Getting Your Employees Inspired with Sustainability Training and Presentations

employeesLet’s face it: your employees are probably not very concerned about the impact of your business’s sustainability efforts on your business bottom line. They are concerned that you are able to give them their paychecks on time, but getting them to buy into the connections between that paycheck and green efforts in the workplace is a tougher sell. Nor do you have staff with the time or expertise to sell this concept to your employees.

This is where our sustainability training and presentations can help. We have a number of training presentations available, all of which can be tailored to fit the needs of your particular company, and employee needs and concerns. For companies just beginning to make this a focus, we have an Introduction to Sustainability segment which helps employees connect their work with corporate sustainability concepts such as Natural Capitalism and the Triple Bottom Line. We will share stories of local companies that have done similar work to help them understand that this is not a fad, but an important component to all business cultures. We conclude these presentations with suggestions and resources for getting started. We also have a presentation on becoming a paperless office, which helps to orient employees toward the one thing that just about everyone in your office probably suffers from—too much paper!

Once you have at least some employees on the sustainability band wagon, we have trainings which focus on creating a sustainability plan and greening your business one step at a time. These presentations can encourage employees who are feeling overwhelmed or under educated, helping them see that working green is possible. We also have presentations which will help connect sustainability in the office with thinking green in your employees’ personal lives: Eco-Style Your Life and Conscious Consumerism. These presentations help employees make the connections between green practices and cash flow both at the office (for paychecks and such) and at home.

Finally, once your employees are truly on board with sustainability, we can help introduce the concept of getting to zero waste. These days this is not an impossible concept to achieve, and we can help you and your employees see why. So contact us today and let’s begin educating your employees on the need to think sustainably!

Promoting Sustainable Behaviors in Your Organization

Businesses often overlook one simple fact concerning sustainability education, human behaviors are not always rational. Behaviors tend to be based on emotion and culture. A classic example of this is cigarette smoking. Despite the clear negative effects of smoking and the highly visible warning labels, every year people still choose to start doing it.

When attempting to promote sustainable behaviors among employees, you can learn from this recognition that people do not always make rational decisions. When educating employees about your sustainability program, you not only need to give them facts and information but also identify the behaviors you want to change.  This is where the concept of social marketing to promote green behaviors will benefit your business.

According to Doug McKenzi-Mohr, author of Fostering Sustainable Behavior: Community Based Social Marketing, he cites three 3 steps to getting the change you want:

  1. Identify the Behaviors: Organizations need to clearly identify the behaviors they want changed as it relates to their sustainability program. For example, do you want your employee to turn off their computer at night OR do you want them to turn off the power strip that turns off all their equipment.
  2. Identify the Barriers and Benefits: Once a behavior is identified, then it is important to understand what barriers they are to doing that behavior. If we take the example of turning off their computer, a barrier might be that IT department encourages employees to keep their computer on so they can do updates to systems. Identifying benefits, is being clear to see what is in it for the employee and/or organization. With our computer example, an organization can save over $100 per computer, per year if turned off at night.
  3. Develop Strategies: Once behaviors have been identified with the barriers and benefits, then building a strategy and plan of action to adopt those practices is the final step. A successful plan will change the culture and the types of behaviors that are emotionally gratifying to your employees.

Here at eco-officiency we are at the cutting edge of fostering sustainable behaviors and understand the psychology behind promoting real change. Contact us for more on how we will help craft and implement a successful plan.

The Lexicon of Sustainability

In today’s sustainability world, one of the biggest barriers for most individuals is to understand all the phrases and terminology associated with sustainability. Phrases like Farm to Table, Natural Capitalism, Pasture Raised, Food Miles, Food Security and Biomimicry can be confusing to consumers, workers and employees on what they mean and how they apply.

There are two projects that are helping in this sustainability terminology confusion. The Lexicon of Sustainability is a project by Douglas Gayeton who has done photographs and images to represent these sustainability words. They have a program whereas you can display these photos in your local community or office building for a period of time, to help educate staff.

The International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) also has a lexicon project in progress. This project brings together a diverse group of sustainability professionals to build a common consensus and definition on the terminology used by sustainability professionals.

The following is a list of resources that provide a glossary of sustainability terminology;

You can also offer training to your staff or community on sustainability that helps educate them on the terminology, frameworks and theories of sustainability. Contact us for more information.

Creating a Healthier Work Environment by Using Non-Toxic Cleaners

According to an article by Safer Statesnearly each day, four million people in the United States… are exposed to toxic chemicals in their workplace on a daily basis. What’s worse is that this number is only counting towards the people in direct contact with the chemicals- like janitors, landscapers, and groundskeepers.  Now imagine what the statistics jump to once you include all the people who indirectly work around those chemicals- like all the employees who work in your office.

Here are some tips for how to switch to eco-friendly products that will still make your office as clean and beautiful, but without the negative effects on the environment or your health:

  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products– these cleaning products recommended by the EPA are generally bio-based which means that they break down easily in the environment and do not omit toxic or other harmful substances into the air.
  • Use an eco-friendly vacuum cleaner– these vacuum cleaners actually help improve indoor air quality by using HEPA filters that can trap nearly 100% of airborne particles.
  • Use eco-friendly fertilizers and de-icers right outside the office to keep the walkways clear in the winter and the lawns lush and green in the summer, all while reducing the amounts of pollutants seeping into the air and ground.
  • Add plants to your office.  Not only do plants add a sense of beauty and hominess to a workplace, they also add to an eco-friendly environment by absorbing air pollutants.

Contact us today and talk to our eco consultants about how to transform your office environment into a healthy work environment.

Green Business Operations Brings More Job Satisfaction to Employees

For many people, personal satisfaction comes from a job well done and from being able to help someone achieve a goal. That is why some employees are seeking out employers with green business operations.

According to the May 2012 article, “Sustainability-engaged employees more satisfied, study shows,” employees want to feel that what they do has a positive impact on “social and environmental issues.” Specifically, a recent nationwide study by Rutgers University found that…

…49 percent of workers who have impact opportunities on the job report high satisfaction levels, compared with 24 percent of those who don’t.

Green Employees are happy employees as shown by a 2008 annual survey conducted by the Kenexa Research Institute (KRI) in 13 countries found that organizations that support sustainability initiatives such as recycling and energy conservation have a positive influence on employees’ engagement levels.

The research indicated that employees felt pride, job satisfaction, and a willingness to recommend their employer as a good place to work when employees had a favorable view of the company’s green efforts. In addition, employees saw senior managers in a positive light feeling they were able to deal with challenges while providing a clear direction for the organization. High standards of ethical conduct and a good company reputation were also cited by employees of green organizations.

It’s long been known that workplace culture has a lot of influence on how employees feel about their jobs and whether or not they are actively engaged at work. So it makes a lot of sense that if workers feel good about their company’s efforts to be economically, socially, and environmentally aware that these positive feelings would translate to more job satisfaction.

It’s well-known that when employees are happy they are productive. And working for a company with green business operations seems to bring more job satisfaction. For more information on green business topics, visit us.