Engaging your staff in sustainability

A focus on staff engagement is not only fundamental to the success of your sustainability programme, but it also increases staff morale. 

By Lindsey Hall

Sustainability will only ever become embedded in your organisation's culture when your employees are engaged in the improvements that you’re making. The good news is, that investing in staff engagement will not only improve your sustainability project, but will also increase your productivity and profitability. A poll of more than 125 businesses, conducted by Gallup Consulting, found that those who had highly engaged staff had 18% greater productivity and 12% higher profits.

So, we’ve identified that staff engagement is important. Now, where do you start?

Plan a launch (or re-launch) event

If you’re launching a new sustainability project, start it off with a bang in your staff facilities: display information posters, communicate your objectives clearly and transparently, and let staff know how your project will impact them. You could run workshops on recycling, arrange a tree planting day, or get a guest speaker in to talk to staff about how they can make their own homes more efficient and save money on their utility bills.

If you’re in the middle of a project but it doesn’t have the traction you would like, you could stage a re-launch event. It’s never too late to make it into a big deal, even if it didn’t start out that way.

Get the message out to all your staff

Your sustainability messaging needs to be readily accessible to all staff members and it needs to penetrate their consciousness. Ensure that it’s available in all of the most common languages and consider where you will make information available. Beyond the staff notice board, are there other places with long dwell time where you could put up posters? Could the information also be made available online and in email newsletters?

Share your successes – and failures!

As your sustainability project progresses, keep your staff up to date on your achievements. Name drop staff that have helped to make it happen, and create a spirit of togetherness.

If things haven’t gone quite so well and targets have been missed, ignore your urge to hide it under the covers. Let your staff know what happened, why, and what you’re going to do to make sure it’s a success next time. Keeping staff informed will greatly improve their sense of ownership in the programme.

Reach out for your staff’s opinions and suggestions

Staff who are actively carrying out their tasks often have great ideas on how these could be done better, and are just waiting to be asked! It will also make staff twice as engaged in the solutions if they feel that the changes have come from the bottom up, rather than simply having been sent down by management.

Leave an opinions box in staff facilities to allow anonymous suggestions. If people give their names, why not put them into a prize draw to encourage collaboration?

Create a green team

Green Teams can be invaluable during the initial phases of a project and they will then provide the necessary momentum to embed sustainability into the culture of your company.

Check out our article on Green Teams to find out how to get the most out of yours, or how to go about creating one.

Agree together on an environmental cause

If you decide that a proportion of the cost savings from your sustainability project could be donated to relevant charities, let your staff choose which cause they would like to support. Ask the charity to provide you with information on what your donation has enabled them to do. If there are opportunities to provide volunteers, why not set up some away days and allow staff to actively contribute.

How we can help

With an extensive background in training and engaging staff in sustainability initiatives, Green Steps can provide you with the tools to help win over your employees so they are fully committed to your sustainability project.

We will help you to set up fun and informative workshops, seminars and launch days, and can provide assistance in creating Green Teams and internal marketing campaigns to reach out to your staff.

  • green team
  • staff engagement
  • sustainability training