7 Employee Engagement Strategies For Sustainability

Sustainability is one of the hottest business trends today. Millennials and Gen Zs make up the future workforce, and close to half of them have already changed their line of work due to climate concerns or are planning to do so. They also want to drive the shift to sustainability in the workplace, but less than one in five feel that they’re actually able to do so.

We see an opportunity here. By embracing sustainability in your organization you can make your workplace more attractive to Gen Z and Millennial candidates. And having engaged employees will lead to more effective sustainability strategies.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s look at seven key strategies to ensure that your employees are both aligned and engaged with your sustainability approach at work!

1. Establish clear sustainability goals

A vision for all
Having a clearly articulated and shared vision for sustainability can serve as a guiding ‘north star’ for all employees. Make sure that your employees feel included in the process and have a chance to influence this vision.

Set measurable targets to ensure that your sustainability goals are credible. When you set a goal, think about whether or not it’s a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based). Most companies now set net zero goals focusing on 2030 with annual milestones allowing to track progress.

Track your emissions
To follow up on your sustainability goals you need to track your emissions. This can be a daunting task, but there are tools out there to assist you. For instance, through our Deedster at Work challenges we collect a lot of data that can be fed into your organization’s carbon footprint data and help you manage Scope 3 emissions.

2. Educate and empower employees

Knowledge is power
Include education on sustainability topics as part of your business sustainability plan. This will help everyone develop new skills, and ensures that all employees have the prerequisites needed to feel part of your business’ sustainability strategy.

Stay on the learning journey
The road to sustainable business and sustainable living is a long and winding one, and there’s constantly new developments when it comes to climate and sustainability research. This makes it all the more important to look at sustainability education as something more than a one-off training.

Bit-sized upskilling, more often
There’s so much info available on this topic, so the difficult part is to curate it to a format where it can be easily digested by busy employees. In our Deedster at Work product, learnings come in short and fun quizzes. But it’s also a continuous education, a multi-year learning experience for employees, where they’re quizzed on different sustainability topics over the years – and have fun while at it!

3. Gamify the sustainability journey 

Make it a competition
What better way to spur engagement than by some good old-fashioned competition? Introduce competitive elements such as team challenges, where leaderboards track the competition, to encourage participation and enthusiasm among employees.

Sustainability can be all fun and games
Break down the immense global crisis that is climate change into something tangible to empower your employees. In Deedster at Work we use gamification – turning sustainable living into a competition – to kick-start employee engagement. By scoring points for each sustainable action they do in their everyday life, and seeing the emissions saved by taking action, employees get an instant sense of the impact they’re having.

Praise where praise is due
Last, but certainly not least, always remember to give your employees rewards and recognition for the sustainable actions they’re taking. In our employee engagement platform we collect a lot of data on the number of sustainable actions taken and carbon saved through Deedster, to support organizations in rewarding their employees. Collect points to achieve badges, and with the badges comes a reward or a participation in a raffle with exciting prizes.

4. Encourage collaboration and teamwork 

Enjoy the team spirit
Team challenges build camaraderie and a sense of shared purpose – which will lead to improved sustainability efforts. Through the leaderboard in a Deedster at Work challenge employees can also see their collective effort, both as a team and as a company. It’s true that many small streams make a mighty river!

5. Integrate sustainability into everyday work

Sustainability is a daily job
Implement your sustainability strategy in your daily work routines. This can occur in any number of ways, such as reducing paper waste by printing less or optimizing energy use by installing LED lights and motion sensors in the office.

Target the big hitters
Scope 3 accounts for the largest share of most businesses’ emissions, where commuting and business travel are some of the most significant contributors. Make sure that your sustainability strategy targets these – perhaps through car sharing and flexibility around remote work.

Step by step, deed by deed
It can be a daunting task for an employee to reduce his or her climate impact. Where should they begin? Deedster can help by making sustainable choices easy – both at work and at home. Employees get a suggestion of actions to take, all they have to do is save them and get going!

6. Provide transparency and communication  

Be transparent and open
Sustainability isn’t just about reducing emissions – it’s equally important to foster a culture of transparency. This involves giving employees the space to communicate openly about your sustainability goals and progress, and feel that their contributions are valued.

Empower employees as individuals and as a community
Make sure that your sustainability achievements are visible to everyone in the company. A key aspect of our Deedster at Work challenges is the leaderboard, where employees get to see the tangible effects of their individual actions, their team’s collective efforts and the efforts of the entire company. This reinforces the importance of their contribution – both as individuals and as a community.

Make sustainability part of the company culture
Taking action for the climate changes mindsets and makes us more aware of how small and seemingly insignificant actions quickly add up to reinforce culture and norms that we take for granted. Make sure your company culture supports your sustainability goals by engaging your employees to take action for the climate themselves.

7. Encourage feedback and innovation

Space to clear the air
Give your employees the opportunity to voice their ideas and concerns on your collective sustainability efforts. When employees can provide input and make their voices heard you’re fostering trust and agency, which boosts workplace engagement and loyalty.

Get innovative insights
Collective efforts targeted towards common goals often stir innovation and new ideas in the workplace, and often the best ideas come from the people who see the problem every day. Be sure to encourage your employees to provide feedback and share their insights – it can improve your sustainability practices! Opening the floor for employees to provide input on your organization’s sustainability strategy and efforts will invite new and different perspectives, spurring innovative thinking.

Elevate your employee engagement with Deedster

Sustainability is a key concept for businesses today, and it will only grow more important in the future as Gen Zs and Millennials become dominant in the global workforce. The good news is that we’ve got the recipe for sustainability success in formulating a robust and engaging sustainability plan:

  • Establish clear sustainability goals to be perceived as a credible actor.
  • Educate and empower your employees to ensure that no one is left behind.
  • Gamify the sustainability journey to create buzz and excitement – have fun with it!
  • Encourage collaboration and teamwork to create a sense of community around this work.
  • Integrate sustainability in your daily work and break it down into achievable steps.
  • Provide transparency and communication to foster social wellbeing in the workplace.
  • Encourage feedback and innovation to drive your sustainability work forward.

At Deedster we’ve worked with a wide range of businesses, helping them elevate their employee engagement. Essity, for instance, have teamed up with us on multiple occasions to use our employee engagement platform to educate and engage their workforce in sustainability – with amazing outcomes!

Curious to learn more about how Deedster can help your company on its path to sustainability? Reach out to us, or download the Deedster app today to try our demo version!

And if you work for a bank or fintech – check out our Deedster Retail solution!

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