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Workforce for Good: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability


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In a recent survey of senior sustainability leaders, 9 key principles emerged that appear to be common among successful programs:
1) Make it personal
2) Get buy-in from the top
3) Manage their engagement
4) Give opportunities for employee innovation and leadership
5) Align sustainability/CSR with corporate culture
6) Incorporate sustainability/CSR into business process
7) Use multiple channels of communication
8) Measure and track
9) Recognize/celebrate

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Published in: Business, Economy & Finance
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Workforce for Good: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability

  1. 1. Workforce for Good™ Employee Engagement in CSR / Sustainability Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte White Paper
  2. 2. CONTENTS Workforce for Good™ Employee Engagement in CSR / Sustainability Introduction 1-2 The Findings 3 - 13 Cautionary Tales from Leaders 14 - 15 Conclusion 16 Acknowledgements 17 Appendices 18 - 19 Authors 20 Please contact the authors if you wish to use all or part of the content within. Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved To contact the authors: Web: Email: Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION Employee engagement is one of the toughest and often most perplexing elements of sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts. The level of employee involvement and ownership is critical to the success of corporate sustainability and CSR efforts. Employees bridge the gap between the company’s sustainability/ CSR goals and the realization of those goals. It is the personal day-to-day commitment, decisions and actions of employees that direct the intelligence and resources of the largest companies in the world for the good of our planet, what we call a workforce for good™. In a series of interviews from January – March 2013, 17 leaders in sustainability and CSR in 12 Fortune level companies were interviewed with one purpose: to find out how they engage their employees in sustainability and CSR. This white paper showcases the findings of those interviews. The companies we interviewed represented diverse industries, from consumer and industrial goods to healthcare, financial services and consulting, and were predominantly Midwesternheadquartered global corporations. The responders all held considerable influence in their respective companies. Twelve of seventeen interviews were director level or higher; two interviews were with a corporate officer and one retired corporate officer who each reported directly to the CEO of their companies. The companies were primarily Fortune level companies, with thousands, tens of thousands and in one case, hundreds of thousands of employees. The companies are leaders in their industries, many of which have been recognized for their efforts in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. An interesting characteristic of our sample is that they are mostly legacy bricks-and-mortar companies who have survived and adapted through world wars, multiple economic recessions and the transition to a digital, connected, global economy. Most are over 100 years old with the median age of our sample companies being 92.5 years, and an average age of 96.7 years. These companies are evolving to respond to our current historical moment with a concern for environmental and social issues and opportunities. Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved Our research pool consisted of managers and senior executives of companies headquartered in the Midwest: American Family Insurance, Brady Corporation, Briggs and Stratton Corporation, Jones Lang LaSalle, MillerCoors, Rockwell Automation, and McDonald’s Corporation. Additionally, we interviewed directors at two manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, one with Frito-Lay North America (a Pepsico Company), and another with Patrick Cudahy (a Smithfield Foods Company). A leader on the CSR team at health care company Humana Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky and former CSR professionals from Marathon Oil Company were also interviewed. Seven were Fortune level companies, two (Patrick Cudahy and Frito-Lay North America) were subsidiaries of Fortune 100 companies, three were ranked in the Financial Times Global 500 and one company is not ranked in the Fortune 1000, but is an S&P 600 company. We wanted to find out what is actually happening and actually working on factory floors with machine operators, mechanics and engineers; in locally-based green teams operating within the framework of global enterprises; and in corporate headquarters by senior executives and front line staff. Our methodology was to conduct interviews with corporate practitioners “in the field,” at all levels, from different vantage points. We had one primary aim, which was to learn: How do you engage employees in sustainability and corporate social responsibility? What we got was very “Midwestern”— solid, practical, “nuts and bolts” information on how to engage employees in sustainability. Common themes emerged from the collective experience of the people we interviewed. In many ways, the principles and processes they used to engage employees in sustainability/CSR were not new. What these leaders did was skillfully, systematically and successfully apply established principles of their management experience to the goal of advancing sustainability in their organizations. Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 1
  4. 4. INTRODUCTION We identified the principles most common in the responses as representing the leading practices of this work in sustainability/CSR at this time. Hopefully, they provide a real-world, hands-on guide of how to do this well. These principles are: 1 Get Buy-in from the Top Manage Their Engagement 4 Give Opportunities for Employee Innovation & Leadership 5 Align Sustainability/CSR with Corporate Culture 6 Incorporate Sustainability/CSR into Business Process 7 Use Multiple Channels of Communication 8 Measure & Track 9 2 3 Make It Personal Recognize / Celebrate What was the strongest message that came through in the findings? It’s all about people. Underpinning all of the responses in our interviews was a focus on people. Those companies that were most successful in engaging employees demonstrated an active ownership role in sustainability/CSR at every level in the organization, from the most senior executive to managers to front line employees. Our data clearly pointed to this intentional focus on the human aspect of sustainability/CSR, and we underscore it here as a contribution to the existing knowledge base. 2 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  5. 5. THE FINDINGS 1 Make It Personal > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > An overarching theme common for our companies was making sustainability and corporate social responsibility personal. Connecting with employees’ personal values, passions and interests was essential in their employee engagement efforts. The more connected to personal values and passions a company was, the more likely their people would engage in corporate sustainability/CSR activities both in terms of overall understanding and daily actions. “When you engage people in a collective process it helps them define what social responsibility means to them individually. Synergy is created when their values merge with the values of the company. We don’t want to be telling people that they need to do this for McDonald’s. It needs to be something that they will do because they believe in it for themselves.” -Kathleen Bannan, McDonald’s Corporation Our sample companies creatively tied the sustainability/ CSR program to people’s personal lives, values and interests in a number of ways. Here’s how: They identified the people already committed to sustainability and made them champions. Every company we interviewed relied on champions with personal passion - from sponsors at both the executive level and staff and workers throughout the organization to implement their programs. “Here’s what I know to be true when you are finding champions: you have to understand who they are, what makes them tick and what their values are. The minute you can have that conversation, you will find a champion . . . If you can connect people personally to whatever it is you are doing, they will jump on the bandwagon.” -Amy Mifflin, Global Collaborations Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved Many of the companies we interviewed defined sustainability broadly to allow for wider appeal and participation. Their platforms often reflected a triple bottom line approach to sustainability/CSR, which includes opportunities for participation in social issues such as community involvement, diversity, and wellness, in addition to environmental sustainability initiatives. Companies were successful when they were able to create opportunities for employees to make a personal connection between sustainability/CSR and to something that mattered to them, personally: their health, their finances, their family, and their community. Companies also used personal examples from home to train employees on sustainable practices. These personal examples helped bridge sustainability at home to sustainability at work. Bringing It Home: The Action of Making Sustainability/CSR Personal “It’s just like at home,” said Carter Hanson, Environmental Coordinator at Patrick Cudahy, while he talked about his method for discussing sustainability in his training sessions for all employees. As a way to illustrate his point, he’d ask his audience, “When you left this morning did you leave the faucet running, the furnace cranked to 75, or the windows open? … Of course not!” While there may be an environmental concern component in the decision making process for employees, their choices boil down to economics and risks. The bottom line is this: it costs money when you waste water and energy. Carter went on to say, “…Spend the company’s money like you would your own. That is, everyone except Bob—his place is a mess.” (laughter) Taking a lighthearted and yet serious approach drives sustainability home and makes it personal. It creates a story that people remember and take to heart. Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 3
  6. 6. THE FINDINGS Here’s another great example of a bringing-it-home story even when you are abroad. This account comes from a CSR training expert, Amy Mifflin, who works in the extractive materials industries. In this trade, the early exploration and land assessment processes can be very intrusive to local land owners. When she trains the cowboy types, that tend to be these assessors, she shares the following story: “Keep in mind that if someone showed up in your backyard with a bulldozer, you would step outside on your patio with your gun and say, ‘You have exactly 10 seconds to get off my property!’ … Just because you are in another country and you’ve got access to this land does not negate the fact that they are community members and this is their (house, land, livestock, and livelihood).” When these assessors remembered this quick little story it cut down significantly on community complaints and errors in judgment. As Amy explained, “When people would get that, they would think about doing the right thing. Treat it as if it was your backyard. How would you feel if it was you?” Getting Grounded with Corporate Community Gardens: An Example of Local Engagement Community gardens are an exciting way to get people engaged in the community, build team work, and develop a connection with the earth. They are a growing trend in corporate engagement and a great way to “bring sustainability home,” with multiple benefits for participants: healthy eating with lower impact to the planet and a place to foster community connection. Two of our interviewed companies host staff/ 4 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper community gardens on their corporate campuses, Brady Corporation and American Family Insurance. These two companies have joined the growing urban agriculture movement in the Midwest. The Staff Garden, a community garden at the American Family Insurance national headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin is part of their overall sustainability and corporate citizenship efforts. It represents both a literal and figurative returning to the roots and engaging the community inside and out. (American Family Insurance started out 85 years ago.) It is known as a community garden because it promotes opportunities for employees to connect with each other, share seeds, stories, and gardening tips. It connects co-workers, their families, and the community. Last year, 380 pounds of fresh produce grown in the garden were donated to food pantries in the Madison area. Brady Corporation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has two 20x20 foot gardens onsite that are tended and cultivated by Brady volunteers. Growing Power, a Milwaukee urban agriculture non-profit, aided in establishing the corporate garden; they also established one at Kohl’s headquarters. Last year, the Brady garden generated 1,000 pounds of fresh produce that was harvested and donated to Family House Shelter, an inner city charity that makes on-site meals for guest families and delivers fresh food to other needy families. Milwaukee-based senior leaders at Brady have found that the garden is a useful and pragmatic starting place for teamwork development—quite literally, it provides grounding for their meetings. Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  7. 