Five Earth Day Activities to Engage Employees

April 15, 2016
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An estimated 500 million people will participate in various Earth Day activities worldwide, so why not use it as an opportunity to strengthen camaraderie and tap into teamwork?  Several employee studies conclude that morale and employer confidence increase when businesses implement productive green initiatives.  Additionally, in many recent surveys, consumers have stated that they are more likely to do business with an eco-conscious company.

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Here are five ways to engage employees on Earth Day, which is on April 22nd.

Game on!  Dale Carnegie’s 21st Human Relations principle is, ‘Throw down a challenge.’  There are many ways to turn Earth Day into a co-worker competition.  For example, three companies in Texas broke the world record for collecting and shredding 11,920 pounds of paper in a 24-hour period.  Be creative in terms of team assemblies—match department against department or the Executive Team against individual department teams.  Consider launching a departmental old technology drive where employees can bring in broken or old computers, cell phones, printers and other devices.  The team with the most units wins.  Contact your local school board to see if the functioning equipment is needed or a computer recycling firm to retrieve everything.  You could also join worldwide movements such as Billion Acts of Green, or Earth Hour

Reform transportation for the day.  An ideal way to engage employees around an Earth Day initiative is to embrace small changes that make a big impact.  If budget and logistics allow for a transportation initiative, consider purchasing a bus ticket or pass for all employees on Earth Day.  Alternative initiatives that are economical include coordinating an office-wide car pool day or a biking competition.  The team, department or strategic business with the most participants could be awarded a prize.  For example, one organization presented an iPad to its greenest employee.

Extend a hand to the community.  Organizations that support or form partnerships with their local communities demonstrate stellar corporate citizenship.  Consider coordinating volunteer opportunities such as park clean-ups, recycling drives and composting projects.  On a larger scale, some companies assemble green teams to identify and implement green initiatives that will benefit the community.  In this case, Earth Day is a celebration of the culmination of all go-green steps taken throughout the year.

Establish conservation efforts.  Encourage employees to go-green as much as possible.  Small steps like being paper-free; turning lights off during lunch-time; choosing re-usable cups, mugs and food containers; and powering down computers, printers and other electronics during lunch-time are all easy ways to conserve Mother Earth’s precious resources on Earth Day.

Nurture the building.  Simple changes to the building’s interior can have a huge impact on energy savings.  Inspect lighting to see if there are any standard light bulbs and task employees with replacing them with compact fluorescent bulbs.  If the cleaning supplies being used are not green and non-toxic, replace them with safe, eco-friendly options.  Most companies already have recycling receptacles set up, however identify where any additional stations may be added.

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