Being a business that adopts sustainable options for everything from the products it sells to the way it uses energy is a business that practices good social responsibility. Evidence points to devastating changes in the environment if more businesses don’t get on board with the green movement. Threats of more severe weather, decreasing coastlines, more wildfires, and dangerous air are all real threats to humans and the earth.
While working to reverse these threats is commendable, many business owners don’t realize that sustainability is also good for their own business. Sustainable businesses reduce business costs when they adopt practices that utilize clean energy. They also improve their reputations among consumers. Adopting green practices isn’t difficult, and it isn’t rocket science, and one more way it’s good for your business is that it’s also good for your employees. Here’s why:
1. They Learn From Your Business
Employees that come to work for your company come from all walks of life. They are from different backgrounds and cultures, and different socio-economic families. When they come to your company and experience sustainable-driven operations, it very well may be their introduction to the viability of sustainable living. They might never have been in a building that operates on solar energy, or they may not have known that harvesting rainwater was possible, or setting up a recycling program was not only easy, but important.
As a socially responsible business, it benefits everyone when you pass on sustainable practices to your employees. When they ask questions, which they will, take time to answer them. Talk about how the solar panel cost is a relatively inexpensive investment when you consider the cost of using fossil fuels—financial and environmental. Inform that while your company has a recycling program, it’s only making a minor impact in the bigger picture.
2. Because Employees Care About the Environment
Studies have shown that job seekers, as many as 65%, are attracted to a company that values and adopts environmentally friendly practices. While the subjects of many of these studies were mainly college students, when those students graduate in just a few years, they will be applying for jobs with your company.
Employees want to work for a company that shares their values. A vegetarian is unlikely to want to work on a cattle farm, and someone who doesn’t enjoy children is unlikely to want to be a school teacher. Research shows that people desire to work for a company they feel is a good match to their lifestyle choices.
It would actually benefit your company to tout these practices in job postings and at job fairs. As companies around you see the attraction it receives, it might also put pressure on them to adopt sustainable practices. While you may lose some competitive edge, the bigger picture is you’ve helped spread awareness.
3. It Helps Your Company Hire Better People
If the above is true, then you can come to the conclusion that when employment seekers want to work for your company, you get the pick of the crop. If the majority of your potential applicants care about the environment, you can be sure some of the best candidates are in that group. It gives you an advantage over other companies who don’t have sustainable practices.
Employees who are driven to be and do their best get bragging rights when they are employed by a sustainable company. Imagine your employees talking about all your business offers, and they pride that overcomes them when they discuss your company’s green initiatives. The sustainable company is smart to care about the environment, and that intelligence reflects back on the employee.
These employees are also a better fit in your company culture. It’s good when employees and employers share similar values, as it leads to lower employee turnover.
4. It Shows Your Company Cares About Its Employees
People who care about the environment generally must care about the future of humanity. After all, the goal is to reverse global warming so there is a future for everyone’s descendants. If true green motivation is a sign of compassion, then a company that cares about the environment must care about the future of its employees. It makes perfect sense.
When your employees feel that your company cares about them, you get a higher score on employee satisfaction which leads to less turnover, which leads to less expense in developing new employees. It also leads to an improved company culture in which everyone feels that by being a part of your company’s green-driven practices, they are a part of the contribution your company is making to saving the environment, which they are.
Always make your employees feel included. Maybe even give incentives for every green practice they adopt in their own homes. If your employee shows you they’ve set up a recycling program at home, maybe offer a small bonus, or a few hours out of the office. Employees should feel that they are the motivation for your green initiatives, which in reality, they are.
5. Employees Take What they’ve Learned and Share It With Others
Employees may be educated and in possession of a degree when they come to work for your company, but the workforce continues to learn on the job. Just as they take what they’ve learned from other jobs and apply it to their new jobs, which is called experience, they take what they learn from your company’s green culture and not only apply it to their own lives, but share it with others.
It’s amazing how many people aren’t aware of small changes they can make to help protect the future. Earth-friendly practices are contagious, especially when people realize how easy it is to live in a way that is good for the environment. It also makes them feel good about themselves when they show others how much they know about protecting the environment.
Just as fashion catches on, lifestyle choices do as well. There are so many ways to adopt green practices, that soon your company may learn from its employees as they come back with new ideas and new practices they have learned in their sharing with others.
The chances are you’re reading this because your company hasn’t adopted green practices yet. If your company has been thinking about adopting green practices but has been hesitant for fear of upfront costs or the time it takes to reorganize its operations, it’s time to stop waiting.
The damage being done to the environment today isn’t waiting, and it isn’t going to change so your business can continue to support the releasing of carbon emissions into the air or the waste of plastic that ends up littering the oceans. Hiring good employees is a good motivation for going green, but the best motivation is the future of everyone alive today as well as those yet to be born.
If you work for a business that hasn’t adopted sustainable practices, you can be the driver. Form a green committee at your place of work and start by making small changes. As more employees get on board, you may even inspire your employers or owners of the business. Going green won’t hurt anyone. However, not going green eventually hurts everyone.