In the business world, you often hear talk of “company culture” or that a business has a good culture. And often those terms are couched in something esoteric like employee satisfaction or employee engagement. But we have found that adding sustainability to the culture gives everyone something tangible to measure their engagement or satisfaction by. Indeed, sustainability showcases two fundamental things that make for a good culture: ownership and stewardship.
ESG and the culture strategy
Running a good business is more than just meeting your numbers. Since all business deals with relationships, gauging your “success” on how people interact with the business is a better measuring stick. It shows, too, when you see how much a good culture pays dividends on the companies who maintain them: happy employees are more creative and productive, but they also turn-over less and treat customers better. These demonstrative ROIs on having a good culture are nothing to sneeze at, either.
But by adding a sustainability initiative to your company’s happy culture, you can add rocket power to those ROIs. Sustainability, and the personal responsibility it encourages, gives your employees something more tangible than a good feeling or high KPI results to show for it.
Ownership (accepting the responsibility that is ours for the things we buy and use) and Stewardship (taking care of the stuff we take responsibility for) are fundamental building blocks of any effective culture. Without them, you’re left with either apathy or anarchy.
The power of paying it forward
Sustainable thinking is altruistic. Think about it: at its core, since the selfishness of preserving this world is very limited, doing something for the environment is an act of altruism—it is always for future generations or other communities.
Of course, being sustainable reduces waste, which can be good for a business, more immediately—which could be argued as a profit-centric motive—but on an individual level it’s still hard to act sustainably for selfish reasons. However, even the profit-centric argument is shortsighted, since businesses under US law exist for shareholder return. Ultimately, someone else is going to benefit from your sustainable actions.
And, even if your employees are not 100% behind the mission of your business, they can at least be behind the sustainable pledge your business makes, right? After all, who among us would prefer to ruin the environment over not? Even employees of decidedly un-sustainable businesses are not working those jobs to actively destroy the planet. So, adding sustainable practices around the office would be beneficial to everyone.
This altruism that comes with acting sustainably, whether perceived or not, is what can make sustainable thinking so contagious. We see it all the time at collection events: employees catch a glimpse of what is happening, and many will join in. Some will even race out on their lunch break to return with some older electronic devices they had in storage.
Do more than just starting a recycling campaign
While the three Rs are definitely a good launching-pad for getting a company culture to lean sustainably, there is more to it than just setting up separate bins for recycling. The thinking needs to take root in a fundamental element of the business to truly become a mainstay in the culture.
That’s why, when engaging your company for sustainability, a good place to start is with IT assets—or, electronic devices. This can include both the company assets as well as individual employee’s devices. This is a powerful first foray into sustainability because of the ubiquitous nature of those devices, and because of how much they ruin our planet when not handled properly.
Creating an ownership and stewardship connection with the devices they use every day creates a tactile reminder of the culture they work in. It helps employees to treat their laptops and tablets with a little more respect, and with the Employee Purchase Program (EPP) and GoodTogether programs that Sage provides, employees can see beyond the cubicle in regards to the devices they employ.
In fact, we’ve intentionally integrated both of these programs into the lifeblood of what we do for our clients to make them accessible by our customer’s employees. We have found that when offered programs like these, employees are more likely to be sustainable with all the electronic devices they use. It’s a specific way for them to have ownership and stewardship that can make for some pretty amazing stories.
So, if you are looking to improve your company’s culture, or want to see some real-world benefit from your ESG ratings, then use sustainable thinking as your base. It’s a truly firm foundation that will create dividends for generations to come. And, by partnering with a sustainable ITAM/ITAD partner, you can give your employees more than just a recycling bin to act on this foundation.