Your company’s baseline environmental measurements are done. You created your impact reduction measures. Now, how and what do you tell your employees?
Organizations often struggle with effectively communicating the urgency and underlying motives behind their sustainable developments to employees.
One of the factors that decrease the successful implementation of sustainability- is that top management often perceives sustainability to be something too academic or high-level for other employees to understand.
So- they keep it within their own team/or relevant stakeholders who they feel do understand and don’t involve other employees.
Meet the sustainability bubble: one of the biggest bottlenecks to successful sustainable change. How can we make sure we burst it?
Sustainability Bubbles: The danger of undersharing
A sustainability bubble is created when sustainable awareness remains in a network of employees and professionals that are open to- and are knowledgeable to sustainability. And often people are just unaware they create- or are part of these bubbles within their organization.
However, the dangerous result is that sustainable awareness then doesn’t reach the rest of your organization. It slows down sustainable awareness and understanding in all the other management levels and departments. Decreasing the flow of collective intelligence and engagement and, therefore, opportunities to sustainably improve or innovate.
Remarkably, countless of research shows that high sustainable awareness is also considered one of the most important success factors for organisational sustainable transitioning. Both to inspire sustainable innovation and employee pride.
So- how can we make sure we burst this bubble?
The 5 tips on how to get your organization successfully involved with sustainable change
1. Be critical on your awareness efforts:
Sustainability is a tough topic. It may seem like the concepts that sustainability professionals tackle are too far-away or difficult for other employees. But don’t let that hold you back from trying to find ways to do so. Burst this sustainability bubble- and while doing so try putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Why would this change be important to others in your company? How can you bring sustainability to an employee-level and connect it to their everyday work to a bigger picture. If you would be in another team, would you not also find it important to understand how your organization is contributing to solving environmental issues?
2. Highlight support from CEO:
Supportive CEO’s work like magic. CEO’s with enthusiastic and positive attitudes towards sustainable change have a strong systematic impact on the organisation’s approach and engagement towards innovation and change-oriented strategies. So, if you can- always highlight CEO support in your change communication. Even better: have your CEO communicate it him/herself.
3. Hire an internal sustainability communications professional:
Sustainability professionals are busy. And often a big lack of time and resources stands in the way of increasing sustainable awareness. An internal communications professional with sustainable awareness and engament as their main goal will get your sustainability communication up to a next level. They will have the time and expertese to understand what your employees want and should know and how to translate difficult topics to understandable concepts.
Depending of the size of your company, this may or may not be possible. However, having someone in your company that focuses entirely on communicating and engaging employees to understand and LOVE sustainability, will definitely be worth it.
4. Create a company wide sustainability update in your intranet:
Keep your employees up to date of the latest sustainability goals, projects, updates, successes, fails or projects. Transparency and consistent communication not only make your employees better informed, it makes them feel included and increases trust. This also motivates employees to share ideas and/or efforts they already take.
Always try to make this a two-way communication flow. Maybe that one guy/girl from the sales department found the most interesting sustainable business opportunity for your product. Would be a shame if they don’t have a proper opportunity to tell you…
5. Always share sustainable success stories:
Success is the best tool to increase sustainability awareness. And that’s because success boost employee pride. In turn, pride is the key to creating motivated and engaged employees. If you want to ensure your employees see the value in your sustainability efforts, aim to highlight success or provide perspective of the business opportunities your organization’s efforts bring.
Now- go get ’em!
P.S. Haven’t started with sustainability in your company yet? We captured 13 capacity-building tactics from within our community, on how to build up environmental awareness to make your company change-ready. Read them here: