Sustainability is one of those topics that is under discussion so often, that it might start to feel insignificant or insular, like it doesn’t particularly matter outside of being the ‘thing of the moment’. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. As awareness continues to grow, and companies take firm action to show their commitment, employees are getting involved, and their opinion on sustainability and eco-friendly actions is making a difference in how, when, and where they work.
50% of employees now say they won’t work for a business that lacks a strong commitment to social or environmental causes, and 75% say they feel more fulfilled by their job when they have the opportunity to make a positive social or environmental impact.
But how do you deliver these opportunities? What are you doing to make your employees feel more fulfilled, and to make your Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) activities really matter?
Employee Training on Sustainability
Getting your employees involved with your business activities can be an effective way of changing your company culture and ensuring that decisions and actions don’t just stay at the top – but make a company-wide change.
It is important to make sure that your employees have access to the training, and it isn’t restricted to those who can afford to devote the time and attention to it, which may be the case if you make training sessions voluntary, or don’t provide time and resources away from their daily work to undertake it.
Mandatory training is one method that shows seriousness- if everyone has to be involved, and it’s not left as something that can be taken or left, it shows a clear commitment to the topic.
Sustainability training, under the ESG umbrella can be combined with other training sessions (such as diversity), to provide a well-rounded and accessible learning experience, that is designed to promote company goals and a unified vision.
What Should Sustainability Training Cover?
There are different methods and goals for sustainability and environmental development, and what you choose to take up will depend on your specific company goals, setup, and needs.
Some of the key areas you might want to cover could include:
Working locations – You might want to discuss with your employees the possibilities of remote or hybrid working. This should also include meetings and business trips, if these can be done remotely using digital tools, then it is more beneficial to the environment.
Paperless offices – Give some consideration to the amount of paper your offices are producing, ask your staff whether there are any changes that might reduce this – such as meeting notes being digital, or invoices being sent by email rather than posted.
Conservation and in-office recycling – If you aren’t doing this already, look at energy saving techniques (such as timers on the lights, energy saving light bulbs, and devices to reduce water levels in the toilets). This, as well as having recycling bins in the office can make a big difference.
Sustainable Transportation – How are your employees getting to work? Educate them on the benefits of using public transport, and alternative methods. Where vehicles cannot be avoided, consider whether car-sharing or putting on a bus could work.
Get your team involved in the sessions, don’t just speak at them – engage with them. Your staff are the ones who are working on the front line and may have some great ideas about what can be reduced, changed, or readdressed in order to make a more positive impact.
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Handling Your Sustainability Training
As we mentioned at the beginning, sustainability is a topic that can see a bit of fatigue, and this can make training more difficult. When developing your training strategy, make sure to retain your humour and a light approach (where appropriate), and try to avoid overloading your employees with too much information all at once – also, try to avoid the ‘doom and gloom’ approach, that tends to make people more negative rather than inspiring action.
It might take a few training sessions, split out between different topics, but it’s better to give your team time to digest the information, listen to what you’re saying, and offer their suggestions – rather than have everything piled on them at once.
Consider what you’re going to do afterwards, to keep the momentum and enthusiasm that you build in your training sessions. Do you have inter-office awards? Are you applying for business awards?
Do some research on different reward methods and enrichment ideas that will give your staff a reason to be excited, engaged, and motivated – and you’re sure to see more sustainable, longer-lasting results.