In September 2015, all the member states of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. This was part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This international program officially came into force on January 1st, 2016.
When the entire world is striving towards a more sustainable tomorrow, how can businesses remain behind?
Here are some suggestions on how can HR personnel help a business achieve economic, social, and environmental sustainability:
Have a social purpose:
At first, the HR team should work on creating the social purpose of the company. They should come up with what social goals the company wants to achieve and how the employees can be a part of it. For instance, the social purpose of Unilever is to strive towards sustainable living. Once the social purpose is clear, the code of conduct of the company can be built around it.
Conduct sustainable workplace practices:
Conduct work practices that align with the sustainability goals of the company. Also, make sure that appropriate business decisions are taken, keeping in mind the social purpose. Areas that require improvements must be addressed. A specially designed code of ethics should be formulated and communicated to all the employees. The workplace practices should also be reviewed from time to time so that they remain relevant.
Involve sustainability in all business processes:
HR individuals should make sure that sustainability remains an integral part of the overall recruitment system and the onboarding process. This can be done by discussing the sustainability goals of the company while the interview process is on. This would also help the company to know whether a particular candidate is environmentally aware and how he or she would be contributing to the attainment of the company goals.
Provide training and offer rewards:
After clearly mentioning how the company’s sustainability goals would have a real environmental impact, the HR team should communicate to the entire workforce regarding their contributions in achieving the said goals. For appropriate participation in the different sustainable practices, the employees should be given proper training. Along with extensive training programs, the company should also offer clear incentives to the employees as a token of appreciation.
Give volunteering opportunities:
A company should allow its employees to be part of different volunteer schemes. Various forms of community outreach services should be encouraged and supported by the company. The company should not dictate to the employees the cause and the way they would be offering social services. Rather, all employees should have complete freedom to volunteer for the cause they believe in and are passionate about.
Include all levels:
The HR department should try and include employees from all levels of the company. The entire company should take ownership and achieve the sustainability goals that it strongly believes in. This is important to ensure that there is diversity and parity and participation. Also, every worker should be allowed to contribute or suggest ideas that are relevant, appropriate, and coincide with the company’s sustainability goals.