If you're thinking about strategising an ESG project, setting a mission in motion and getting employees onboard for a new initiative, you might be scanning your search engine for some inspiration and wondering why it seems so hard to pin down what to do and how to go about it.
That's because ESG is a bit of a moveable feast. There are sites that make it all look really complicated, and some that simplify everything to the point of uselessness. Basically, there are 3 components to ESG and they have values attached to them (here's a useful article from the Values Institute). But....
because those values are open to interpretation, some people want to turn ESG into a political boxing ring like this guy ...
while others are sanguine about the role of ESG in corporate development and happily expand upon its attributes, although even here, advisories cease at the point where you've randomly banded together a "multidisciplinary committee"...
So before you go and explore links, which will get you no further, probably, than where you are already, let's think about the best way to go about this high-profile change management process and look at some options on a practical front.
You have a raft of switched-on employees eager to take part in positive initiatives. Find them, through a series of analytical fact-finders and foundation developments for all your employees (I can help with these). Then you're in a much better position to build a constructive "multidisciplinary committee" of people who reflect your mission and will actively promote it. Making the common mistake of throwing your management team into the deep end and expecting them to maintain momentum is where a lot of companies come unstuck, and it's very hard to come back from a lead-balloon introduction.
Look at the ESG values and establish where they fit into your organisation. Every company is different - some of this ground you'll already be covering, while some of it will be alien to everyone. Take those values that are already familiar and turn them into icons of best-practice. Promote them as such, with publicity and accolade, given that they are already in the remit and you are raising awareness of their presence in the working day. Focus on positives and resist any temptation to get everyone to 'toe the line' - that's only going to alienate and demoralise the very people you need on board.
Following some positive promotion, having laid foundations for continuous improvement, choose 2 or 3 initiatives that will be new to your company, and co-create a strategy (with time schedules to make sure important goals are reached) to implement actions that visibly support the values attached to them. Actions that work for you will be easy to follow and their reasoning will be well understood. (We can have a chat if you'd like some inspiration!)
Avoid doing too much too soon, or blasting your employee base with a list of new directives. Nothing is more offputting to an already-pressured workforce than having to consider what else you might be expecting of them. Successful ESG strategies are governed by chosen practices that the workforce adopt of their own free will, because they understand the benefits and they want to be part of an organisation that qualifies as Excellent on all counts.
From your modest, short-term strategy, study the feedback, successes and failures that arise from it, and analyse the lessons therein - while you are doing that, prioritise other values that as yet have not been brought into the picture. With the help of working parties that you will, by now, have set up to look at Environmental and Social aspects of company practice, schedule your further journey with timescales of implementation. Make it fun, include community aspirations (e.g. a sports team, a summer family day, a recreation room, a charity project), introduce change in bite-size chunks and allow autonomy to flourish as more people express an interest in getting involved.
Many CEOs, managers and supervisors are afraid of handing the reins to those they see as 'lesser people', for fear of relinquishing elements of power and enabling others to do a job they feel they should be doing themselves. This is another common mistake, borne of insecurity. And again, I can help you with that. Your vision of excellence is dependent upon alignment and engagement, which in turn are dependent upon autonomy and constructive communication.
Make a start this year on your quest for Excellence. ESG will help you get there, visibly and sustainably, if you go about it the right way. If you've tried before and all has fallen flat, that doesn't mean you can't try again from a new angle. Your employees, customers and stakeholders want your company to be an icon of best-practice and ethical management; it's hardly a stretch to say that more buyers are looking at these values from their suppliers now than ever before. Recruitment firms like Indeed and Michael Page are posting a plethora of articles on engagement because they know that you (their customer) will want to keep hold of the good people they are sending to work in your company, and they want to help you to tackle the endemic issue of high turnover. They want a good reputation just as much as you do.
So don't delay, get up today and smell the roses along with the coffee... ESG is a ready solution to many of the issues your company will face and your dedication to its values will increase profitability off the scale of expectation. The importance of employee engagement cannot be stressed enough, which is why so many reputable sources are shouting about it. Make it real - for you, your colleagues, customers and compatriots. You'll never look back from Excellence once you've tasted its many-splendoured rewards.
Find more useful advisories and insightful information on WorldLine's Page.
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