It seems there is a disconnect between a corporate sustainability plan and how that vision filters down and is exercised in the day to day processes of an individual worker's life. Granted, there are leading organizations that have successfully tied process to sustainability initiatives; currently, they are the exception, not the norm.
So, how do engage employees in corporate responsibility?
- Corporate volunteering: Engaging employees in corporately supported volunteering is an essential piece of all credible CSR programs that translates CSR values to action.
- Green teams are formal or informal groups of people in a company organized around environmental issues and tasked with ways to promote sustainable business practices. Green teams are excellent in spearheading eco efficiency programs: paper reduction, recycling programs, promote energy conservation, and more, making a huge difference within a department. Great for team building too.
- Create individual employee sustainability programs. The basic premise of a personal sustainability program is to reduce the carbon footprint, lighten the load on the planet as well as reap the benefits of living a more sustainable lifestyle. Eco actions taken in a personal sustainability plan can be anything from riding a bike to work or eating organic healthy meals or recycling.
- Educate: Offer ongoing workshops, training, lunch and learns, and educational activities to educate workers on the environmental issues (energy, water, waste, and others) and the associated actions causing the problems. Identify new behavior and eco actions that individually workers can take to create new patterns of behavior and choices that support environmental solutions and are aligned with the company's overarching sustainability plan. We've learned in our eco friendly training classes, the first part is educating; the harder part is changing the behavior. Ongoing education helps create lasting change.
Tying corporate sustainability initiatives to day to day processes makes CSR more personable to an employee and helps employees to identify their role in corporate responsibility.