Given the climate crisis, net zero policies, and the rise of ethical consumerism, sustainability is no longer an added bonus to businesses; it’s vital to their growth. While the majority of companies are beginning to take action, many find it difficult to embed sustainability fully, stalling their progress and leaving them open to accusations of greenwashing.
One way to ensure your business is doing its part is by engaging your staff in the process. Not only can they help make sure you’re on track to meet your targets and provide new ideas, but it also helps build a culture of sustainability and doing good.
This is especially important as Millennials and Gen Zers are now already in or soon entering the workforce. Deloitte’s Global 2021 Survey shows that young people choose their employers based on the impact they are making and describes engaging in sustainability as “critical to protecting resources, generating long-term sustainable value, and attracting and retaining high-performing young employees.”
Here are three ways you can start engaging your staff in your sustainability journey:
1) Build a green team
One of the best ways to begin engaging staff is to build a ‘green team’ of talented and motivated staff who can volunteer some time to focus on environmental issues and help the company sharpen their sustainability strategy.
While staff may not pay attention to every internal newsletter or the latest sustainability objectives, they are likely to listen to their colleague’s opinions. This means your green team can act as change-makers themselves and help drive your sustainability agenda. It will also help ensure your sustainability KPIs are met and provide a great talking point about what you’re doing to be more planet friendly.
The first step could be getting interested employees to sign up to join the green team and setting up your first meeting to raise issues, decide on the next steps, and problem-solve together.
2) Get feedback
Engaging your wider staff can be more difficult, but a great way to get started is to conduct some research to gauge employee engagement, satisfaction and interest. Here, you can find out things like which environmental areas are most relevant to them and how engaged they are with the company’s current sustainability strategy. Doing periodic surveys and polls is a great way to increase engagement and encourage employee feedback.
Another option is to hold sustainability spotlight meetings so employees can share tips and personal anecdotes with each other. You may be surprised by the new and innovative suggestions your team will come up with if asked. If you have a green team, this could even be an excellent first task for them to lead on.
3) Make it fun
A little fun never hurt, especially when trying to engage your employees in sustainability. Whether you’re looking to cut down on energy use, increase recycling, or just help everyone make more eco-friendly choices, a great way to get everyone involved is to make it a challenge. Workplace challenges provide an opportunity for team members to bond, and by incorporating sustainability into them, your staff can really feel like they are making a difference.
At Play It Green, we realise how important it is to engage your staff, which is we not only provide weekly tips but let you run sustainability challenges directly from your Forest Garden. These come premade and follow our 3-step solution of Reduce, Repair, Regive, ensuring your team makes a positive environmental and social impact. You can also create your own challenges to work with your business’s unique sustainability goals.
Finally, when you do hit sustainability targets, make sure you get everyone involved in celebrating the occasion. This keeps morale high, your employees motivated and helps everyone feel like they’ve played a part in achieving the goal.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and there are thousands of potential ways to involve your team and build a more eco-conscious workplace culture, but it’s an excellent place to get started.
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