To embark your organization on a “new” topic as sustainability and CSR, can seem daunting. It takes time and the willingness to let each person discover for themselves how important their impact is and openness to hear different and new proposals.
Here are 5 steps that I have used in my consultancy work and that will hopefully inspire you to engage your organization in Sustainability.
Step 1 – Is your organization ready?
If you want to engage employees around Sustainability or take action yourself to become a “sustainability intrapreneur” you may want to check if your organization is ready. Check out this 10 point checklist.
Prepare a “business case” for Sustainability by checking “pain points” for your organization and liking potential solutions to Sustainability. This matrix by Andrew S Winston, Harvard Business Review could be really helpful. Check out his full “live” here it’s very instructive and gives a great overview of why most of the sustainability benefits can actually not be given a number (and why that’s not a fatality).
Step 2 – Make people discover sustainability for themselves
As you do for other areas in your business, it’s important to keep an eye on what the market and competition is doing: do the same with sustainable business practices. Check out your competitors, discuss with your clients, your suppliers and pay close attention to upcoming societal and consumer trends and choices.
Ideally, engage employees / colleagues in this part of the “discovery” as it’s part of their active learning journey: this is a crucial part for awareness and engagement around Sustainability.
Make sure to find a common ground of what Sustainability actually means for your organization so that everyone has “the same picture” and can move from there. More information on why this is important here.
Step 3 – Use collective intelligence to spark initiatives “from within”
Once people have discovered what Sustainability is, what their your company does and what
is out there, bring their collective intelligence in one room and have them ideate what each one of them could do in their daily job.
What you are looking for here is one concrete step or initiative that each employee could take in their job function. Make sure people come up with an action plan that they can activate quickly. There is no use in having an idea that can be activated in only 1 year: the objective is to start action from day one!
Engaging people from the start on a positive impact journey, having the opportunity to do something positive for society and the environment, adds purpose to their jobs – and ensures buy-in and engagement from day 1 to make the change happen!
Step 4 – Take action & keep momentum
Now it’s time to take action to bring initiatives to life: experimenting and “training” their intrapreneurial mindsets, testing, failing, succeeding. 3 months action is a good time span to get tangible initial results or learnings.
Keeping the momentum is really important, as people will tend to “go back” to their daily jobs, forgetting about their ideas and impact initiatives and think of them as an “on top of” burden.
Step 5 – Learn, adapt and continue
Bring everyone together for a milestone check to learn from actions taken and adapt accordingly. As for any strategic action in your business, ensure a continuous learning and improvement cycle by monitoring what you do, building in feedback loops to adapt and implement corrective actions. It’s important to be open to experimentation and “celebrate failures” to learn and improve!
Activating sustainability within organizations can seem daunting. However, taking these 5 simple steps to engage motivated people can actually make it happen!
What are 3 actions will you take to engage your company in Sustainability?
If you want more ideas on how to engage employees on your Sustainability journey, download the free guide “5 steps to activate positive impact from within”.
If you want more ideas on how to take simple action for Sustainability at work (even if you don’t have a lot of time), check out this free workbook.
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