Bridging the Sustainability Disconnect in BusinessApril 13th, 2010 by Julie Urlaub
Have you ever noticed how the expression of a corporate mission differs from the high level vision to how it’s expressed within an organization? It appears there is often a disconnect between a corporate sustainability plan and how that vision filters down to the day-to-day workings of the company’s employees. The heart of this may lie in the misconceptions of executive management about true employee engagement.
In a recent report by Companies at a Crossroads, findings show there is a huge disconnect between executive beliefs and employee reality. While 38% of chief executives felt levels of trust in their companies were high and that their staff was engaged, only 16% of managers had similar perception from the front line.
It is concerning that both perceptions were well below 50%, but even more surprising is that there is such a disconnect between executive belief and employee experience. What chance do companies have to implement business sustainability programs with such a wide gap in leadership? What can businesses do to bridge the gap?
Suggestions on how to close that gap include:
> Green teams: informal groups of people in a company organized around environmental issues and tasked with ways to promote business action in alignment with the corporate sustainability plan.
> Individual employee sustainability programs: personal employee commitments with the basic premise of translating corporate strategy into personal business sustainability action.
> Cross-Organizational Education: sponsor ongoing workshops, training, lunch and learns, and educational activities to educate both employees and management on the corporate programs and the individual efforts underway within the company.
Evidence has shown that stakeholder engagement, particularly employee engagement, is critical to a company’s ability to capitalize on internal eco awareness, innovation, and overall business sustainability. Start building the bridge today between your corporate sustainability vision and employee action.