7. THE FINDINGS 2 Get Buy-in from the Top > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > “You’ll hear this from any company you talk to: if you’re going to make a commitment like this, it starts at the top.” - Bob Best, Jones Lang LaSalle Getting support and buy-in from executive leadership is critical to sustainability efforts. What does this mean? It means that the CEO and C-Suite of a company understand and prioritize sustainability and its strategic value to the business. Executive support allocates resources and establishes a corporate sustainability vision, strategy and goals, resulting in enterprise-wide implementation, innovation, and engagement. For sustainability, this can be the difference maker between a great sustainability strategy that is a corporate priority versus simply a sustainability project or program. “It has to start with the top. When you have a CEO and a senior leadership team [with] a strategy that’s committed to sustainability, as a person who’s in this department, that makes your life a lot easier.” -Kim Marotta, MillerCoors Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved You’ll hear this from any company you talk to: if you’re going to make a commitment like this, it starts at the top. That can mean a number of things. I’m going to tell you what it means here. Our new CEO, former CFO and COO, Lauralee Martin, is more than an advocate; she is a zealot. She was one of the first people in this company to become a LEED AP herself. She is a whirlwind, a green whirlwind. I’ve rarely been in any kind of a meeting with her when sustainability is not one of the things that she’s talking about. I think she believes in it for social reasons, but she’s absolutely convinced it’s the right business strategy. And that if we can stake out the position that I think we are getting to that nobody is greener than us, that is a great place for us to be, business-wise. There is nobody in this company that doesn’t know that this is at the top of Lauralee’s list of what she wants to see happen and so, we can get a lot done. -Bob Best, Jones Lang LaSalle Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 5
  8. 8. THE FINDINGS 3 Manage their Engagement >>>>>>>>>>>>> While employee engagement in sustainability/CSR is a challenging issue for many companies, the level of difficulty also depends on who their target audience is. You have “a pocket of people,” says Catherine McGlown, of Humana, who are truly passionate about CSR and sustainability and easily adopt and engage in it. The next layer of people may not be passionate, but are interested. They are the target audience for most employee engagement efforts. Then, there is the last category of people who are not passionate, nor particularly interested. An often missed element of employee engagement is employee management. This sentiment was addressed by so many of our interviewees, but none quite so concisely as Carter Hanson, who said, “Never forget: people do the work that you tell them to do... It’s their job.” If it is important to the company, make it important to the job. This is where managers can significantly impact employee engagement. Through their daily interactions with employees, managers drive sustainability/CSR throughout their organizations by managing, coaching, and inspiring front-line employees daily, on a person-to-person basis. One of the things managers and leaders tend to forget is that employees watch and listen to what their leaders say and do. They look for integrity and alignment. The most powerful message comes from managers whose actions demonstrate the company’s commitment to sustainability. “They pay attention to what you pay attention to as the leader,” says Tom Collins, Director of Capital Planning and Portfolio Management at MillerCoors. 6 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper Managers have a rich opportunity to translate to employees how their actions contribute to the fulfillment of corporate and individual employee goals. Regular feedback and open communication provide a touch-point for managers to seriously inquire and engage with their people. Day-to-day contact gives them a chance to ask, “What’s important here?” or “What’s going on here?” from a place of curiosity rather than accusation. This shows an employee: “My manager is truly interested in what I am doing, and, what I am doing matters.” “The biggest takeaway [we’ve learned about engaging employees] was being able to communicate to employees what needed to get done and why it was important. Once that was done, they went to work to figure out how to do it. We get lost in technology or technique and forget about the human aspect of it… For example, SABMiller’s breweries in South America which we visited were very good at taking metrics by the operators at the point of control. When a filler operator charts the metrics we’re interested in, it gives the opportunity for a leader — the person’s direct supervisor or plant manager — to have a conversation with the filler operator right on the floor about what’s important for our goals as they are talking about what’s on the chart. This non-verbal communication that what you’re doing is really important… it’s magical… It seems so obvious and simple, and it is so subtle and mysterious. In my opinion, it is the key driving activity that improves the entire process.” -Tom Collins, MillerCoors Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  9. 9. THE FINDINGS 4 Give Opportunities for Employee Innovation & Leadership > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > Ownership comes from opportunities to create something new, to innovate, to be a part of something, or to direct and lead a project, idea, and its implementation through to the end. Across the board, when the companies in our sample fostered employee innovation and employee leadership, their sustainability programs and their companies thrived. Employee innovation and leadership create ownership. All of our companies could point to concrete examples when and where employees created and owned sustainability wins. These took the form of leading green teams, getting a brewery to zero waste, steering a company sustainability platform, identifying big and small opportunities to conserve resources, or innovating new product design with the environment in mind. Interesting things start to happen when you allow the frontline employees to take ownership and lead the innovations. When employees come up with a money saving or sustainable idea, let them run with it. Allowing personal passion to thrive drives change in an organization. Tom Collins, in commenting about the leaps in sustainability that MillerCoors’ operations were making, spoke of collateral improvements as employees engaged in sustainability. Some of those collateral improvements included overall process improvement, quality improvement, system-wide cost reductions, an increase in morale, and productivity improvements. Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved “What am I most proud of? (Our team and company) creating an environment where people can create programs that are most impactful and important to them so they can honor the corporate responsibility of the company. For some, it will be reducing paper usage or energy efficiencies; for others, [it will be] taking the stairs rather than the elevator, recycling, vendors creating food plans that eliminate waste, or using compostable containers. They choose what makes sense to them and [what they] feel comfortable with rather than it being forced onto them.” -Catherine McGlown, Humana Inc. “I’ll give you an example. There’s a gentleman whose name is Kelly Harris, and he works within our brewery in Trenton. Just three years ago, he was really proud of our efforts among our breweries to recycle waste. We reused, recycled, at that time, more than 98 percent of our waste and were then up to 99 percent. But he looked around, and thought, ‘You know what? That’s good, but we can close this gap.’ And he said, ‘I can make Trenton (facility) the first zero-waste brewery within the MillerCoors system.’ And he sat down and he made it very simple to get people involved. Everything from color-coding to signage to looking at new opportunities. Within a relatively short timeframe, Trenton was zero waste. People were motivated and inspired and excited about that, and he challenged the other breweries within the system, and then he went and he worked with them. We now have four breweries that are zero-waste. And really, without exaggeration, (it is) because of Kelly. So that’s a person who is inspiring, motivating, and makes things happen.” -Kim Marotta, MillerCoors Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 7
  10. 10. THE FINDINGS 5 Align Sustainability/CSR with Corporate Culture > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > In the high-performing employee engagement companies that we interviewed, sustainability/CSR was in alignment with their core corporate culture. At Humana, their sustainability platform is “Healthy People, Healthy Planet, and Healthy Performance,” a platform which reflects their mission and is an expression of the triple bottom line. Catherine McGlown spoke about how easy it is to connect the dots between human health and well-being and a healthy planet. She said, “Focusing on the literal environment has a huge impact on wellness from air quality to bike paths to multigenerational playgrounds. The physical environment has a direct connection to one’s physical, mental, and spiritual health.” 8 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper Similarly, MillerCoors’ sustainability “brand” is “Great Beer, Great Responsibility™®” referencing both its long history of excellence and quality in beer making and now its strong commitment to performance in environmental and social responsibility. Its program is comprehensive in its approach, with five components addressing the company’s impacts and operations: responsibility, environmental stewardship, a sustainable supply chain, investments in people and communities, and ethics and transparency. Its program is implemented well, with concrete examples of measurable goals and accomplishments in all of these areas. Rockwell Automation, an award-winner for their ethics and safety programs, puts its existing culture to work in its sustainability efforts. Rockwell Automation is cleverly leveraging the peer-to-peer coaching that has already proven successful in their company’s mature safety culture and applying it to sustainability. People watch out for each other and coach and guide each other to do the right thing. It is positive social peer pressure, sustainability training, and employee engagement all at once. The trick is to educate the peers and focus their attention. Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  11. 11. THE FINDINGS 6 Incorporate Sustainability/CSR into Business Process > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > When sustainability was seen as a core value driver for their business, the companies in our sample figuratively put the stake in the ground: “We are committed to sustainability, not just because it is good for the environment, but because it is fundamentally good for our business.” “There’s a reason…it is part of our business. Sustainability and energy savings maybe five or six years ago was an interesting side note, when a lot of people were wondering, ‘Well, I wonder where the heck this is going to go?’ Where it’s gone is right to the core of real estate. Buildings use far more energy than any other segment of our society… So, buildings are a place where we can have an immense impact, and what our clients are realizing is that it’s really good business. If you can run a building much more efficiently from an energy standpoint, you can come out ahead financially. But what’s happening now is more and more tenants are saying to us, ‘We’d like to be in your building; how green are you?’ And the clients are saying to us, ‘So how green am I? I think you need to make me greener.’ … So we’ve actually decided that we will be the greenest commercial real estate company there is, in a measurable way. We’ve been on a five year program, and today we now have more LEED accredited professionals than any company in the world.” -Bob Best, Jones Lang LaSalle Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved “We look at the five key strategies for MillerCoors, and embracing sustainability is one of the top five strategies. For us, it’s not just about how people feel about the things we’re doing; it’s a company commitment, a company strategy, and a company vision. And we define that. It’s part of employees’ goals and roles, and really important to everything we do within the business. We believe that we’re successful if when you look at sustainability at our company they’re not saying that’s what that department does, but instead, that’s what the people of MillerCoors do.” -Kim Marotta, MillerCoors What does it mean for sustainability/CSR to be incorporated into the business? You know it when you see it in the daily operations; in the products and services they offer; in employees’ evaluation metrics; and when it is linked to profitability, performance, and innovation of the company. It is central to the business and becomes the lens through which business is done. In that respect, it is no different than implementing quality initiatives or continuous improvement; it gets embedded in operations. Rob Hendrickson from Frito-Lay North America continually references the company’s commitment to excellence in people and in process. Continuous improvement is a sustainability best practice. At Frito-Lay, they have learned that it is critical to bring the mechanics into the conversation at the start of process improvement. It is far less costly to involve them at the start of the process in order to avoid lost time, money, and energy as opposed to retrofitting, uninstalling, fixing, and/or rebuilding after the fact. Members of the company evaluate what the total impact of a change will be, and what the cascading effects will be on other elements within the system. This was echoed by all of the engineers we spoke with: sustainability implementation as continuous improvement. Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 9
