What do the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and the pyramids of Egypt have in common? These monuments were among countless buildings that went dark for 60 minutes in honor of Earth Hour last month. Crowdsourcing at its best, Earth Hour showed business leaders that millions of people around the world want to be involved in sustainable efforts at a grassroots level. This week’s 45th annual celebration of Earth Day offers the perfect opportunity to involve employees in sustainability programs that can impact our world — and your company.
For proof that these programs deliver results on more than one front, look no further than Sony Electronics. Its green workplace certification program encourages employees to make energy-saving decisions that help the company achieve its overall Road to Zero environmental goal. The pilot program yielded $85 per participant in measurable cost-cutting savings, which was more than four times the investment. The program further engaged participants by encouraging them to share best practices with colleagues and earn Green Office certification decals to display in their offices. The result: an immeasurable sense of pride in their achievements and their company.
Sony Pictures made a game out of “greening” its employees when it launched its Practically Green initiative on Earth Day 2012. Through a customized online sustainability platform, Sony Pictures involves employees in finding greener solutions for everyday tasks they perform at work and at home. Since its inception, some 10 percent of Culver City employees have completed more than 12,000 eco-friendly actions. According to Andrew Savitz, author of Talent, Transformation and the Triple Bottom Line, that is good news for the entire company. “For those companies with sustainability initiatives, the overall employee engagement rate increased, even for those employees who didn’t participate,” Savitz said. “Just the presence of a robust program creates an engagement halo effect for all employees.”
To maximize a sustainability program, effective business leaders must first invest in the initiative. Then, they must develop a communications plan to share its success with employees. In doing so, they will not only help protect and preserve the environment, but they will also contribute to employee productivity, employee retention and the bottom line.
What are you doing to benefit from sustainability’s halo effect? Leave a comment to let us know.