Capitalize on employee interest to drive sustainability
By Mark Adams
Mark Adams is chief of staff for Intel’s Ultra Mobility Group.
Tips to engage employees
• Learn from others: Take a look at similar employee networks at your company or elsewhere and don’t be afraid to learn from their experiences. They can point out common pitfalls and share examples of what made their employees passionate about these networks and their goals.
• Start with internal efforts: It can be easier to start your network by focusing on internal employee awareness and projects such as recycling, composting, volunteering, and Earth Day or other events. These tend to be somewhat simpler to modify than external-facing efforts such as purchasing or supplier relations.
• Focus on simple wins: Reinforce employee enthusiasm by producing tangible success stories before tackling more complex projects. Publicizing these wins will motivate your members while potentially inspiring new ones to join.
• Encourage local chapters: Large or international firms may prosper by fostering local chapters at different offices around the U.S. or abroad. Creating an easy to use tool kit enables employees to start a new chapter with little overhead. Conference calls and webcasts help to share information and share best known methods.
Examples of success
At Intel, our group has hosted about 40 discussion groups since 2002, based on courses designed by the Northwest Earth Institute. Recent groups included “Sustainable Systems at Work,” “Global Warming,” and “Menu for the Future.” These are geared to encourage individuals and organizations to protect ecological systems and provide the resources to enable small groups to take action.
We also bring in internal and external speakers to share their knowledge about leading sustainability trends. Topics covered recently have included product design, sustainable architecture, renewable power, and agriculture. Bill Bradbury (former Oregon Secretary of State) educated us about global warming. We hosted Dr. Stephen Schneider, a Stanford professor and leading scientist on the Internal Panel on Climate Change. Such speaker events are relatively easy to organize and work effectively if promoted actively to employees well in advance.
Increasing the sustainability of your company and your employees may seem daunting but don’t be intimidated. Capitalize on employee interest and start a simple, grassroots program which can grow as you develop a strong membership and solicit support from the company’s management.
Mark Adams is director of global communications for Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organization.
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