WE report: Employee engagement key to long-term sustainability change


Clear internal and external communications are necessary to bridge the gap between executives and other employees, according to the agency research.

Engaging employees is necessary for achieving environmental goals. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

NEW YORK: While employees strongly support their companies' missions to create a more sustainable world, they're skeptical about employers' overall impact, according to WE Communications' latest Brands in Motion report.

The study, titled Winning the Battle Against Green Fatigue, found that nearly half of employees suspect their employers are involved in some level of greenwashing.

For sustainability investments to reach their full potential, internal communications are key, and executives must make sure their staffers understand their role in corporate initiatives.

However, there's a disconnect between senior management and the broader workforce. Almost two-thirds of respondents said they have very little or no involvement in their employer's environmental sustainability efforts, and only 38% know that their companies have made sustainability commitments, WE found.

To address the gap, companies' internal and external communications must be clear and deliver tangible results showing progress.

WE offered five strategies that fall under its "employee sustainability engagement playbook:" committing to a deadline; using innovative ways to connect with staffers; getting sustainability efforts praised by accredited organizations; showing how everyone's job contributes to sustainability goals; providing proof on how employees' work is changing based on sustainability goals.

In partnership with YouGov, WE surveyed nearly 2,000 employees across a range of industries and roles in three markets — Singapore, the U.K. and the U.S. — to understand their attitudes toward corporate sustainability programs.

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