  12. 12. THE FINDINGS 7 Use Multiple Channels of Communication > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > “This is the thing. I can sit in this office and come up with phenomenal ideas about sustainability all day long but it is in the translation of getting it out to the people—that’s where the rubber meets the road.” -Carter Hanson, Patrick Cudahy The companies we interviewed use a breadth of communication tools and media both online and offline to raise the visibility and awareness of their sustainability initiatives with their employees. Through consistent communication, employees learn about what the sustainability/CSR program is about, how they can participate, and why they should get involved. Typically, companies further along in their sustainability programs use greater numbers of channels of communication. These are the most common types of communication vehicles used in our sample: • Posted signage everywhere (bulletin boards, video screens, paper cups, printers, charts on the production floor, etc.) • Training / Education • Management Meetings (where a success story is highlighted, for example) • Earth Day and other high profile events • Volunteer Day • Online via intranet, social media, blogs, etc. Consider the audience and provide a good mix of communication. For example, not all employees work behind a computer screen. Where do your employees actually work? How do they learn? Humana raises the bar on considering the audience. During the month of November, their CSR month, they actively engage in a two-way dialogue; they ask their employees how they want to be engaged in CSR. To make communication personal, Frito-Lay Beloit’s newsletter connected the personal issue of taxes increasing by two percent to energy savings at home. Lisa Carroll, the Environmental Coordinator at Frito-Lay, communicates with all the plant employees about sustainability in numerous ways. One way is through their internal newsletter. As we interviewed Lisa in January of 2013 the income tax for the average worker went up approximately two percent due to cessation of the stimulus tax credit. She found a way to make sustainability personal and relevant by helping employees counterbalance that income loss. The topic of her December newsletter was on compensating at home for the tax increase by finding ways to decrease one’s personal energy bill (for example: turning off lights, switching to CLFs, and insulating water heaters). To make their sustainability messages stick, Jones Lang LaSalle has branded their sustainability employee engagement program internally: (This may only be effective in office settings, if the employees know about it and use it.) • • • • Newsletters Sustainability/CSR Reports Corporate Sustainability/CSR websites Lunch and Learns 10 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  13. 13. THE FINDINGS “One of things that we’ve done is we have tried to brand this ACT [A Cleaner Tomorrow] program visually, so that it just becomes sort of second nature to people. So we have the leaf branding. You’ll see it on coffee cups; you’ll see it on signage that we have by the light switches in our conference room…It says, ‘Stop, look at me; think about what you’re doing.’ You’ll see that same sign by our light switches in all of our conference rooms to remind people to turn off lights. We put it by monitors at desks to remind people to turn off their monitors when they go home for the night. We put it on copiers as a reminder for people when they go to the copier, [so they’ll think], ‘Do you really have to print this? If you really do, can you print it double-sided? Do you really need to print that in color?’ So it’s just all these messages that we have put out over the years. And the thought is that the first time somebody sees the leaf they say, ‘What is that?’ Then after that, it’s a trigger: ‘Oh yeah, ACT, that means sustainability, I’ve got to stop and think about what I’m doing’. We hope the red leaf makes all the messages stick.” -Chuck Kelly, Jones Lang LaSalle Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 11
  14. 14. THE FINDINGS 8 Measure & Track Progress >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> The adage, what gets measured gets done, was exemplified by the successful programs in our study. They tracked awareness, participation, and performance metrics. Attention and interest rise as sustainability/CSR practices are measured and tracked. Measuring sustainability on a personal scale gets results. Whether a company is using six sigma, TQM, or ISO 9000/14000/26000, their success comes down to measurement and tracking. When the outcomes of work are being measured and the quality and success of that is work is shown to be important by managers, leaders, and senior management, employees engage. MillerCoors uses SIC (Short Interval Control) to break down complicated processes into immediate and task-oriented measurements that provide nearly instantaneous feedback. These metrics are most effective when selected by front-line employees who work with specific issues on a day-to-day basis. A strong example of making sustainability personal and measuring is found at Frito-Lay North America, where, according to Rob Hendrickson, “engagement is an expectation of your job. . . employee engagement is a key performance measure defined as engagement outside the scope of your work every single month to drive results.” In fact, Frito-Lay holds one-to-one meetings between direct managers and employees every period to discuss, “What did you do last period beyond the scope of your work to drive results?” There are opportunities to integrate sustainability/CSR metrics for employee performance throughout an organization from improving packaging to reducing energy and waste, to human resources to operations to facilities management. Every employee can play a part. A Personable Way to Measure Briggs and Stratton’s Milwaukee facilities have taken an interesting approach to tracking participation in sustainability events and to keeping sustainability uppermost in mind throughout the year with their Green Team’s Sustainability Passport. The Passport is a handy, pocket-sized checklist of ideas and opportunities where employees can contribute to sustainability in their home, their neighborhood, and their work. The tool accomplishes several aspects of employee engagement best practices. 5) It celebrates an individual’s successes through a point system and gives rewards that relate to the company (power tools and products the company sells). 1) It makes sustainability personal by incorporating individualoriented actions that relate to home and work life with a full spectrum of topics (social, environmental, and economic). Key components: 2) It utilizes gamification/ competition to motivate individuals. • Uses a point system 3) It is broken down into trackable, measurable, and relatable action items. 4) It educates through multiple communication vehicles (such as linking to the company’s Sharepoint site, highlighting sustainability week activities, and encouraging further education and exploration). 