Earth Day began in 1970 in order to raise public awareness about pollution and is observed worldwide today. Perhaps you take actions daily to reduce your ecological footprint at home, however how about at work? Many businesses have implemented eco-friendly initiatives. In Texas, three companies once broke the world record for collecting and shredding 11,920 pounds of paper in a 24-hour period!
Each year, Earth Day is an ideal occasion to contemplate the far-reaching impacts of our habitual actions—and an opportunity to help make the planet more sustainable. Here are five activities to consider doing in honor of Earth Day on Saturday, April 22nd –and in order to drive employee engagement.
- E Setting up a small showcase is a great way to educate employees about their impact on the environment. Dale Carnegie’s 3rd Human Relations principle, ‘Arouse in the other person an eager want,’ can be accomplished simply by educating people. Hearing facts such as, “Switching to reusable cups enables companies to ultimately save millions of dollars and millions of pounds of trash,” can compel employees to bring their own cups to work instead of grabbing a disposable one a few times daily. Some companies organize Lunch and Learn talks, educational booths and even games. One organization brought in an electric car and charging stations for show-and-tell.
- A Dale Carnegie’s 9th principle, ‘Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely,’ underscores the importance of honoring ecological efforts from partners, employees, clients, etc. One organization awarded an iPad to its greenest employee while another presents an annual award to its greenest business partner.
- R Another way to make employees feel important and therefore drive engagement is to facilitate inter-office competitions and reward ceremonies. Great Forest, for example, has organized successful company-wide recycling competitions by pitting one floor or department against another. The sky is the limit in terms of the types of competitions worth hosting. In an effort to encourage employees to visit their internal sustainability website, Marsh & McLennan once organized a haiku contest looking for budding poets. Regardless of your organization’s budget, design a recognition program that complements sustainability efforts big and small.
- Take action. Volunteerism is often tied to employee engagement programs. Consider organizing an activity that impacts your local community such as a major recycling initiative; park clean-up or composting project; tree-planting activity or anything that will help to reduce the area’s ecological footprint. Many companies encourage employees to participate in worldwide movements such as Billion Acts of Green, or Earth Hour. More than 2,000 Sprint employees came out one Earth Day to recycle and learn about all things green from more than 50 eco-friendly exhibitors.
- H If the cause is dear to you, however you are too short on time to organize a major Earth Day event this year, partner with another organization to support their efforts. This is a great way for suppliers and manufacturers, for example, to unite in support of a worthy cause.