Green marketing and employee engagement, do they have any relation?
Yes, Employee motivation for green or sustainable business practices is the basis for the victory in green marketing and innovation.
The confront is to align internal practices with green business goals. The good news is that it is quite possible there may already be some green initiatives in place, started by employees who have a personal green orientation and can energize your efforts to achieve green business objectives.
So, as a first step, informally investigate what is happening. It can range from small energy or paper-saving initiatives that are internal to more extensive customer promotions with a green component.
It is better to start by collecting this information informally so employees that have initiated green activities do not hide them out of concern over having done something “against the rules” or without proper authorization.
Additionally, by collecting the information quietly, you will avoid giving any incentive to over-reporting or spin in an effort to get credit for something perceived to be important. Once you know what is actually happening, then it is time to go public. Announce and celebrate the initiatives and make it more than just an event. Establish a venue or platform through which they can share experiences and learn across the company.
The best way to talk about green initiatives is in a straight-forward language without hype or promotional elements. There is a strong propensity among the green audience to view with suspicion any pronouncement that only reports the good elements without regard for the challenges inherent in change.
The channel is also important. For instance, using a paper newsletter to talk about green initiatives will send an additional message: that you do not “get it”. Use creative and low impact methods, such as whiteboards, or propel out green information on a 100% recycled paper calendar with useful tips on how to save energy.
Finally, let your employees speak for themselves. Allow them the opportunity to talk about what they have done and why they did it. Direct connections and engagement across the employee base can be powerful. Use interviews and report on discussions with them as a way to help other employees relate and buy-in.
As you move forward, maintain some informality or community feel too green initiatives to foster a sense of partnership between the company and its employees. This can encourage and motivate others to get involved and provide a sense of empowerment that will generate momentum on green goals.
Consider structural supports as well, including a green support group to facilitate communication and knowledge sharing. Identify champions or sponsors for organizational units, sites, or other company subdivisions that can lead efforts and ensure coordination. This will help align each effort with other initiatives and with green business objectives overall.
Most importantly, ensure there is an executive champion–ideally the President or CEO. That will establish the importance of focusing on green activities, and provide a sense of comfort for those that want to engage but are concerned about the reaction of managers who are not yet fully engaged on this topic.
As activities align across the company, and employees become aware of the breadth of initiatives occurring, momentum will build. Engaged employees drive to increase customer satisfaction and revenue, and are a great source of ideas for green business opportunities.