The Role of Workplace Sustainability in Your Employee Value Proposition

13 Dec 2022

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the importance of sustainability, more and more companies are looking for ways to incorporate sustainable practices into their operations. And rightly so – sustainability is not only good for the environment, it is also good for business.

A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies that adopted sustainable practices tend to outperform their competitors financially by as much as 20%. So what does this mean for your employee value proposition (EVP)? 

In this article, we explore why it's important for your EVP to embrace the growing importance of sustainability – from offering green benefits to creating a sustainable workplace culture. It's time to make sustainability work for your company and your employees.

Workplace Sustainability: An Imperative for the New Normal

The workplace is evolving. What was once only a physical space where people went to perform tasks can now be a virtual space where people connect to accomplish goals. But while this new way of working has many benefits, it also comes with challenges. One of the biggest challenges is sustainability, an important issue for businesses of all sizes nowadays.

With more people working remotely, there is a growing need for sustainability in the workplace that allows employees to do their best work, while also minimizing their impact on the environment. It's no surprise that companies are starting to look at best practices for eco-friendly remote work.

There are many ways to make your workplace more sustainable, but one of the most important is to focus on energy efficiency. Invest in energy-efficient products and technologies to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on operating costs, and encourage employees to adopt sustainable commuting options, such as telecommuting or carpooling.

Another important aspect of sustainability is waste reduction. You can reduce waste in the workplace by implementing recycling programs and using reusables instead of disposables. You can also encourage employees to compost food scraps and other organic materials and help create a more eco-friendly workplace.

Finally, water conservation is another key part of sustainability in the workplace. You can reduce water consumption by installing low-flow fixtures and using drought-tolerant landscaping. You can also encourage employees to conserve water by educating them about simple actions they can takeBut before we get into how to talk to our employees about sustainability, let's make sure we understand it ourselves.

woman looking at blueprints in a sustainable office

What Is the Employee Value Proposition (EVP)?

The employee value proposition (EVP) is the set of benefits and perks that an employer offers employees in return for their skills, experience and loyalty. The EVP can include both monetary and non-monetary benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, flexible work schedules and more.

A strong EVP can help attract and retain top talent and improve employee satisfaction and engagement. In today's competitive job market, employers need to be aware that sustainability in the office is an aspect of an EVP that is becoming incredibly important to employees. Many people want to feel that they are having a positive impact on the world and are attracted to companies with sustainable business practices 

Some ways employers can make their workplace more sustainable include: Reducing energy consumption, recycling or composting office waste, using environmentally friendly office supplies, offering telecommuting or flexible work schedules, encouraging employees to use public transportation, and even offering incentives for healthy lifestyles.

By incorporating workplace sustainability into your EVP, you can improve the employee experience by showing your commitment to making a positive difference in the world -– something that's sure to resonate with many job seekers. But does "many" mean "everyone"?

Everyone Wants to Work in a Sustainable Workplace

As the world begins to view sustainability as a key business metric, sustainable workplaces are becoming more attractive to employees. More and more people are applying for and accepting jobs at companies they consider environmentally sustainable, while 83% of them believe their employer isn't doing enough to be more sustainable.

According to a new survey by global technology and business services provider IBM, 67% of respondents said they're more likely to apply for jobs at such companies, and 68% are more likely to accept jobs at such companies. And that's not just talk – 35% of those who've changed jobs in the last year have taken a job with an employer they consider sustainable!

But sustainable workplaces aren't just good for employees, they're also good for business. A sustainable workplace is one that considers the environmental and social impacts of its operations and works to minimize negative impacts while promoting positive ones. This means that a sustainable workplace is often more efficient and resource-efficient, which translates into higher profits at the end of the day.

The same IBM survey found that 77% of respondents want to make more sustainable choices – so a strong sustainability policy can also give you a competitive advantage. Three out of five respondents said at least half of their most recent purchase consisted of products labeled as sustainable or socially responsible, with nearly half saying they'd paid a premium for products labeled as sustainable or responsible.

So why wouldn't everyone want to work in a sustainable workplace? The answer is that people often simply don't know what it means to make a workplace sustainable. They may think it's expensive, time-consuming, or requires big changes they don't have the confidence to make. And that's where you come in! As an employer, it's up to you to show people that sustainable work can be easy and extremely rewarding.

By making small changes to the way you work, you can create a sustainable workplace that everyone wants to be a part of.

Young african american woman arrives at the office with an electric scooter

4 Ways Sustainable Initiatives Are Shaping Your EVP

To stay ahead of the game, make your company attractive to potential employees and retain them once they're on board, it's important to understand exactly how sustainable initiatives are shaping your EVP.

New Perspective on Office Spaces

The traditional office space continues to evolve. As more companies adopt sustainable initiatives, the way we view and use office space is changing. Traditional office space is no longer the only option for businesses. Sustainable initiatives are creating new opportunities for companies to reduce their environmental impact and create more efficient and effective work environments.

