A Roadmap: Creating a Successful Environmental Employee Engagement Program

By: Paula Luu | November 24, 2014

When TD Bank set out to create an environmental employee engagement (EEE) program two years ago, there was no roadmap for how to get there. One year later – through a test and learn process involving broad consultation – the bank has built the support from senior leadership needed to scale the new EEE program across the organization and deliver company-wide results.

Increasingly, companies are beginning to recognize that when their workforce is engaged in the environment, there are important business benefits. In fact, 40% of companies across industries have EEE programs in place to integrate the environment into their culture and processes.

Environmental leaders across sectors are hungry for new tools to help navigate the challenges of engaging employees and members in the environment. To address that need, TD Bank, the Environmental Defense Fund Climate Corps, and BrownFlynn have just released the Environmental Employee Engagement Roadmap, a how-to guide for organizations seeking to create, scale up, and enhance an EEE program. The Roadmap highlights the value of sharing perspectives and working together to solve environmental challenges.

A successful EEE program not only creates passionate employees who take pride in working for a company that shares their values, but also it can increase employee productivity and retention, attract new employees, deepen customer relationships, motivate employees to reduce cost, and stimulate innovation. However, the benefits reach beyond the bottom line.

TD Bank – which shared lessons learned after launching its EEE program in partnership with Net Impact and GreenBiz last year – understands the full spectrum of benefits firsthand. “Beyond delivering just business results, a successful environmental employee engagement program can have a multiplier effect, transforming many employees into environmental champions and stewards at work, home, and in our world at large,” said Joe Doolan, Head of Environmental Affairs for TD Bank.

Of course, with every plan, there are some foundational building blocks that are needed to get from Point A to Point B: a detailed execution plan, senior executive support, and links to human resources, which are needed to impact culture, to name a few. The Roadmap shows how to build this out and plan each phase in a step-by-step manner.

“No company can realize ambitious environmental goals without engaging its employees,” said Victoria Mills, Managing Director EDF Climate Corps. "The Roadmap provides a simple, accessible approach to a complex subject, and by tying engagement initiatives directly to business goals, dramatically increases the likelihood of their implementation.”

The Roadmap breaks down the process of creating an EEE program into three phases, supported by a strong foundation of environmental commitment:

Phase 1: Set goals and milestones

The company’s first step is to define the key business goal(s) of the EEE program and work backwards to define quantitative performance metrics to measure progress.

Phase 2: Recruit for your goals

This phase starts by articulating the different levels of engagement, from “inactive” to “transformed.” A company can use this approach to systematically accelerate employee engagement by motivating large numbers of employees to complete a specific task with measureable outcomes.

Phase 3: Have your recruits recruit

This approach accelerates a journey designed to transform employees into environmental leaders. As they are inspired to deliver more results, they naturally ask their customers, families, and communities to join them. Harness their enthusiasm to achieve business and environmental results.

The beauty of linking environmental employee engagement to business goals enables EEE programs to reach and inspire large numbers people, not just employees. “The Roadmap approach can extend beyond a company’s fence-line,” said Margie Flynn, Principal and Co-Founder, BrownFlynn. “Companies interested in engaging customers and government, nonprofit, and academic organizations seeking to engage citizens can implement the Roadmap to drive change.”

Engagement transforms people, and the benefits spill over to support the environment and business. Tools like the Environmental Employee Engagement Roadmap help organizations execute EEE programs with excellence, maintain momentum, and empower impact leaders.

Download the Roadmap


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Paula Luu

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