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Creating an environmentally-positive workplace culture

Creating an environmentally-positive workplace culture

In a world where COVID-19 and climate change keep us on our toes, a major societal-level trend is emerging: The rise of sustainability at work as a proactive solution to climate change and as a purpose-driven link between the company and the employee. 

From an environmental point of view, sustainability is about how companies are genuinely committed to protecting and enhancing the wellbeing of our planet. Being socially and environmentally cautious creates a favourable ground for companies to improve their environmental impact, reduce energy use and waste while enhancing brand image and building customer loyalty. According to a survey conducted by Ernst & Young, high social and environmental standards consumers expect from the companies and manufacturers to meet follow through their behaviours as well. Over half – 55% – of respondents participating in this post-pandemic survey consider the environmental impact of production in their purchasing decisions. 

Below, we will go into the environmental sustainability perspective and its relevance when it comes to helping attract and retain top talent as well as foster a culture of holistic wellbeing across organisation. 

Sustainable business strategies help attract and retain top-notch talent

Unily conducted a survey to understand the impact of climate change and COVID-19 on transforming workplaces. Accordingly, 65% of the respondent employees tend to opt for working for a company with a strong environmental policy, and 72% are concerned about environmental ethics.

Some other surveys reveal similar findings and make it evident that sustainability has taken a lead position in the hiring and retention of employees. According to a new global survey from IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV), 71% of employees and employment seekers say that when a company has a reputation for being environmentally sustainable it becomes more attractive. Conducting a survey to understand generational tendencies, Deloitte found out that almost 9 in 10 millennials believe that financial performance can only be one indicator of the success of a company. They think that companies should also pay attention to the environment and care about the social life of their employees. When these findings are considered together with another global movement, as some call “Big Resignation”, companies could face a risk of losing top talent to more sustainability-conscious competitors.

Why do employees and job seekers look for environmental consciousness and sustainability in companies? The Network for Business Sustainability lists three key reasons: 

  • taking pride in working for a prestigious organization admired for its sustainability; 

  • believing that when a company cares about the wellbeing of the planet, it likely treats its employees well; and

  • feeling that they work in a place that is compatible with their values and shares their goals.

 

Sustainability, employee wellbeing and the environment

Being environmentally conscious not only works toward protecting our planet, it also plays a pivotal role in employee engagement and wellbeing. Forum for the Future defines sustainability as a dynamic process which enables “all people to realise their potential and to improve their quality of life.” The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals also address sustainability not only in terms of climate action but also reducing poverty and inequalities, improving health and wellbeing, and developing sustainable communities. 

Such holistic mind-sets are the essence that shapes our ways of doing business at Wellbees. We strongly believe that prioritising employee wellbeing and taking courageous and authentic steps to be greener and more environmentally-positive are two ends linked to one another and must be considered in tandem to create a meaningful impact and behavioural change. 

When businesses adopt sustainability practices and generate value through eco-friendly measures, employees feel their health and wellbeing are honoured by their employer. Enhanced employee morale and engagement improves the bottom line and success of a company over time.  Let your employees know their safety, wellbeing and comfort come first and encourage them to personally engage in greening their ways of working and living. 

How to promote wellbeing and sustainability at workplace

Conversations around sustainability is your starting point, so eco-aware training and communications through multi channels including company website, social media, regular meetings and casual dialogues are essential. 

  • Define your sustainability workplace goals. 

  • Corporate environmental goals into your corporate values and publish green goals on your website.

  • Include your progress in annual report.

  • Develop new policies and codes of conduct to support and further green practices at workplace. 

Highlighting management’s commitment and encouraging your employees to be a part of sustainability movement is as much crucial. 

  • Make sure that sustainable practices and actions get buy-in at multiple levels across organization from senior executives and managers to employees.

  • Create a sustainability council having members from every department and consider to give out periodical sustainability award to incentivise environmentally positive behaviours.

  • Focus on behavioural change through promoting volunteer actions including some event-based activities such as planting trees or cleaning up parks or neighbourhood. 

Green offices are improving productivity & boosting businesses’ bottom line as they keep employees healthy and happy, finds a report by World Green Building Council. 

  • Do an audit of your current workplace to identify inefficiencies and define a roadmap for improvement.

  • Start by making small changes towards sustainability if you are not fully prepared to take bolder actions, such as improving air quality, increasing natural light in your building and introducing more greenery.

  • Cut back on unnecessary office equipment and materials without compromising office productivity and effectiveness.

  • Use sustainable office supplies and be sure to purchase from suppliers who are environmentally responsible in their conduct of business. 

  • Try to introduce and maintain flexible/remote working for the sake of the planet and your employees.  Remote working does not only create a number of benefits for the environment with more cars off the road and offices empty, but also has  a potential to positively influence people’s wellbeing if fair policies and effective technologies are in place. 

Improving the wellbeing of our people and our planet requires to take authentic and bold steps. Having found themselves in a purpose- and value-driven era, companies are now turning inwards and reflecting on how they create value both for their shareholders and society as a whole. A sustainable business agenda has already seeped into the core of business landscape. While consumers are demanding to purchase from environmentally responsible brands, employees alike are increasingly becoming more concerned about environmental ethics and prefer to work in a place that is compatible with their values and shares their goals. There will be always room for further development in corporate sustainability and in this sense it is by no means flawless but a lot of organizations around the globe are working to improve their green reputations according to their needs and probabilities. Genuine and resolute actions towards sustainability help develop a deeper sense of belonging and dedication in your people who also believe in the eco-friendly approach. And this will translate into commitment to their employer, stronger work ethic, and recommendations to both potential employees and customers. Motivate yourself by thinking of the prospect of a better future for people and the planet and care about the wellbeing of your people and environment to thrive in the future of the work.

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Human-centered leadership in the future of work

 

SOURCES

https://reba.global/content/sustainability-in-the-workplace-and-its-importance-to-tomorrow-s-workforce

https://academ.escpeurope.eu/pub/IP%202021-33-EN.pdf

https://www.nbs.net/articles/three-reasons-job-seekers-prefer-sustainable-companies

https://rpsc.energy.gov/sites/default/files/publication/c-1321_Evolution%20of%20Sustainability%20Initiatives%20in%20Employee%20Engagement.pdf

https://greenbusinessbureau.com/blog/how-sustainability-benefits-companies-by-increasing-employee-attraction-and-retention/

https://blog.kyoceradocumentsolutions.com.au/benefits-of-business-sustainability-helps-you-attract-the-best-staff

 

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