While most of us know Earth Day as a day to celebrate planting trees, recycling, and the climate change movement, the first Earth Day held in 1970 marked the birth of modern environmental protection.
It might not seem like Earth Day has a lot to do with recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees, but it does. A 2020 Deloitte survey shows that climate change and protecting the environment remain the top concern among Gen Z and Millennials, and Glassdoor research supports this shift in employee sentiment, reporting that 75% of employees ages 18-34 expect their employer to take a stand on important issues such as climate change.
Another report also found that as much as 70% of employees stated that they are more likely to choose to work at a company with a strong environmental agenda, while 30% of respondents report having left a job due to the company's lack of a sustainability plan.
Celebrating Earth Day is one small way your company can show employees that you share the same values. Here are five ideas you can use to highlight your company's environmental efforts and spark conversations around the environment in the workplace:
- Join the global celebration. Beginning on April 20th, EarthDay.org is hosting a three-day digital climate action summit. Create time in the schedule or sponsor paid time off to allow employees to participate in this programming with group viewing parties (remote or in-person). Employees can also volunteer to participate and then share their experience with the rest of the company.
- Pledge to power down. Many knowledge workers are aware of the fact that it requires less energy to power up devices than to keep them running for extended periods of time. Help your organization contribute to the reduction of energy consumption by sponsoring an initiative for employees to power down devices whenever they plan to be away from their computer for more than two hours, including at the end of the day.
- Donate or e-cycle outdated devices. Are you one of the many organizations with a large number of devices in storage? Organize a company-wide effort to recycle old and outdated electronic products and components so they don't take up unnecessary space or end up in the trash. Many manufacturers offer take-back programs, including drop-off locations or free mailing labels, or you can donate equipment to local charities and schools.
- Gift employees with indoor plants. Working around plants can be beneficial to both physical and mental health. In fact, researchers who interviewed Amazon employees concluded that those whose office environment included indoor plants felt greater job satisfaction and more commitment to the organization. Consider sponsoring indoor greenery for employees in the office or at home with these recommendations from NASA:
• Boston Fern, which acts as a natural air humidifier and eliminates formaldehyde
• Peace Lily, which removes formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene, the three most common VOCs
• Aloe, which releases oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide
- Recognize your employees for taking action. Recognition is powerful, especially when it aligns with an employee's values. Use social media and other promotions to recognize your employees for their Earth-friendly behavior. Get even more results by making this a year-round program where employees can nominate each other for recognition.
Employer values build the employer brand
When employees see their values align with their employers', they feel more connected and invested in the success of the company. By demonstrating your company's commitment to helping make the workplace, and the world a better place, you'll strengthen your connection with your employees and your employer brand. Whether your celebration is part of a more extensive corporate responsibility program or a more grassroots effort, Earth Day is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate how environmental conservation, sustainability, and green initiatives are important to your organization.
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