Five ways to make your sustainability strategy relevant to all staff's daily work

In May, Robyn Kimber asked for some advice on the best ways of ensuring that sustainability is relevant to all staff’s daily work. Here are five key points to come out of the resulting discussion.

Helping employees to live more sustainably at home will encourage them to be more sustainable in the workplace.

1) Engage employees through highlighting the benefits of making their home more sustainable

Before getting employees engaged at work try getting them engaged in their personal energy story out of the office. Help them conserve at home (putting money in their pockets in the process) and they'll bring the sustainable habits and mindset to the workplace.

So much of the problem happens outside of the workplace, so companies that address the whole problem will be taken more seriously by their employees when trying to engage them in the sustainability dialogue at work.

2) Make your sustainability strategy and your corporate strategy one and the same

Integrate your sustainability strategy into your corporate strategy to avoid it being seen as something separate and which will require extra effort. If you achieve this then your staff will recognise the alignment and be much more motivated to implement it.

3) Involve staff from the start

When drawing up a new sustainability strategy or planning new sustainability initiatives, ensure your employees are included as part of the process from the start. Getting people's ideas and feedback across the business will engage them and make them more likely to want to get involved when the new activities are launched.

4) Instead of trying to use generic 'green' messages, reframe your message to the prevailing culture in the organisation

For example for engineers, frame sustainability as a technical problem requiring solutions as engineers love solving problems. For architects/designers, frame sustainability as a design problem and eco-design as good design. For fashionistas frame sustainability as hip or cool. For economists/accountants, frame sustainability in economic terms;

Telling stories in this context will make sustainability seem more relevant for your staff. Consider mapping how each sustainability effort will affect each individual or group of employees and communicate this effectively.

5) Incentivise sustainability by bringing it in line with your employees’ KPIs

Often, just talking about how good sustainability is will not cut it. Significant changes can be achieved when metrics and incentives are aligned and sustainability performance tied into employee objectives.

Listen to our webinar recording with Marks and Spencer or read our interview with Campbell's Soup to find out how these companies are incentivising sustainability and to hear some tips on how to do this in your own business.

Read the full discussion here or add your own tips below.