How to Encourage Employee-led Eco-projects

How to Encourage Employee-Led Eco-Projects

Lauren Rakowski July 16, 2010
Employees working for firms with environmental policies are most likely to implement eco-initiatives. To encourage employee eco-initiatives, managers can adopt a written environmental policy and communicate it to employees. Managers can also listen to employee suggestions, encourage partnerships with other departments, and motivate employees by giving rewards for achieving goals.

Background

Eco-initiatives are actions taken by employees to improve the company's environmental performance. These may include recycling, producing a less energy-intensive product or replacing a product with a service.  Even though eco-initiatives and other innovations require similar support and encouragement, eco-initiatives receive less attention. This research demonstrates the need to engage employees in environmental activities.

Findings

Employees are more likely to develop and implement eco-initiatives when:

Implications for Managers

To encourage employee eco-initiatives, managers can: 

Implications for Researchers

Future surveys should control for a social desirability bias for eco-initiatives, since companies chosen for this study were environmentally proactive. Future research could explore whether managers' personal values affect employee eco-initiatives, and how employee capacity and motivation influence the promotion of eco-initiatives.

Methods

This study developed a logic model to determine which environmental policy factors and management support behaviours were positively related to employee eco-initiatives. Researchers conducted interviews with 353 mid- and low-level employees at 6 environmentally proactive companies in Europe. Companies were from the chemical, entertainment, manufacturing, medical devices, oil, and retail sectors.
Ramus, Catherine, & Steger, Ulrich. (2000). The Roles of Supervisory Support Behaviours and Environmental Policy in Employee `Ecoinitiatives' at Leading-Edge European Companies. Academy of Management Journal, 43(4): 605-626. 

additional resources

Research Insight

Employees get the warm fuzzies when they think their companies use CSR altruistically, but for managers, it's really about the numbers.

Kristin Neudorf
Research Insight

Employees who give feel more committed to their organization.

Pam Laughland
Research Insight

Good CSR and a strong corporate moral compass can drive financial performance through better employee engagement and commitment to your firm.

Bushra Tobah
Reports and Articles

Managers should consider three Ps when setting goals to foster responsible behaviours in their employees: Personal, Plain and simple, and Positive Feedback.

Lauren Turner