12 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper • Developed by the local sustainability team • Utilizes iconographics for areas of sustainability • Highlights easy-to-attain, all at once opportunities (sustainability week activities) • Categories: sustainability at company education, sustainability education in general, community participation, personal (wellness), home (energy conservation) Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  15. 15. THE FINDINGS 9 Recognize and Celebrate > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > Celebrating success and recognizing individual and collective efforts for a job well done are hallmarks of our sample companies. Many of our companies distinguish themselves as best-inclass organizations and are recognized externally for their leadership in their own industries as well as in sustainability and corporate social responsibility. These company-wide accomplishments benchmark performance, are a point of pride, and reinforce a culture of corporate excellence. Similarly, internal recognition is something individuals can take personal pride in. It shows employees that their effort and conscientiousness are valued contributions to corporate success. Just as importantly, recognition initiatives provide a mechanism for companies to systematically seek out, identify, and point to outstanding examples of sustainability/CSR behaviors and practices among their employees. Individually and corporately, recognition can be a tool for improving performance and valuing people. Recognition of employees can take multiple forms, both tangible and intangible. Many of our companies reported their success stories in company newsletters, sustainability reports, and other media—in effect, telling their sustainability story through employees who bring their values and platform to life. MillerCoors recognizes employees every month for “being great and responsible” and features them in posters and stories across the business. At the manufacturing companies that we interviewed, employees are commended visibly for their actions with their names, and sometimes their photos, on TV screens and bulletin boards at the plants. Patrick Cudahy calls these “High Five” awards. Brady Corporation collects examples of sustainability excellence, shares them and asks employees to vote on their favorite ones, further encouraging employee engagement. Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved Recognition plays a meaningful and important role at McDonald’s. There are established, highly valued awards at every level within the organization, recognizing restaurant managers, owner operators and corporate staff for excellence in a very public and tangible way. In the area of sustainability, McDonald’s has employed this practice of recognition, along with two more aspects of its corporate culture—being both entrepreneurial and family-oriented—to fuel competitions to strive for ideas to move the business forward. As a company that always asks how they can do better tomorrow, McDonald’s has applied this mindset to recognizing “Planet Champions” in different areas of the world and to recognizing “Energy All Stars” in the US. Using the frame of a competition with the biennial “Best of Green,” employees come up with ideas for increasing energy efficiency or decreasing waste in restaurants, for example. The best ideas are recognized and the employees behind those ideas are held up as role models within the organization and given a monetary award. In the US, green teams in the corporate office and in some regional offices sponsor competitions with teams of five people who collect points based on actions they take to minimize their environmental footprint at home and at work. Frito-Lay provides a wonderful convergence of individual and collective recognition. In 2012, Frito-Lay’s Beloit plant received a national award from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Excellence Award. One of 11 recipients across the country, they were recognized for their reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Lisa Carroll, environmental coordinator, took two employees with her to Washington, D.C. who were involved in the efforts, to receive that award. A frequent winner of city, state and national awards for sustainability performance, Frito-Lay makes it a practice for employees who are instrumental in award-winning efforts to receive the awards on behalf of the company. Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 13
  16. 16. Cautionary Tales from Leaders One of the most rewarding and insightful parts of our research occurred when we asked participants if they wouldn’t mind sharing a key lesson in sustainability that they’ve learned along the way. We truly appreciate the courage and vulnerability these leaders shared when telling us these stories and our desire is that future sustainability leaders might learn from them. Loop in key players and potential players before implementing. One green leader shared this critical learning lesson. His green team had come up with an idea for a virtual food drive that would connect hundreds of pickup locations and create a better delivery system to food centers. After creating a website, communicating with the food pantries, and creating both a communication and action plan, he finally approached the community involvement/volunteer coordinator at his firm. His response was, “This isn’t environmental and (environmental issues) should be (the green team’s) focus.” The project got delayed, shelved, and eventually dismissed. This misstep outlines two key learnings: 1) By not involving this key player at the start, he inadvertently created a turf battle. 2) Even if a green team is gaining momentum, the corporate culture does not always understand the broader, systematic, or holistic nature of sustainability. In this case, it does create an organizational learning opportunity to understand the social dimension of sustainability. Let local leaders lead. All of the companies in our project have numerous bases of operation regionally or internationally. To a large degree, green teams, sustainability, and CSR initiatives varied from site to site and company to company. A repeated lesson learned in engaging multi-site, multi-regional operations was to allow the local teams to be the leaders and experts in terms of what programs worked best for them. Sometimes when the corporate green team or leadership came in with “the program,” it faced resistance and skepticism. However, when the local team was engaged by the corporate green team from the perspective of “What can corporate do to support you?,” their presence was well-received, even if there was “no budget” available, so to speak. (In younger sustainability/CSR initiatives it was common that the sustainability efforts operated without a budget, so the resources that they could provide were in the form of support, time, and logistics.) 