How HR can help to forward sustainability in an organization

Last updated:
October 26, 2022
October 26, 2022
min read
Nikola Sekulic
sustainability in an organization
Table of contents

A strong corporate culture is crucial for every company because it influences how engaged your workers are and how long you can keep them.

Your job as a human resources professional is to shape your company's culture so that it can be sustained in the long run. 

Understanding your position and how you can improve your company's culture will help you establish a welcoming workplace environment.

Our current post-pandemic world reveals more and more remote and hybrid workplace trends, elevating the need for effective HR departments. HR needs to ensure that the company’s culture and community practices continuously adapt to remain inclusive and motivational. 

For that reason, we are going to see how HR can help to forward sustainability in an organization and carry out those duties. 

1. Define company's social purpose

HR teams should work with the leadership team to determine the company's social purpose and how you and other employees can work to achieve it together.

Once you've honed in on your social purpose, create a code of conduct for your company based on that purpose.

Many small business owners don't have the necessary HR resources to complete the HR-related duties efficiently. There are common HR automation examples in every industry, where businesses collaborate with software vendors to automate HR processes and boost their HR team productivity.

It's important to note that creating a social purpose for your company doesn't mean abandoning your other long-term objectives; it just means you have a focus.

2. Proactive culture consultant

The human resources department's job is to be an active organizational culture consultant for the company's executive team.

HR principals must examine and understand the present culture and develop a strategic culture plan that is aligned with the company's values and goals. You can leverage various learning management systems to create specific courses of action to keep your company up-to-date on cultural shifts.

HR’s main goal is to increase employee engagement and inspire them to take initiatives that will have a positive impact on the company environment.

HR must facilitate and collaborate with other senior leaders to improve and implement the plan.

3. Incorporate Sustainability in Each Process

Make sure your corporate sustainability goals are a part of the hiring and onboarding process. Your sustainability goals should be mentioned throughout the interviewing process.

This is a crucial consideration when looking for the proper cultural fit for your company. Your company's sustainability message should be included in your employer brand and leveraged to attract applicants.

Your company's goals and mission should be an integral part of your onboarding process, and each new hire should be aware of its importance. 

Introducing your corporate social responsibility to new employees is just as important as involving them in your business strategy. It is an essential element of your recruiting strategy.

When employees suggest methods to advance sustainability, HR should recognize it and reward them with incentives.


Want to know how build a sustainable employer branding for your company?

Read our tips here

4. Offer incentives

The company’s sustainability goals should be included in performance evaluations and included as a goal for employees with clear incentives.

Reward systems are an integral part of the employee recognition process. They not only result in demonstrable economic benefits, but also carry the message that your sustainability goals are just as essential as any other KPI.

HR professionals should reward each employee who implements new solutions and improves your business model. as well as their own competencies to complete the skills gaps they might have and increase their personal performance management.

Human resource management also implies caring about the well-being of your employees more than you care about the interest of your stakeholders. HR evaluates new employees from the onboarding moment, observes how their competencies have developed, and determines if they are contributors to sustainable practices in your business model.

5. Providing positive feedback 

You can determine the culture of a company based on how it feels when you walk through the door and interact with employees. It takes the whole community to create and maintain a strong company culture

The HR department reminds CEOs of how corporate choices are regarded. It is important to provide honest feedback while caring genuinely about the person in front of you.

It is vital that HR nurtures a positive culture and gives constant and positive feedback not only to executive teams, but to the whole company. 

6. Climate-friendly Changes

Climate change is one of the main challenges of our times, and perhaps the biggest one we’ve ever encountered as a society. Millennials often choose the direction of their professional development to support sustainable businesses and practices.

Improving sustainability can be done in many ways; one of them is making climate-friendly changes

Taking care of the environment should be a priority not only for individuals, but also for big corporate firms.

Implementing digital technologies and going paper-free benefits both your organization and the environment. Saving money on sheets of paper saves many trees and forests worldwide, and ultimately contributes to slowing down climate change.

Storing the company’s documents and all of the paperwork in secure, cloud-based software is more transparent and makes it easier for the organization to keep track of important documents. Instead of dealing with paper-based documents, employees can transfer files to a cloud-based server. 

If thinking about all the trees you’ll save doesn’t motivate you, imagine accessing all your important documents at the touch of a button rather than digging through stacks of paper!

The benefits of going digital extend far beyond paperwork. Instead of spending time and money on gas, hold an online meeting via webinar software; instead of distributing paper payslips, switch to an online payment system.


Looking for green initiatives for your organization to become more sustainable?

Find our examples here

7. Volunteering opportunities

HR teams should allow employees to participate in company volunteer programs, take time off to help charity, and recommend organizations or causes for support.

For instance, workers can take part in the global volunteer month each year when employees have the opportunity to volunteer for causes that are meaningful to them.

Facilitating these volunteer opportunities is a great way for HR to connect with employees by engaging with and supporting the things they value. It can also have a positive impact on employee retention and help you improve your HR workflow automation

Additionally, it allows HR to gather different perspectives and ideas from their employees, besides recommendations for volunteering. Workers can submit ideas to their managers, showcasing their ideas on improving the workplace and the environment.

For example, implement recycling boxes of all kinds inside your company.

8. Preach the values

Many companies say that the company culture matters and that employees are the most important thing in their organization.

However, these words are empty if the human resources team does not practice what the company preaches. 

The values a company preaches are vain without consistent and transparent follow-through. A company’s behavior proves the importance of workers by helping them navigate through any company culture transformation. 

A company's greatest advocate is someone positioned to make the most impact within the organization, and that is, without a doubt, the human resources team

HR leaders are the coaches that bring the team on board and help you develop a sustainable business.

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