Story by Amanda Azzoli, contributing author for the PeoplePlanetProfitBlog.com. The Sustainability Movement has become one of the most important and popular trends in today’s society. Because of this popularity and importance, Sustainability has also become a critical component for any successful business. In order to stay innovative, profitable and relevant, businesses must incorporate sustainability into their core culture and values. However, in order for any company to be successful and stay committed to this endeavor, they all need to have employees that are engaged in the movement. The reason for this is because: Employees are the life of an organization. They make up a company’s structure and they embody the company’s culture and principles. An organization is dependent on its employees because, without employees, an organization cannot survive.
Employees are the life of an organization. They make up a company’s structure and they embody the company’s culture and principles. An organization is dependent on its employees because, without employees, an organization cannot survive.
This article will discuss important fundamental rules for engaging an employee as well as examine an organization that has proven to be a leading contributor in the sustainability movement.
Because employee engagement is such a large component in the success of any organization, I wanted to review some basic techniques for engaging an employee. These techniques are important because effective communication is required in both our social lives and professional lives. Proper communication is often undervalued and, in some cases, can even be the solution to a failing business or relationship.
The list below is not exhaustive. It includes the techniques that, through my own research, I believe to be the most effective. The techniques for successful employee engagement are as follows:
1. Be specific and realistic with the company’s vision
2. Set measurable achievements with a target deadline.
Measuring employees or an organization’s, achievements motivates employees to work towards a certain goal, within a certain time frame. This eliminates uncertainly, which helps employees stay focused.
3. Choose aspects of the overall goal that are most important.
Decide which aspects of the overall goal are most important and start achieving those.
4. Provide a detailed explanation of why improvement is needed
Explain what the benefits are, both short-term and long-term
5. Most important: Treat employees as important assets
Remember, the employees are the veins of the company, working together to keep the organization alive. Treat them as such.
A great example of an organization that has succeeded in employee engagement and has stayed committed to the sustainability movement is General Electric, a company ranked #1 by Forbes Magazine for Most Sustainable Company. In order to remain committed to sustainability, GE has established a division within the company, GE Citizenship, which is dedicated to solving the world’s most difficult sustainability issues. GE Citizenship focuses on issues regarding the people, planet, and economy. As stated on the GE’s website, GE Citizenship “focuses on areas where we can make a difference, either through the way we operate within the business, the marketplace, or through our broader influence in society” (gecitizenship.com).
GE Citizenship continuously collaborates with its customers, suppliers, regulators, industry bodies, and collaborators around the world. The Citizenship division has created both Advisory Boards and Advisory Panels that focus on sustainability issues, product development, and on ways to “sharpen” the company’s vision. GE acknowledges that trends and issues are ever evolving; therefore, GE needs to constantly change in order to ensure that it is meeting its goals and providing effective service wherever needed.
These panels and boards help GE stay committed and engaged because they not only provide information to the external environment about GE efforts, but they also provide GE’s internal environment, its employees, with a forum where they can raise issues, or dilemmas faced by other corporations, both domestic and global.
Another way GE keeps its employees engaged is by recognizing their value in the culture. For example, on the company website, the first sentence under GE’s Principles reads, “Our people are our biggest asset,” and goes on to say, “a legacy of good citizenship runs deep in our culture” (gecitizenship.com). GE recognizes that its employees are crucial to the fruition of the company’s goals and principles, and demonstrates this by listing its employee value as its first principle. GE understands that without its employees’ commitment and engagement, the company mission is unattainable.
One additional way GE keeps its employees engaged is by encouraging volunteer work. Employees not only volunteer as individuals, but they also volunteer during GE sponsored events. These company sponsored events are an integral part of the GE’s success because they promote teamwork and help foster bonds between employees.
GE is a great example of a company that has successfully committed to sustainability within its workforce, as well as successfully motivated its employees to be engaged in the cause. GE remains successful because, in addition to sustainability and its employees, GE values integrity and transparency. The company is very proud, and therefore, is public about its efforts to better the planet, which demonstrates confidence and honesty. GE is proud of the work its employees produce and wants to share it with others. GE’s employees are driven by ethical and sustainable values that continue to benefit the company, as well as the planet.