14 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper “In our early engagement with regional offices we made a serious mis-step. We failed to identify and capture the local identity. We overstated the corporate agenda versus asking them what should be done and how corporate could assist them. That was a lesson learned.” -Briggs and Stratton, John Mourand Pace yourself and celebrate small wins. Sustainability and CSR programs can be small or large. The large capital programs take time, resources, research, and of course money and timing. We heard several stories about big projects that are or have been on the drawing boards and for one reason or another were put on hold. In the case of Patrick Cudahy, a neighborhood prank with fireworks burned down a third of their production facility, so a multi-year in-the-making project with an anaerobic digester system was put on hold and the opportunity was ultimately lost while the plant was rebuilt. If you don’t pace yourself as a leader and a team and celebrate the small wins, these pauses, setbacks, disappointments can bring your momentum to a halt. Pacing as well as communication about pacing can help dissipate potential disappointment amongst green teams and employees. Rob Hendrickson of Frito-Lay spoke to the rolling five-year strategic planning and budgeting cycle of their sustainability efforts. He commented that since it is impossible to do all the sustainability projects at once, you therefore need to spread them out with respect to their potential return on investment. Typically a project has a one to three year period from idea to implementation to return-on-performance cycle. So by having a rolling five-year planning cycle, you can show employees where a project is in its lifecycle. Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  17. 17. Cautionary Tales from Leaders Avoid too much communication. One of the learning lessons heard from many companies was a cautionary note about flooding employees with too many resources and/or too many programs/projects. As Catherine McGlown from Humana suggests, “Rally around one to two items at a time… Let them appreciate having a focus on a topic. Then, over time, as they build capacity, you can introduce additional ones.” Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved People are very busy. So when we share sustainability/CSR information via email or intranet for example, we understand it is quite possible that our employees won’t see it. What we are trying to do more and more is integrate the information that people need to get in standard business communications. Instead of having a standalone communication about CSR, Sustainability, or volunteering – we integrate it into orientation, training, performance measurements, and recognition. These types of tactics are proving more effective. -Kathleen Bannan, McDonald’s Corporation Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 15
  18. 18. CONCLUSION We set out to identify the current best practices in employee engagement in sustainability/CSR as applied at a variety of Fortune level companies in the Midwest. In our interviews, we found that the most successful employee engagement efforts include a diversity of methods to educate and engage employees. By making connections to employees’ personal interests and passions, the companies could solicit the support of those on the front lines and empower people to act sustainably. Using strong, visible support from executive leadership, the companies could employ their CSR efforts from the top down. Another important tactic involved utilizing direct management that takes a proactive role in managing employees to meet sustainability/CSR goals. In addition, it was critical for each company to align their practices with company culture, to offer consistent communication and varied ways to deliver that communication, and develop accurate tracking and measurement for sustainability/CSR results. Finally, providing recognition to employees for their accomplishments helped show them that their efforts are valued and are a critical part of corporate success. When all of these principles were present, they formed the basis of a focused, forward-thinking, corporate environment that clearly understands and realizes the business case for sustainability/CSR: attracting and retaining talent; reducing environmental footprint and costs; innovating products and services; and enhancing reputation and goodwill with all stakeholders. There’s nothing new here, and yet, it’s all new again. Management gurus from Deming to Peters to Senge to Collins address this core issue of people management as the key to success. It's all about people. Employees are integral to delivering on the brand promise of their companies. As public expectations are increasingly adding social and environmental values to the mix of how companies should behave, employee engagement in sustainability/CSR plays a critical role in company competitiveness, reputation, innovation and execution. When employees are engaged in sustainability and CSR, it shapes their thinking and their behavior, enabling their companies to come up with new ways to solve current business problems and create new opportunities. 16 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  19. 19. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We wish to thank all of the people and companies who accepted our invitation to participate in this project: American Family Insurance Evonne Steger, Associate Vice-President Business Integration Beth Churchill, LEED AP, Workplace Sustainability Specialist MillerCoors Kim Marotta, Vice-President of Corporate Social Responsibility Tom Collins, Director of Capital Planning and Portfolio Management Brady Corporation Steve Hasbrook, Director of Sustainability Rockwell Automation Majo Thurman, Director Environmental, Health, and Safety Briggs and Stratton John Mourand, Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability Patrick Cudahy Incorporated (a Smithfield Food, Inc. company) Carter Hanson, Environmental Coordinator, Utilities Frito-Lay North America (a division of PepsiCo) Rob Hendrickson, Director of Engineering and Maintenance Lisa Carroll, Environmental Coordinator Fortune 500 Company in IL who requested to be interviewed without being named specifically Humana Catherine McGlown, Corporate Social Responsibility Leader Jones Lang LaSalle Bob Best, Executive Vice-President Chuck Kelly, Sr. Vice-President McDonald’s Corporation Kathleen Bannan, Global Director of Sustainability Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved Marathon Oil Corporation Dan Sullenbarger, Retired Vice-President of Corporate Social Responsibility has advised this project and has given his insight on CSR programs in general. Global Collaborations Amy Mifflin, former Director of Community Relations of Marathon Oil Company was interviewed for the project; she is currently a principal at Global Collaborations and spoke about her experiences in the CSR program at Marathon. Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 17
