An annual event since 1970, Earth Day seeks to educate and mobilize participants to build a healthy, sustainable environment, address climate change, and protect the Earth.
Organisations around the world are increasingly focusing on employee engagement and exploring strategies to improve engagement levels as a means of increasing productivity, improving talent retention and brand value.
Some companies spend a lot of money on initiatives designed to improve engagement, however research shows that there is a simple tactic employers can use to dramatically improve employee productivity, satisfaction and engagement - implement green initiatives.
A study published in the Journal of Organisational Behaviour showed that employees at green firms were 16% more productive than employees at other firms, concluding that "employees in such green firms are more motivated, receive more training, and benefit from better interpersonal relationships. [The] employees at green companies are therefore more productive than employees in more conventional firms.”
Similarly, research from the Charlton College of Business at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth found that employees are likely to report higher levels of job satisfaction if they work for a company that is perceived to be environmentally friendly.
Going green doesn't need to cost a lot
Some companies can shy away from trying to be more environmentally friendly because they worry it will add a significant cost to their bottom line. But you don't need to do a complete overhaul of your operations to see the business benefit of green initiatives. Researchers found that "not only are a company's actions to become more environmentally friendly important, but also the communication of these actions and subsequent results is important."
Humans like to feel like they have a sense of purpose, and while beating your colleagues to the title of "Least wasteful employee in Q2" might not seem like an earth-shifting achievement, encouraging employees to work toward a common goal with an altruistic intention can be a powerful motivator and bonding exercise. Plus, every little bit of green progress counts!
According to Simon Mainwaring, CEO of California-based brand consultancy We First Branding, "whether it’s simply recycling or a systemic commitment to the environment... it gives employees a chance to feel like they matter, and what they do matters. By extension, they will build awareness of the brand and grow the business."
Here are some simple strategies your organisation can adopt to improve your green image and employee engagement. And don't forget to communicate any activities to your business and invite people to get involved!
Simple strategies to be more green:
- Implement company-wide recycling policies and challenge employees to limit waste
- Switch to energy efficient light globes
- Use recycled paper in the printer and challenge employees to use less
- Provide employees with re-useable water bottles to discourage consumption of drinks in PET plastic
- Ask employees to power down their computer and other desk appliances fully in the evening
- Explore corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that can get your organisation involved in helping the local community
Found this article useful? View more of our advice on employee engagement and retention.
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