals that everyone can keep track of around the office.

It’s helpful for people to understand what the company is doing and how it’s making progress.

6 Tips to redesign your workplace into a sustainable office 

8. Showcase the Transformations

Employees need a reminder of the company’s original purpose for going green. One way of doing so is to share information with them when goals are met. This will encourage continued innovation.

9. Immerse Branding in Sustainability

Fostering a sustainable culture can help get buy-in from prospective employees. Companies that want to attract candidates with aligned values must integrate the message of sustainability into the brand.

10. Examine How the Culture Feels

The tone defines the company’s culture it sets when you interact with employees. It takes the entire team to build and maintain a company culture. Find out how business decisions are perceived so you can implement any changes when needed.

Creating an eco-friendly office space

Putting It All in Focus

Your company can begin going green by discussing it with shareholders. Sustainability is a journey, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s quite a process, but in the end, the investment will allow the company to harness its passion for making a difference.

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Jane Marsh

Jane is the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she shares practical tips on how to live a greener life.

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