It is often said that a company’s most valuable asset is its employees. Internal champions charged with embedding sustainability into their company’s culture know this to be true: Ask anyone who’s led corporate environmental or social responsibility initiatives, and they will tell you that employees can make or break any sustainability program. The success of other aspects of the business – from internal innovation to customer satisfaction – can also hinge on how well a company engages its employees.
The good thing is that when employees are meaningfully engaged – and by this, we mean more than the “free food-free gym membership-free massages” model of engagement practiced by some companies – employees and their employers can reap substantial rewards.
Beyond improving employee recruitment, retention, morale and wellness, engaging employees can also benefit business’ bottom lines, as numerous reports reveal.
“This is the era of unprecedented creativity – there are more opportunities now for everybody to think creatively,” said Vince Digneo, sustainability strategist for corporate responsibility at Adobe. “People use our tools to generate creative solutions. We also enable people to become more sustainable through the use of our products.”
In 2014, the Skip a Trip initiative saved 331 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. Over 711,000 miles of air travel was also avoided, the equivalent of traveling around the world 29 times and saving over 37,000 gallons of gasoline. The company also recently partnered with TerraPass, so when employees do travel they can offset their carbon emissions and Adobe will pay for half.
“Skip a Trip has allowed us to inform employees about how we can use our products to be more sustainable,” said Kim Kerry- Tyerman, senior program manager of corporate responsibility at Adobe. “Every employee wants to feel good about where they work. We offer something for everyone – that’s how we’re driving culture of involvement and innovation.”
The Harvard study revealed that the more Caesars Entertainment employees were engaged with the company’s workplace sustainability and volunteer program, called CodeGreen, the more Caesars customers were willing to return to its hotels or casinos.
According to the study, involvement in sustainability efforts to reduce water, energy and waste motivated employees and helped improve the company's customer service – therefore creating a positive customer experience that bodes well for the business.
These examples demonstrate that, time and time again, employee engagement is good for business. It helps employees think outside the box, innovate and delight customers. How does your business engage its employees around sustainability?
Image courtesy of Adobe
Nayelli is the Founder & CEO of Creators Circle, a nonprofit working to close opportunity gaps for future generations of impact changemakers. A trained journalist with an MBA, she also keeps the pulse on sustainable business and social impact trends and has covered these topics for a variety of publications over the past decade. She’s a systems thinker who loves to learn, share knowledge and help others connect the dots.