It is interesting to note that many of the companies focused on improving their environmental performance often also show up on best places to work for lists too. In a time when governments are setting targets for reductions in carbon emissions and incentives for businesses to be more green it is difficult for many companies to ignore the trend and take no action. It is clear that by improving ones environmental performance businesses can cut costs, enhance their brand and have a more enthusiastic and engaged workforce (Golds, 2011).
Catherine Golds, an Environmental Assessor and Head of NQA, states that the companies that make the largest environmental changes to their practices are those where “everyone from the CEO to the most junior member of staff is involved and committed to it”. This is why it appears that those companies that have the most engaged workforce make the biggest impact with regards to sustainability issues, as it is clear that the start to really engage your workforce needs to begin from the top down, where commitment to listening to employees wants and needs is heard.
Golds, in her article in Development and Learning in Organisations, provides an example from PepsiCo UK, who achieved sending zero waste to landfill through effective staff engagement. Gold states that “achieving the company’s bold targets requires employee engagement at every level to drive change through the business”.
We all know that engagement, alongside other outcomes, fosters better relationships between and across the organisation – it means that by focusing on engagement levels motivation and momentum for all sorts of organisation change programmes can be driven. Creating a foundation from where employee engagement levels can thrive can be beneficial to an organisation for many different reasons, not just for driving better environmental performance but for obtaining better performance generally and ultimately seeing improvements to the company bottom line.
Golds, C. (2011). Reaping the benefits of environmental awareness: how organizations are engaging their employees. Development & Learning in Organisations, Vol.25(2), pp18-20.