I was very happy to be invited as the first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) communication specialist on the Schneider Electric MEA Go Green Podcast hosted by Alex Malouf. Being part of this podcast was a true joy as it is the first of its kind in the Middle East. When the episode went live, Paige Pope approached me and thanked me for the information shared. I asked what did she learn from the episode? Her answer was this blog. Thank you, Pope, and over to you.
Communique’s own Gihan Hyde recently discussed the importance of communicating sustainability with employees on the Schneider Electric MEA Go Green Podcast hosted by Alex Malouf. It can be a daunting prospect for internal communicators, and the essential takeaways provide an informed roadmap to shape your communication strategy.
Millennials are presently 40% of the global workforce, and by 2030 Gen Z will join them. Issuu Report together, these two generations will make up a disproportionate amount of the global talent pool, complete with a mission minded point of view on work.
To successfully communicate with this class of employees, internal communicators must understand:
- This generation will not stick around for long if a company’s values, purpose and its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) stories aren’t communicated.
- This generation wants to make a difference, and their loyalty rests with those values.
These employees are ready to talk about values and sustainability, and they are listening. But the unfortunate truth is that most companies just are not communicating with them to the desired extent about the desired topics.
Employees are historically under-engaged, and communication efforts and budgets are pushed externally while neglecting the most receptive impact force within the company, the employee. Engage your employees like they are a customer, consistently and transparently, and you’ll make the investment back threefold.
But when it comes to sustainability, if your company is not truly committed, not ready to be committed, or not ready to be challenged…press pause and collect. Don’t communicate about sustainability efforts until your company is ready to stand by sustainability. Employees, especially Millennials and Gen Z, want to question and engage. These employees have especially sharp noses when it comes to lip service and greenwashing. Legitimacy and authenticity are cornerstones of internal sustainability communication, and employees will be perceptive to the fit between your company’s expressed values and lived values.
So you’re ready to engage your employees like customers and share and live by your sustainability ethos and strategy. But how? Candidly, the technical part of sustainability communication is intimidating. It’s difficult and messy to communicate about climate change. But as storytellers and internal communicators, it is our job to empower our employees and share the sustainability vision. Start by becoming best friends with two departments: HR and Finance. Taken together, these departments can paint the whole picture, connect you to employee needs, and provide the financial clout and data to inject clarity and confidence into the strategy.
With the data and numbers in place, look to these six strategies to share your company’s sustainability commitments:
- Embed sustainability within the employee experience journey from the start (recruitment to offer acceptance)
- Make sustainability a core part of employee learning, development, and training
- Make sustainability actions visible within the company; do not just talk about it
- Make sustainability communication part of your core day-to-day messaging; do not silo it.
- Always humanize the message and relate it to your company purpose…and personalize, personalize, personalize!
- Listen to your employees and give them the chance through curated channels to speak up. Do not forget to celebrate the sustainability ideas and the stories they’ll share!