Global warming is a real issue, and things need to be changed in order to save the environment. However, the truth of the matter is that not everyone prioritizes this in the same way. To implement a company-wide policy that benefits the environment will require getting your employees on board, however, some will need more convincing than others. The following outlines some best practices to make sure all employees participate in your green initiative.
Avoid Buzzwords and Jargon
Proclaiming that your company is “going green” doesn’t really accomplish anything. A lot of environmental jargon is vague and covers a broad spectrum of behaviours which can be confusing for your employees to get behind. Instead of just presenting your employees with some environmental buzzwords, approach your employees with a specific plan that the company is putting into action. Prove that this is a serious initiative and thought has been put into how it will be accomplished.
Show Them the Problem
Your employees are more likely to get behind a cause they believe in. Find a way to show them how this is affecting them directly. Some companies have shown their employees the utility bills to stress the priority of turning off lights, computers, etc. that are not in use. Others have taken a trip to the local landfill to get across how much waste is produced in their area. Even something as simple as a video can hit home for your employees.
Example video: Ray Anderson talks about his inspiration to make his business sustainable
Give Specific Options
When presented with a list of many actions to choose from, people are likely to get overwhelmed and do none of them. Therefore, presenting employees with a list of “30 ways to go green” will not yield results. Instead, give your workers a limited number of options for green practices they can implement. Be clear, concise, and keep it simple. Once their initial efforts become second nature to them, you can add more.
Make it Easy
The easier you make things for your employees, the more likely they are to do them. Do you currently only have one central recycling bin that isn’t used as often as it should be? Try having smaller bins by as many desks as possible so it is convenient for employees to recycle. Another strategy is to use smaller trash bins, so employees can see just how much waste they are creating and come to their own conclusion that they should work to lessen that amount.
Focus on the Positive
Multiple studies across time have shown that fear only works as a motivator in the short-term. Eventually, your employees’ desires will outweigh their fear. Therefore, only focusing on the detrimental impacts on the environment to motivate them to make changes will not last. Instead, make sure to point out improvements the company has made since instilling your sustainability plan. Reward employees when they have made a considerable effort for the cause. People will continue what they’re doing if they believe it’s actually making a difference.
Once your environmental plan has been implemented, incorporate it into any existing training plan for new employees your organization has. This will ensure that all employees are clear on how to be eco-friendly and minimize any confusion or discrepancies.
Where to Go From Here
Revisit your company’s environmental policy, or create one if it does not yet exist. Ensure that it addresses all of the tips outlined above and how they will be implemented. Your plan will work best if everyone buys in, so ensure that it is as easy as possible for your employees to commit to. Start with small, simple changes to get the ball rolling and then once you have momentum you can tackle bigger changes with your employees.