How does one company connect people and business across the globe in a sustainable way? Being sustainable remains an important issue and one which businesses increasingly need to focus on; it is a crucial aspect to the long term capability of a business as well as helping sustain positive psychological well-being in employees. As a result, the role of HR is not only to support your organisation in implementing sustainable initiatives, but also to engage employees in these practices, educating them on their importance and the role they play in achieving objectives. The question we need to ask is, is your business in a position to play an integral role in sustainable business innovation?

To help develop your business sustainably, we have some devised top tips which should help your company motivate, educate and engage employees, to deliver and meet companywide sustainable targets:

Provide Individual Targets

The challenge with organisational sustainability strategies is that they often don’t relate directly to the front line individuals in terms of their day to day role. It is, therefore, up to HR Directors and business leaders to take these broad objectives and strategies and break them down into bite size digestible elements so that everyone can get involved and be a part of meeting company-wide targets. Implementing strategies so your employees take part in organisation-wide initiatives, allows them to remain informed with the ongoing commitment of your company and your key objectives.

Empower Your Employees

Make it your goal to ensure every one of your team members feel empowered to actively play their part, and to see what the impact their actions can have on corporate objectives. Implementing activities such as employee surveys can act as a vehicle to garner employee participation as it provides feedback, critiques and ideas on sustainable tools and techniques. Other actions could include employee led councils, social committees and volunteer groups, which facilitate collaboration, the exchange of ideas and share environmental practices that can impact the business. Activities such as these can act as cultural change drivers and allow employees to address any concerns. Cross-departmental alignment and integration is vital for employee engagement and results in a highly motivated workforce, which will have a positive influence on supporting business strategy – creating a culture to support sustainability and innovation in order to reach its goals.

Education, Education, Education

Sharing sustainable objectives with your workforce, not only educates them on the sustainable issues at hand, but shows them their company is willing to reduce its impact on the environment and make a difference.  It is a successful way to empower and motivate your employees. For example, in 2012, FedEx Express EMEA launched its Eco-Drive programme. This project was designed to empower couriers by providing practical information and driving tips on how to operate vehicles in a more environmentally sustainable way, thereby improving fuel efficiency across the business by changing the daily driving habits of thousands of FedEx Express couriers.  Every investment, irrespective as to its scale, counts in creating a more sustainable future for a company, our planet and this is a key message you need to cascade down to your employees. A business strategy, which involves all team members working towards a common purpose, other than profit, can result in increased staff productivity and an empowered and energised workforce – providing the knowledge and skills to work in a sustainable way.

Simple Steps

Employ simple techniques and tips that can be applied to an individual’s job role or outside of their direct work environment.  Again irrespective as to the contribution, it all helps, from recycling, implementing an electronic newsletter, using eco-friendly paper or turning off lights.  Sustainable values should be disseminated throughout your organisation using a variety of methods.  A sustainability portal for employees or an internal newsletter can help highlight the eco-achievements of both employees and the company as a whole. This ensures that your organisation is setting an example, and highlights your commitment to finding new ways and innovative solutions to change the future of your company and individual team members, thus having a positive impact on your workforce.

Offer Rewards

Providing rewards, recognition and responsibility can lead to retaining employees and developing a motivated workforce. Businesses that deliberately position their employees first will prevail, so finding new and innovative sustainability solutions, such as offering a reward programme, will not only deliver tangible and measurable business gains but also ensure that team members remain committed to the company’s future.

Implement environmentally focused rewards and awards to better motivate team members to achieve.  These could include waste and water production, and reducing energy usage. Reward programs demonstrate the importance of sustainability and opportunities, whilst supporting and coordinating improvements within the business – generating passion and reducing a company’s environmental impact, saving money and rewarding teamwork.

FedEx is truly dedicated to responsibly connecting the world and enhancing the long-term value of the company for the communities, businesses and team members that rely on its services. We are in a fortunate position to be able to help businesses navigate the complex challenges of global trade while integrating responsible environmental practices into every daily operation. Every business needs to be accountable for its actions and we in Human Resources have a significant role to play.  The only key now is to ensure we sustain the sustainability!

Kevin Dunkeld, Managing Director of HR Services, Northern Europe, FedEx Express