By Vikas Vij — Employee engagement is the psychological engine that drives corporate performance. While employee engagement worldwide is on a decline, some companies are managing to beat the trend. These companies typically have a sustainable business model that places environmental and societal considerations front and center along with growth and profits.
Unilever with a workforce of 170,000-plus has an unusually high employee engagement score of about 80 percent. The company has defined its purpose simply to make “sustainable living commonplace.” It has implemented this purpose via the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan as well as through its brands, many of which have a social purpose built into them.
Thinking about the social purpose of a company enables employees to latch onto that higher purpose and use the company as a means to express their values, which in turn, creates meaning in and at work.
To bolster the “can-do” belief among employees, it is important to invest in educating employees about sustainability as well as to create systems and processes that make it easier for them to integrate sustainability into their business decisions. Companies such as BASF, IBM, Marks & Spencer and Nestlé have invested heavily in training and development, as well as systems and processes that enable sustainability decisions to be made at a large scale.
Marks & Spencer has sustainability “champions” in every store and Unilever has sustainability “ambassadors” throughout the organization. Marks & Spencer now has clothes-recycling boxes in its stores that provide income for the international nonprofit Oxfam. The boxes were an employee’s idea that received support from the board and achieved great success.
An effective way for an organization to embrace a new set of goals and foster an “I should do it” spirit throughout the company is to create a culture of healthy competition among employees. Connected to Care, an initiative launched by BASF in 2015, is an example of healthy competition. In 2015, about 35,000 employees across all BASF regions worldwide submitted more than 500 project ideas. All employees worldwide are able to vote for their favorite projects and BASF funded the top 150.
Source: Brink News
Image Credit: 3BL Media