A company’s employees have a direct effect on its bottom line. Happy, engaged employees will be 20% more productive, and if they’re sales people, they’re 37% more productive. And one of the things that makes employees happy is working for a sustainable company. Yes, it’s not just consumers and investors that care about your sustainability – your employees do too.
This is particularly the case with millennials, with 75% saying they would actually accept a smaller salary to work for a sustainable company.
Considering millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, this is a number to take seriously. So, how do you attract and retain employees and make sure they’re happy and engaged through your sustainability efforts? You have to do more than just show them you’re sustainable – you have to get them directly involved with your sustainability efforts, enhancing your employee morale. Here are some ways to do that.
1. Connect with your employee morale involving them from day one
The moment an employee signs that contract, get them involved in your company’s sustainability efforts. Whenever you want to design a new sustainability strategy, involve your employees, every one of them every step of the way.
Employees can be involved on so many levels, such as:
- providing sustainable ideas the company can adopt;
- helping co-design green initiatives and strategies;
- participating on corporate volunteering teams.
You can also set sustainability goals and create a culture of healthy competition between employees. The key is to let employees know what you are doing and how they can get involved. One way to do this is to create checklists and other materials that are distributed to every employee so they know exactly what they can do to help the company meet its sustainability goals.
2. Work on your employee morale educating them
Many employees may not know what your company does to be sustainable or where there are opportunities to improve sustainability. For this reason, it is wise to invest in educating employees, so they have this knowledge, then put processes and systems in place to make it easy for them to put that knowledge into action.
When you do this, employees at every level can make every decision with sustainability in mind. Sustainability will be infused into every level of your company’s operations, from reception to the CEO’s office, from the factory floor to the laboratory. Many companies, such as Nestlé and IBM have implemented this kind of training program.
3. Enhance your employee morale and make them ambassadors
One of the best ways to get employees at all levels involved in sustainability efforts is to make them ambassadors of the cause. They can be internal ambassadors, leading the way to sustainability within their own departments and working to engage and lead others on the path to sustainability. This might entail making the most passionate or innovative people take the lead on sustainability projects on a company-wide or departmental level or be the sustainability leader on their team.
Employees can also be external ambassadors, being the public face for the company’s sustainability efforts, both in how they live their personal lives and in the company’s marketing campaigns. Your employees can let the public know how your company is reducing their carbon footprint and ensuring the ethical production of your products.
Perhaps a company podcast, either internal or external, run by one or more employees to bring to light serious issues and how your company is addressing them.
4. Get your employee out of the office
Sustainability might start in the office, but it doesn’t necessarily have to stay there. Get your employees out in the real world. You can do this by:
- getting them involved in a grassroots or community programs;
- supporting them in volunteering abroad for humanitarian or disaster relief;
- do tree planting together;
- participate in trash cleanup together.
There are so many ways to work outside the office as a team. Your employees will have fun, find it meaningful, and be much happier and engaged.
5. Make it personal
People want to live more sustainably. Consumers want the companies they do business with to help them do that and employees are no different. Wal-Mart is the perfect example of making it personal in the real world. Close to 50% of their employees are part of the company’s personal sustainability project, which offers them education and support on sustainable living that they can apply to their own lives.
When coming to work means more than the 9-5 grind just to bring home a paycheck, you will find you have happier, more engaged employees. And they have the ability to take your sustainability efforts from the planning stage to reality. After all, these are the people who take care of day-to-day operations. It makes sense that they be an integral part of sustainability at your company. Possibly with high employee morale!
We collected 5 strategies that can help your brand rise up among competitors thanks to one of the best eco-friendly initiatives that companies can adopt: carbon offset. You can download the free ebook here: "5 environmentally friendly branding strategies: the case of Carbon Offset".