Too often, employee engagement is seen as little more than an added expense—many equate employee engagement with higher spending on benefits. This doesn’t have to be the case. Our research has shown that many employees simply want to feel that their work matters—that what they do makes a difference. This feeling can be achieved on both an individual level, by thanking each employee for their hard work, and on a company-wide level, by rallying the troops for a cause.
While “going green” isn’t quite the hot trend it was a few years ago, it has proven its staying power and is increasingly showing up in corporate strategy. We suggest developing some integration between your employee engagement and earth-friendly initiatives to maximize both investments. Employee satisfaction surveys are a wonderful place to start. They can help you understand what environmental issues are most important to them, allowing companies to invest in initiatives that matter to their people and will incite their support.
Earth-friendly initiatives can boost employee engagement by sending the message that the company is making a difference for the environment. Employees feel more connected to their employers when they know the entire company is united in an effort to be green and in a way that matters to them. Here are three ways you can energize and unify your staff while saving the planet.
Get a Conversation Going About Saving the Earth.
Around Earth Day this year, commercial real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle invited employees to post short blogs on green topics at the company’s Green Blog. Employees who posted were rewarded with a gift card for a music download. (Even the gift card was green—it could be planted after use to grow into a tree!)
Other companies, such as McGraw-Hill and Portland’s Ruby Receptionists, empower employees to save the planet by forming green committees, groups of employees who meet to discuss how the company can operate in more environmentally friendly ways. These committees often find solutions that executives have overlooked. For instance, your “Green Team” might suggest buying a company bike for employees to use during work hours, thereby eliminating many short car trips around town.
Encourage Green Commutes.
Employees can feel energized and proud of the Co2 reduction their company contributes. We know from experience. Every PeopleMetrics employee commutes in a green way, whether they take public transportation, walk, or ride their bikes. Recognizing and rewarding employees for taking a green path to work can come in the form of public transit credits, or holding monthly drawings for green commuters.
Beyond building a sense of workplace community around saving the earth, green commutes benefit the company by encouraging employee wellness. Those who bike commute, for instance, see far less hospital visits and illnesses. Furthermore, the natural release of adrenaline that comes with exercise puts bike commuters and walkers in a better state of mind when they reach the office. Even encouraging employee carpools can result in higher employee engagement, as it gives employees a chance to connect on the way to the office.
Participate in Green Events.
Whether you celebrate Earth Day by joining in a charity walkathon or share how employees spent Earth Hour with their lights off, participating in green events gets employees jazzed about their contribution. Look for opportunities to invite employees to engage in events off site. Bring along a camera and post pictures to the company blog. Employees will feel proud of themselves and their employer following such an event.
Employee engagement research shows that workers want to have a good relationship with their managers and their coworkers, and that they want to feel that their work is helping improve the world. Ask your employee engagement people to talk to your Corporate Social Responsibility people and see how their efforts can be integrated to build a stronger customer-centric culture and a stronger earth.
Topic: Employee Experience