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86% of Employees Not Engaged By Companies’ Sustainability Programs

bpFirms seem to be talking the talk but not walking the walk when it comes to engaging their employees on sustainability initiatives. About 86 percent of respondents to a recent survey said they were not engaged by their employers on sustainability, even though the same amount – 86 percent – said that their organization promotes employee sustainability in some arena. Only 14 percent of the employees said they were aware of their companies having an employee sustainability engagement policy.

About 16 percent of respondents said their employer collects data related to employee sustainability, according to the “Employee Engagement Survey” (PDF) from Brighter Planet. The survey was handled by Saatchi & Saatchi.

Small organizations are taking the lead on employee sustainability engagement. The report finds that employers with 100 people or less are nearly twice as likely to promote sustainability “very frequently.” What’s more, their efforts are twice as likely to be effective at changing employee behavior.

The report found that the most effective engagement programs feature an organization’s management or board as the main advocate for employee sustainability. In fact, these programs have proven three times as effective as those in which an employee sustainability director was the main advocate.

Employees say they are generally dissatisfied with their employers’ sustainability engagement efforts.

Over 60 percent of respondents want to learn more about their employers’ and co-workers’ sustainability efforts. Another 67 percent are dissatisfied with their employer’s stance on sustainability and would like it changed.

While many organizations view sustainability programs as a potential competitive advantage, of those employers publicly sharing their sustainability efforts, 59 percent of respondents said it was done for sales and marketing purposes.

Another 46 percent said their companies shared sustainability efforts publicly as a means of employee recruitment and retention.

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