Generally, the surest way toward environmental and business sustainability is to engage an entire workforce from the top down. While executive support is a critical key component of most success stories, it is not the only direction from which leadership can come.
Business sustainability leaders are often not the management or executives of the company. They are the employees with eco awareness in the organization who take action to make change.
At Wal-Mart, employees are empowered through the company’s personal sustainability project. In just one example, the company saved $1 million a year from a suggestion by an employee to turn out the lighting on the vending machines at night.
This act of employees working with the company leaders to define value and implement change is referred to as leading up.
Whether you work in a corporate culture in which employee action is encourage or a more traditional culture with less communication, there are strategies to further facilitate eco awareness and lead-up in the organization.
1. Engage management by incorporating sustainability targets as part of your personal performance metrics.
2. Include sustainability concepts in your personal development plan.
3. Take on difficult projects where there is opportunity to make significant sustainable change in the current operation of the company.
4. Look for opportunities to link value and sustainability in all work activities and projects.
5. Become the person in the organization that others look to for sustainability knowledge and innovative ideas.
When companies consider what other businesses have achieved through upward leadership, they can better appreciate their own opportunities for improved employee engagement. In our professional consulting at Taiga Company, we work with clients to encourage employees to leverage their eco awareness for the benefit of the organization.