Employee engagement in Sustainable Retailby Natasha Christou Digital Marketing Consultant
Sustainability varies from business to business. Where some businesses are charging ahead and leading the way under a green banner, others are lingering far behind in the smog and dust. But there’s so much potential to be had for businesses who embrace sustainability — in terms of customers and cost. Of course, the transition requires a move away from comfortable, traditional processes and a daring embrace of new methods.
Firstly, we’ll look at the usual approach of sustainability within businesses. Usually, everything stems from reviewing the current processes that are in place. Areas of improvement are flagged, and changes are made, normally in the form of swapping out environmentally unfriendly old equipment with new, eco-considerate ones. But this basic approach of swapping out doesn’t achieve anywhere near the full scope of potential when it comes to sustainability. Of course, it’s one thing to change actions. Telling your employees to put the waste in a new, separate bin if it is made of one material and not another is easy. But it doesn’t change the mindset of the person; the waste item is still waste, it’s just going in a different box now.
But what happens in the event of a bigger change being made? Instead of viewing waste as a disposable problem for one container or another to be collected, encourage the view that the material is not waste at all. It isn’t without value to the company — it won’t be used by the employee, but it is still a valuable resource that the company has produced and that could be used. It sounds like a simple message but getting it across to everyone within one company would be difficult, let alone for that message to spread throughout an entire industry.
The first step is to remove the resistance against change as being ‘too different’. People do, for the most part, want to do the right thing. Now more than ever, people are inherently aware of their impact on the environment and want to reduce it. Most accept that it is a group effort too!
The next step to overcome is ‘long term’ vs ‘short term’ concepts. Often, short term goals can conflict with long-term ones; they are, by their very nature, more immediate and therefore seem more achievable. There’s a sense of response and feedback far quicker with short-term goals. In order for long-term goals to be stuck to, a form of monitoring, measuring, and reward along the way is needed in order to maintain enthusiasm to reach that distant goal.
The third step is to ensure the whole company is behind the initiative. Silo working, that is, groups within the company who are reluctant to share information with others in the same company, can prove a problem. It also encourages the damaging thought process of shifted responsibility, for example, teams leaving the entire responsibility on the sustainability team and ignoring the need to change their own attitudes towards sustainability for the process to work. Changing this attitude helps engrain a consistent focus on sustainability among all employees.
Procurement is a good start to the process. Here, we will look at a company’s waste management process, whether it’s small-scale bin collection or a frequent need to hire a skip, as an example: When reviewing a company’s old waste management process, the focus often revolves around simple cost-saving while achieving a like-for-like service. This causes a heavy focus on price per lift and the frequency of collection that can be offered by a third party. But this does not help a company achieve its long-term sustainability goals; even if the service obtained is well-documented, it is still the same old process, just better recorded! Instead, success is better found is moving away from the old process and accepting that, while it worked for the company then, it no longer supports the need for sustainability now. A new process needs to be created revolving around your new sustainability goals. In doing so, you’ll have a new process in place that is more flexible, more creative, and far more efficient for your workplace and its current goals. It’s a case of working smarter, not harder.
Transparency is also incredibly important. A published statement, declared timescales, and defined targets are far more convincing than a sweeping statement of commitment to the cause.
You can also seek advice for change management from the likes of Impact International, who can provide expert training to help you develop the confidents to lead your company through changes, because s the biggest challenge is certainly bringing everyone within the company on the same page as quickly as possible to ensure it’s a smooth process.
Created on Sep 5th 2019 08:08. Viewed 350 times.