Going green is a laudable goal for any company or organization. With green initiatives you can help make a positive impact on your immediate environment in and around your business, your community and the world. Sustainable business practices can also be good ways to save money through waste reduction and energy savings, and to get some good PR with your clients, even new customers. However, for any green initiatives to be effective you need to communicate the importance of green to your employees. There are three ways that you can get employee buy-in to green initiatives in your organization.
1. Employee Ownership.
Allow your employees to have some ownership of your company’s green initiatives. This means getting them involved early on in the concept of going green; let them be part of the decision making process. When employees have a say in how certain initiatives develop they can be more enthusiastic and thus more supportive.
When you first consider the idea of green, consider asking for volunteers to form a green team. Supply the team with some guidelines, telling them why you think going green might be good. Suggest how they might research the idea and let them know what research you have already done. If you have specific ideas, give them to the team; do not let them waffle around if you already have some ideas you know you want used.
This team can brainstorm ways the company can go green and research the viability (and profitability) of various eco-friendly and sustainable business initiatives. They can also work on the logistics of green implementation from a much more practical point of view than leadership can. Finally, when this team helps you to roll out the new world of green, the staff at large is much more likely to be supportive knowing that some of “their own” were on the development team.
2. Team Building through Green.
Develop team building exercises that focus on your green initiatives. Green team building exercises can include the above employee ownership brainstorm team, but can go on to even deeper levels. For example, having each employee look at their area, and then come up with one or two ways to greenify their immediate work space. Encourage them to talk to others in the office and share these ideas, and let each area of the office settle on their own initiative.
You can also get more official by encouraging a company compost bin. Ask for volunteers to care for the bin, and allow staff members who garden or do yard work to take turns taking the compost home with them for use in their own yards.
The best way to merge green and team building is to also bring in the third element of community service. Organizing a company Earth day clean-up or similar clean-up event can be a great way to get your employees working together on a worthwhile cause. Another way to use green for team building is through a little healthy competition.
3. Healthy Competition.
Build community and green awareness with friendly competition. This is an easy way to get employee buy-in and also to jump start your company’s green projects. You can have a variety of competitions, from collecting recyclables to planting trees. One great idea is to start your green initiatives with a small competition, then have a new competition every one or two months, making the competition a bit more challenging (with higher stakes) each time. You provide the prizes to encourage the competitive effort.
Communicating the Important of Green throughout Your Organization
Communicating green in your organization is as easy as one, two, three. One great way to really jump start any green program is to do so on a special occasion, such as Labor Day, the first day of fall, or Earth Day, making your initiatives seem part of the celebration. With a little work you can give your employees ownership, build team unity and have some healthy competition, increasing awareness of green throughout your organization.