5 Ideas for Engaging Employees in Sustainability

Communicating the purpose of your sustainability efforts to employees can be challenging. For continued success you need to create ambassadors to help spread the message and achieve your goals.

The benefits are tremendous. Not only will you create believers, but it will help in recruitment efforts. It isn’t news that sustainability is increasingly top of mind for millennials.

Here are 5 ideas you can put into action:

1. Make your goals relevant to employees.

Break down your long-term goals into shorter-term milestones, so you can encourage a culture of sustainability without overwhelming employees with targets that seem unrelated to their individual efforts. See if there are perks employees will enjoy that also further the goals (like preferred parking as a reward, showers at work or a discount on bikes, etc.).

2. Consider a branded program.

Once you establish your program, all efforts reinforce the messages and the value it adds. These programs can start internal-only and grow to encompass as much or as little as you are comfortable with. Examples include GE’s Ecomagination, Stanley Black & Decker’s EcoSmart or Tyco’s Vital World.

3. Create an award.

Create an award to recognize achievement and inspire others. Plus, nothing brings out stories from employees like the opportunity for recognition. Once stories are collected they can feed your other communications efforts.

4. Keep communicating.

Use blogs or your intranet to keep employees up to date on progress and key developments in your sustainability program and progress. Be public about it if you can. Make sustainability a part of your new-hire orientation process. Try quizzes and polls to engage and educate employees.

5. Use plain language.

Speak in the language of consumers and draw a connection between your goals and the larger trend of sustainability in the economy. Avoid jargon, as always.

Once you have an educated and fully engaged group of ambassadors and subject matter experts, there are more opportunities to pursue, like speaking engagements and events. As always, there is nothing more beneficial to your business than engaged employees.