Employee engagement 'vital to business sustainability efforts'

Employee engagement 'vital to business sustainability efforts'

Employee engagement 'vital to business sustainability efforts'

Businesses looking for ways to improve their efficiency and achieve higher standards of sustainability must recognise the importance of employee engagement, according to Royal Mail.

The postal service operator was among the winners at edie's 2017 Sustainability Leaders Awards, which took place at the London Hilton on Park Lane earlier in the year. It received the top honour in the Employee Engagement & Behaviour Change category.


According to edie, a leading information resource for business sustainability, Royal Mail won the award partly because of its ability to engage its employees in making improvements in the workplace.

In recent years, the company has pursued initiatives including a major drive to boost recycling across the organisation and reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill. One of the key aspects of this project was a programme encouraging regular communication with staff. Frontline workers were asked to get involved in the design of waste posters.

The recycling plan was backed up by monthly waste reports detailing the performance of individual sites. Again, there was a focus on employee engagement in these efforts, with local briefings and visual displays helping to keep people informed.

There have also been innovative approaches including the installation of a composting unit at the organisation's site in Medway, Kent, allowing staff to recycle their food waste.

Royal Mail has seen clear benefits from these schemes, with nearly half (48 percent) of its 837 UK sites having diverted all of their waste from landfill by July 2016. Over the course of 2015/16, the entire group kept 84.6 percent of its refuse from going to landfill sites, exceeding its target by 4.4 percent.

Discussing its recent initiatives, David Waterston, the company's carbon programmes manager, stressed that employee engagement "at all levels" is a crucial part of driving the sustainability agenda across the business.

"Through the waste reporting, employees can see how much waste they diverted from landfill, how much they had recycled, and that just gives them the confidence and empowerment that what they're doing has an effect," he explained.

"In a lot of cases, if they only see the national figures, it can be quite off-putting. But now they can see through the waste report that they are making a local, positive impact."

Royal Mail's annual staff satisfaction survey showed that employee engagement had increased by 14 percent over the past four years.

The company was one of 19 winners at edie's 2017 Sustainability Leaders Awards. Also among the award recipients was carpet tile manufacturer Interface, which was presented with the Sustainable Business of the Year award, partly thanks to its ambitious Climate Take Back programme.

Beer brewers Adnams and Heineken were recognised in the Water Management and Sustainability Reporting categories respectively. 

Luke Nicholls, edie editor, said the past year had provided many examples of organisations "going to great lengths to drive the green industrial revolution".


Posted by Julie Tucker

Image courtesy of iStock/ms_seal