  20. 20. Appendices Appendix A: Defining employee engagement “The definition is evolving,” says Kathleen Bannan of McDonald’s Corporation. We asked each of our participants how they would define Employee Engagement with respect to CSR/Sustainability, at their company. Here are some of the signature responses: • John Mourand of Briggs and Stratton had a simple and straightforward definition: “understanding sustainability and doing something about it.” • Evonne Steger shared American Family Insurance path of Corporate Citizenship. Workplace sustainability was defined as a “commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility while optimizing economic efficiencies.” • Steve Hasbrook of Brady Corporation sees employee engagement as having three distinct stages or levels. “The first level is: I know what Sustainability is. The second level is: I know what sustainability is at Brady and this is what we do at Brady. The third level is: This is what I’ve done at my job, for example, I’m in purchasing and here’s what I’ve done or I’m in Finance and this is what I’ve done.” • Carter Hanson of Patrick Cudahy had perhaps the most technically concise definition. Successful employee engagement in sustainability is “realized efficiency throughout the plant.” • Rob Hendrickson from Frito-Lay offered a definition which included discretionary effort: “Engagement, to me, is doing things outside the normal scope of work to help drive results.” 18 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper “I think the way we define (employee engagement) is evolving. Traditionally we considered employees engaged if they were informed, if they understand what our priorities were, where we’ve made progress, and where we want to be. If they saw an opportunity to do more, they would. They had the tools to be effective brand ambassadors for McDonald’s. We are now transitioning to a mindset of individual accountability. Every employee has accountability – regardless of their role, title, or geography – to help the company meet and exceed its CSR and Sustainability goals. It’s the collective efforts by all that drive results holistically.” -Kathleen Bannan, McDonald’s Corporation An emerging leading practice in employee engagement was reflected in the definitions by Bob Best and Chuck Kelly of Jones Lang LaSalle in having an impact beyond the workday and workplace: Employee engagement in sustainability starts with awareness and then expands to participation in programs and efforts that the company supports. But we’ve gone a bit beyond that; we’re also asking people to take it home. - Bob Best, Jones Lang LaSalle I think employee engagement in sustainability is an understanding of sustainability as it impacts your life. For us, it’s not just a workplace program, it’s asking, ‘What can we do here in the workplace to encourage people to be more sustainable in their everyday lives?’ -Chuck Kelly, Jones Lang LaSalle Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved
  21. 21. Appendices Appendix B: Interview questions We asked each of our responders the same 3 questions: • How do you define Employee Engagement with respect to CSR/Sustainability at your company? • What are you doing to engage employees in CSR/sustainability? • What has worked well at your organization? What has not? Appendix C: Further reading on employee engagement For further reading on employee engagement in sustainability, we recommend the following readings: • The Engaged Organization: Corporate Employee Environmental Education Survey and Case Study Findings; National Environmental Education Foundation and Green Biz Group March 2009. Based on a survey of more than 1300 professionals interested in business and environmental issues, this study examines and presents a thorough analysis of components of environmental and sustainability education programs as well as seven in-depth case studies of how leading companies are doing this. EngagedOrganization_03182009.pdf Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved • Toward Engagement 2.0: Creating a More Sustainable Company through Employee Engagement National; Environmental Education Foundation and Green Biz Group September 2011. This report focuses specifically on corporate culture and offers a model for creating a culture of sustainability through environmental and sustainability education and engagement. • Green Teams: Engaging Employees in Sustainability, A Green Biz Report; Deborah Fleischer, September 2009. This resource on utilizing green teams as a primary method of engaging employees in sustainability begins with the business case for green teams and paints a picture of a range of best practices along with concrete examples. green-teams-engaging-employees-sustainability • White Paper—Corporate Social Responsibility and Employee Engagement: Making the Connection; written by Bill Holland, commissioned by Rob Gross. This white paper offers a review of contemporary research in the area of employee engagement and in its relationship to corporate social responsibility. responsibility_white_paper.pdf Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper 19
  22. 22. AUTHORS Jocelyn Azada has worked with CSR/Sustainability practitioners since 2001. She’s currently the CEO of Promotional Product Solutions, a certified B-Corp company which helps customers tell their stories with effective, interesting and socially responsible promotional collateral. PPS’ customers include Harley-Davidson, MillerCoors, Marathon Oil Corporation and Dartmouth College. Prior to starting her company, she was a Sr. Research Analyst in the corporate social responsibility group of the largest denominational pension fund in the world, the pension fund of The United Methodist Church, with $14 billion of assets under management. She has a Master’s of Theological Studies (specializing in economic ethics) from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary on the campus of Northwestern University and has been published by John Wiley & Sons, the University of Indiana Press, Fortress Press, and socially responsible investing publications. Jocelyn Azada, Promotional Product Solutions, (800) 218-4350, Matthew Rochte, LEED AP has been working in sustainability/CSR and smart business since 1994. Matthew believes sustainability and CSR are fundamentally about smart business and innovation, and that they are most effective when they create value through cost reductions, strategic advantage, engagement, and increased sales. In the 90s, Matthew successfully ran and sold a triple-bottom-line (economic/social/environmental) manufacturing firm in Milwaukee. Since then, he has been on a mission to guide smart business leaders through CSR and sustainability. He works with business leaders to navigate the complexities of sustainability, to develop a plan, and to communicate and engage effectively both internally and externally. He has worked with large multinationals including McDonald’s Corporation to small manufacturing firms to international non-profits and NGOs. Matthew Rochte, Opportunity Sustainability, (414) 939-3594, To discuss the project, speaking engagements, or consulting contact us at: 20 Workforce for Good™: Employee Engagement in CSR/Sustainability | White Paper Copyright © 2013 Jocelyn Azada and Matthew Rochte All Rights Reserved