Sustainable initiatives also increase the flexibility of office space. By embracing hybrid work schedules and increasing the use of shared space, companies can reduce their environmental footprint and save on the cost of traditional office space. In addition, such initiatives can also improve employee well-being by creating a healthier work environment. For example, green buildings often have features that improve air quality and natural lighting, which can enhance employee concentration and cognitive function.

Employee Satisfaction

Sustainability can also be a major selling point when recruiting new employees. Younger job seekers, in particular, are looking for companies with strong sustainability programs and are drawn to organizations that focus on environmental and social responsibility. By incorporating sustainable practices into your EVP, you’ll be able to appeal to this growing demographic while also improving the bottom line.

According to a recent CSR study by Cone Communications, 87 percent of consumers said they would buy a product because a company supports an issue they care about, and more than 75 percent would boycott a product or brand if the brand supports an issue that contradicts their ethics and values. This trend is likely to continue as Millennials and Gen Z opt for sustainable and socially responsible brands. 

Employee Activism

More and more workers are expressing concern about the sustainability of their jobs. In fact, in many cases, it is employee activism that is driving change in companies and leading to the adoption of more sustainable practices everywhere. As employees become more aware of their workplace's impact on the environment, they are increasingly speaking out and demanding change.

This has led to a surge in employee-led sustainability initiatives, with many employees taking it upon themselves to make their workplace more sustainable. This increased awareness and activism is having a profound impact on corporate culture, forcing companies to re-evaluate their approach to sustainability. The good news is that, when employees feel that their company is truly committed to sustainability, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and proud of their employer.

Workforce Diversity

Each organization will have its own specific goals for workforce diversity, of course, but the overall goal is usually to create a more inclusive environment where all employees feel valued and respected. By taking steps to increase workforce diversity, organizations cannot only improve employee satisfaction and morale, but also tap into new markets and better understand their customers' needs.

Making the workplace populations more diverse can be done in a number of ways, but some of the most common include:

  • Increasing the number of women in leadership positions
  • Hiring a more diverse range of employees
  • Encouraging employees to share their unique perspectives
  • Providing training on cultural competence
  • Promoting flexible work arrangements for everyone
  • Supporting employee resource groups

Side view of young female entrepreneur in casualwear sitting by workplace

How to Highlight Workplace Sustainability Initiatives in Your EVP?

To attract and retain top talent, it is important to showcase your company’s commitment to workplace sustainability by highlighting some workplace sustainability initiatives in your EVP. This will lead to an improved workplace culture (a sustainable workplace is often more positive and productive, with lower absence rates and less need for replacements), enhanced employee engagement, greater attraction and retention of top talent, and increased brand equity.

Communicate the Company’s Values

Top talent wants to work for companies that share their values. Make sure you communicate the company's commitment to sustainability in the workplace in your EVP and share it with the world. Most consumers are becoming interested in buying from companies with sustainable practices, so your EVP can also help improve your company's reputation.

Highlight Sustainable Practices

It's important to provide information and resources about sustainability practices happening in your workplace and share examples of sustainable policies that the company has put in place. This will show potential employees that the company is serious about its commitment to sustainability. Mention energy efficient buildings, green transportation, waste reduction initiatives, etc.

Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance

A key element of workplace sustainability is promoting a healthy work-life balance. Describe how the company supports this through policies and benefits such as child care assistance. Encourage employees to take sustainability habits from the workplace to their personal lives by cutting down on waste, mastering the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), choosing green energy sources and even seeking out local, sustainable food.

Offer Flexible Working Arrangements

You can also attract top talent by offering flexible working arrangements that allow employees to better balance their work and personal commitments. This will show that the company is supportive of employees’ efforts to live more sustainable lifestyles. Flexible working doesn't just mean remote work, of course, but can also include job sharing, reduced hours, or flexible scheduling around commitments such as childcare.

Support Professional Development

Investing in employees’ professional development shows a commitment to their long-term success at the company. Offer opportunities for employees to develop their skills and knowledge in various aspects including workplace sustainability. This will show that the company is committed to investing in its employees’ professional growth. Mention such opportunities for training and career advancement in your EVP.

Offer Green Benefits

A comprehensive benefits package that includes perks like health insurance, retirement savings plans, and paid time off can be a powerful recruiting tool. But don’t forget to mention your commitment to helping remote and hybrid workers adopt green habits at home, too. There are many ways to encourage your remote employees to adopt sustainable habits and practices:

You can go paperless with digital documents and e-signatures to reduce waste; you can support green vendors and partner with other companies that are working toward sustainability; you can host green competitions, such as recycling drives; and you can even reward green behavior. Be sure to reward individual efforts through public praise and tangible rewards such as gift cards or meals.

Remember, implementing sustainability initiatives can improve both the employee experience and your company's corporate image. Today's consumers want to do business with companies that are committed to the environment. By adopting sustainable practices, you can make a difference, stand out from your competitors, impress your ideal customers and attract top talent. Have you started yet?

 

Topics: Culture of Sustainability

Related articles

Join the thousand of forward-thinking offices around the world

<Contact us