One would think that with more and more stories of companies jumping into the green game, most companies would be scrambling to establish different strategies that would give the company green advantage. These strategies include how to embrace environmental business practices internally to increase productivity and value. According to a recent report, while it makes good business sense and adds value to the worker experience, companies feel that it may come with some costs.
The highly respected Society for Human Resource Management has released its 2008 Green Workplace Survey and of the HR professionals polled, 50% said they had a formal or informal eco-strategy but on the other hand, 43% said they didn’t have one and didn’t see implementing one in the next year. Are these firms living under a rock? The report found that of the firms that did have a policy, it improved employee morale and improved the public image of the company. The report also cited that firms noticed improvements in the areas of customer confidence, positive bottom line and employee loyalty.
While a majority had found that instituting an internal green strategy was a step in the right direction, others found some barriers. Many companies felt that the costs of implementing and maintaining a program would be high. Other areas sited include lack of management or employee support and concern for workplace inefficiency. Any firm can institute minimal and low hanging fruit stuff that does not cost too much and if the company is not secure enough to look at its own operation for fear of “inefficiency”, then maybe it’s time to look at your business model. Can you say continuous improvement?
Here are some key findings of the report,
- While C-suite support for company initiatives is key, relatively few at the CEO/President (15 percent) level are responsible for creating the environmentally responsible program and fewer (four percent) are responsible for program implementation. The majority of such programs are created by a senior management team (32 percent) and roughly the same number (31 percent) are also responsible for implementation.
- HR professionals rank the top five environmentally-responsible practices to be: 1) encouraging employees to work more environmentally friendly (83 percent); 2) offering a recycling program for office products (83 percent); 3) donating and discounting used office furniture and supplies to employees or local charity (73 percent); 4) using energy efficient lighting systems and equipment such as Energy Star equipment and occupancy sensors (66 percent); and 5) installing automatic shutoff for equipment (63 percent).
- Employees offer a slightly different view and rank the five most important environmentally-responsible practices as follows: 1) donating and discounting used office furniture and supplies to employees or local charity (53 percent); 2) promoting walking, biking, taking public transit (49 percent); 3) using energy efficient lighting systems and equipment (43 percent); 4) offering a recycling programs for office products (39 percent); and 5) encouraging employees to work more environmentally friendly (36 percent).
The Green Workplace Survey’s 429 HR professional respondents represent publicly- and privately-owned companies, nonprofits, and the government sector. The 504 employee sample was randomly selected from U.S. telephone population. All employee respondents were either employed full time or part time.