Environmental Employee Engagement (EEE) is centered on employee’s active participation in setting and accomplishing the environmental policies and objectives of the organization he or she works in. How seriously is it taken? Pretty seriously, according to the study published last week by the United Nations Environment Programme ‘Making Environmental Employee Engagement Happen: Results of a Global Survey’.
The research that provided the backbone to this report showed that, out of the 73 global financial institutions surveyed, 94% actively promoted employee engagement on environmental issues, seeing it as an important part of their broader sustainability strategy.
What is driving development of EEE initiatives?
According to this report ‘a desire to improve environmental performance’ is the main factor driving the development of EEE programs within financial institutions. Broader goals such as ‘building a corporate culture around sustainability’, although also seen as important, are far less influential drivers.
What approaches are being used?
To engage employees on environmental issues the key approaches identified were awareness-raising activities, creation of dedicated staff to promote EEE, company challenge events and extra training. Financial institutions from all regions surveyed appeared to use one or the other of these approaches with little variation.
KEY LEARNINGS: in order to effectively implement EEE initiatives
- Ensuring there is Senior Management buy in around the initiative.
- Good communications to ensure employees understand the link between what they do on a day-to-day basis and the wider goal of the initiative.
- Employee involvement during the development of EEE initiatives.
- Organizing challenges and contests to incentivize employee participation.
- Combining the initiative with awareness-raising activities that outline what the organization is doing to address different environmental issues.
What are the challenges?
The findings from the report highlight that there are several key challenges that must be addressed in order to achieve effective implementation of EEE initiatives. These include reaching the employee base more effectively, which can very difficult in large scale organizations. Keeping the issue relevant over time was also highlighted by some financial institutions as waslack of adequate resources.
Concluding comments – looking forward
The findings of this report demonstrate thatEEE is now becoming an integral part of corporate sustainability strategies. However,at the present, the key driving force behind many EEE initiatives is to improve the environment performance of the organization. Only a small number of organizations appear to have explored a more strategic approach to EEE with the aim of creating a platform supporting the integration of sustainability in corporate culture. If this does not shift in the future, the impact EEE can have will be limited.
Do these findings correspond with your experience?
Any tips to share on how broader engagement can be achieved?