Business Sustainability Helps Engage Employees: What your organisation can do to play its part
Placing business sustainability at the top of an organisation’s agenda, often has a positive impact on employees by creating an engaging workplace culture and improving morale. Recent research shows that 70% of employees, if given the option, are more likely to choose to work at a company with a strong sustainability agenda, affirming the importance of this issue from the perspective of employees.
Furthermore, companies seeking to maintain a competitive edge in an ever-changing business environment know that a happy and content workforce is one of the key differentiators they can leverage in the pursuit of success. Here are four steps your business can take to make it more sustainable:
1. Review Energy Consumption
Lowering energy consumption is often closely associated with the use of renewable energy solutions such as wind power and solar energy generation. But this is not the only route a company can follow. Here are some alternatives:
- Energy audits – determining the true extent of a company’s energy consumption sends an important signal to employees that the organisation is placing extra value on the company’s resources and helps companies identify areas of high energy demand.
- Maintenance – buildings can consume more energy than transport and industrial activities combined. Lighting, heating and cooling systems that are poorly maintained can drive energy costs up by as much as 20% and undermine business sustainability.
- ‘Green’ lifestyle – while energy audits may consider supplier value chain energy inputs into an organisation, they are predominantly inward focused. This approach neglects the wider carbon footprint generated by employees, for instance getting ready for work and commuting to their place of employment. By taking this into consideration and offering opportunities such as working from home and adopting low-maintenance corporate work wear companies can extend the impact of their sustainability efforts and assist their employees in adopting a greener lifestyle.
- Energy management systems – energy management requires an ongoing and active approach and access to up-to-date data will be vital to ensuring a company stays on track with its sustainable use initiatives.
To affirm a company’s commitment to sustainable practices it can pursue energy certification audits that provide independent verification of a company’s energy mix and serves to give validation to stakeholders of the company’s status in this regard.
2. Optimise business processes
The impact that optimising business processes can have on sustainability is often overlooked. By identifying areas of inefficiency and waste in operations, businesses can reduce their environmental impact. This involves using sustainable materials, utilising energy efficient machinery, and adopting circular economy principles.
Traditional BPM focuses on improving enterprise processes for cost, time and efficiency benefits, whereas green BPM also considers the people and planet perspective. It is important that organisations include both aspects when redesigning processes. Often companies would consider the environmental impacts, but not the social impacts which would cover issues such as employee safety.
Employees on the frontline are often overwhelmed by paper-based forms and documents. Producing paper is not only harmful to the environment but also expensive for the business. Additionally, this traditional method is highly ineffective and inefficient. Businesses can address this issue by digitising their processes utilising an integrated system. This system should allow employees to perform various job-related tasks such as easy access to their work schedules, safety policies and production targets. In addition, digitised HR processes like applying for leave and accessing payslips, as well as broadcasting company updates to employees’ mobile devices will have a positive effect on both efficiency and sustainability.
Inefficiency often leads to situations where employees are working ‘extra’ hours to ensure that they complete their primary tasks and needs. The resources they use during these periods can undermine attempts at sustainability and highlights the importance of operational efficiency in supporting sustainability.
Ultimately, the importance of sustainable business processes lies in their ability to create better outcomes, such as waste reduction (achieving net-zero), energy savings and improved social welfare.
3. Promote innovation
Ongoing innovation aims at making specific changes to a company’s approach to its products, processes, and service offerings. Creating sustainability through innovation is no easy task. Not only does it require considering environmental impacts and social issues when re-engineering business processes, but organisations must invest in technologies that will lay the foundation for creating a sustainable future.
It is highly recommended that businesses prioritize the use of sustainably sourced products within their workplace, develop recycling programs, and establish partnerships with reputable waste management companies. In particular, organisations that provide meals to frontline workers, such as those in the mining industry, should strive to reduce the use of plastic by offering paper straws, utilizing biodegradable packaging, and providing reusable utensils. Moreover, such companies can demonstrate their support for surrounding communities by utilising locally produced produce.
Large companies, particularly those operating in the mining and manufacturing sector, often consume significant quantities of water. However, water-saving practices are not always a top priority. Encouraging employees to devise water-saving tips and ideas can often lead to innovative solutions that could conserve one of our most precious resources. Frontline employees are well-suited to identify areas where such measures can be implemented.
To ensure employee buy-in, it is crucial that sustainable workplace practices, such as waste reduction, carbon footprint minimization, and recycling programs, are supported by creative and effective communication campaigns that educate and inform employees about their organization’s sustainability efforts. By inviting employee feedback and suggestions, good habits can be developed, leading to long-term benefits for stakeholders and potentially improving business profitability. Driving sustainability can also be a powerful motivating factor for employees while demonstrating a company’s commitment to sustainability.
4. Secure trust
The public’s trust, as well as that of a range of stakeholders such as consumers, employees, and the communities in which a business operates, is a key component of sustainability. Communicating a company’s sustainability initiatives and how it intends to see communities benefit from these approaches in the long-term, is an important aspect of successfully growing sustainability.
The pursuit of sustainability in business operations has become an imperative for companies. This not only benefits the environment but signals to a range of stakeholders that a company is serious about safeguarding both its future and that of the communities that rely upon its business activities.
At Wyzetalk, we create employee experience solutions that increase efficiency through the digitisation of critical business processes, while ensuring a higher level of environmental sustainability by turning paper-based systems into digital ones, cutting down on printing, paper and water usage. Using ideation to get employees to co-create a business they can be proud of.
To explore how we can help you to improve business sustainability, talk to an expert.