So, you have a sustainability plan and an annual report. Your organization has a cross-company Green Team and your board of directors includes a sustainability subcommittee.
But are your employees — from senior management to front line, and from IT to marketing — truly engaged in your sustainable goals?
What Does It Mean if Employees Are "Engaged in CSR"?
Employee engagement in sustainable development or corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities depends on two factors:
- awareness/understanding of the issues
- perception of organizational commitment
Engaged employees understand that financial, environmental, and social issues are connected. And, they believe their organization addresses all three.
9 Signs Employees are Engaged in CSR
The following list captures the nine signs your employees know and embrace your organization's environmental and social goals. The list stems from research conducted by Stephanie Bertels, Associate Professor at the Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.
1. Your HR manager hires people who are committed to customers, employees and the environment.
2. Employees are rewarded for reaching environmental targets, such as reducing waste or energy use.
3. Employees build your company’s sustainability values into their personal lives – choosing to carpool or bike to work, volunteer in the community, pack lunches from home, etc.
4. Salespeople know the environmental and social impacts of your company’s products or services (e.g. their carbon footprint or energy consumption, whether they were produced locally or are fair trade). They use these qualities to distinguish your company’s products or services from competitors’.
5. Front-line staff regularly suggest ways to reduce energy or water use, eliminate packaging, reuse materials, etc.
6. Staff make business decisions based not just on profit potential but on what is “the right thing to do.”
7. Employees engage in community initiatives such as park beautification projects and fundraisers.
8. When considering products from new suppliers, purchasing managers automatically screen the products to see if they meet your company’s environmental or ethical criteria — not just quality and cost criteria.
9. Your president (or another senior employee) drives industry-wide efforts to improve the environmental or social impact of your entire sector.
Did we miss any? What signs are there in your organization that your employees are committed to helping people and the environment?
This list is excerpted from "Engaging Employees in 'Going Green.'" Designed for HR managers, corporate trainers, and employees responsible for health, safety, and the environment, the guides presents ten ways to raise awareness, create buy-in, and get employees excited about your environmental and social goals. For sector-specific case studies on how to engage employee to go green, visit: