The importance of a robust ESG Strategy has been reiterated through the experiences of various companies and research papers. As per the research of 2020 by Willis Towers Watson, 58% take a company’s ESG into consideration while deciding where to work, whereas 55% choose to work for a company that is socially responsible.
Additionally, a study by Marsh & Mclennan found that employers who are attractive to young talent perform better on ESG parameters by 25%, and employers who have highly satisfied employees perform better by 14% in ESG. There is a significant correlation between employees choosing an employer because of their ESG/ social responsibility parameters, and associating themselves with organizational goals other than business, which in turn has a positive effect on the ESG performance of the employer.
Previously ESG was seen as a jurisdiction preserved for the top management. But time and again companies like Marks & Spencers, Unilever, IBM, etc have proved that companies are able to explore more innovative and effective ideas when they bubble up from the bottom. Though only a handful of companies have been able to embed personal engagement by employees in their ESG as mentioned in “Engaging Employees to Create a Sustainable Business.” Here are some proven practices that your organisation can follow to make employees an integral part of the ESG strategy and hence reap both culture and financial benefits that come along with it:-
- Aligning Values:
Organization and Employees both work on certain values, aligning them translates into bringing management and employees on the same page, and conveying the same. This can be done by ensuring that company leaders get involved into sustainability practices as well as motivate the employees to do the same. Further recognising and rewarding sustainable practices goes a long way in encouraging employees to become key change makers.
Additionally targeted employee surveys can help gauge what employees perceive to be an all-encompassing ESG Strategy. And accordingly crafting an ESG strategy.
2. Providing the Ground to Trust
Employees need to believe that if they do come up with an idea, the company will consider it and also provide the right tools and resources to implement it. Only then employees are going to put an effort to come up with creative sustainable solutions. Plus, as an organisation you need to make it clear what’s in there for employees (in terms of recognition and compensation). Not only does this help with expectation setting but makes the company’s intention about promoting sustainability clear to all the stakeholders.
Organisations can have certain programs that fund innovations promoting sustainability (both social and environmental) and diversity & inclusion. Organisations need to preach and practise “small acts, make big differences.”
3. Training and Communication
Providing education about ESG to not just managers but to all the employees helps with organization-wide understanding of concepts of ESG and also gives everyone the tools to bring change. This in turn also helps with better alignment of values of organisation and employees.
Over and above the training, in the communications such as job descriptions, annual reports, everyday emails etc embed the importance of ESG. Here, the top management needs to lead by example by instilling in their communication how for the organisation environment, social and governance is equally important as maximising profits.