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Five ways to engage your employees on sustainability

As October, the month dedicated to United Nations Day, draws to a close, now is the ideal moment to evaluate your company’s contributions to the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (#SDGs). Though sustainability has become a business buzzword, the process of embedding effective, sustainable practices across business operations remains intricate and challenging for many companies.

To achieve true and ambitious progress, we recognize that companies must secure buy-ins, foster a deeper understanding of the SDGs and encourage ownership of sustainability efforts by employees in all roles and functions. To help companies make progress towards their commitments, the United Nations Global Compact Academy, in partnership with 2030 Builders, has created a new deep-dive session: Unlocking Sustainability: Engaging and Upskilling Employees.

To help you get started, we have highlighted five actionable steps from our online course and 2030 Builder’s Framework that will guide your company on how to  engage and upskill employees on sustainability:

1. Raise awareness: Communicate why sustainability is a priority for the company and for individual employees by demonstrating the commitment from top leadership. This can be done through internal communications, town halls and official CEO statements.

2. Gain employee buy-in: Connecting the company’s goals with employee ambitions will bridge the gap between the bigger picture of global impact and employee roles in achieving it. By setting up performance management indicators connected to sustainability, employees will be motivated to push the needle forward.

3. Share expertise and upskill: Provide employees with the right information and tools for each role function. Deep dive into sustainability topics connected with employee responsibilities and explore the broader system of thinking around SDG topics across the organization. This can include collaborative training and exercises in decision-making.  Remember that this is about listening to re-educate and develop skills while nurturing a sense of ownership, not overwhelming employees with information.

4. Showcase action: Create a clear pathway between employee action and sustainability-focused choices. Connect the company’s targets with individual and collective action by measuring and reporting impact and success stories.

5. Encourage advocacy: Provide a platform for advocacy opportunities so that employees are encouraged to spread the word on concrete sustainability projects they are working on, ensuring internal and external visibility. Equip staff with the promotional toolkits required to communicate achievements internally and externally, recognizing and rewarding their efforts.

By implementing the steps above, you can help your employees become the driving force behind the company’s sustainability transformation. That said, it is important to recognize the employee engagement and upskilling process as ongoing. The overarching benefit of fostering individual relationships with sustainability is the culture of resilience and optimism it creates.

By empowering employees with the tools necessary to uphold sustainability commitments, your company will ensure its greater advancement towards achieving the SDGs while becoming a champion of sustainability culture in the workplace.