In today’s world, sustainability is crucial to the longevity and success of your business.
Whether you like it or not, embracing sustainable practices and implementing new standards is expected, and if anything, now considered the new benchmark for business operations. Those who aren’t jumping on the sustainability bandwagon may be putting themselves in a tricky situation, and can soon see faults in their stride.
Consumers, more informed than ever, have higher expectations from the businesses they choose to engage with, and are now actively seeking companies and organisations that are take the extra step.
However, if you’re a small business, it can be challenging to not only embrace sustainability, but also get your employees on board. Not everyone is open to change, and when there’s a certain way of doing things, you might not even be open to change.
But we’re all aware the first steps are always the most difficult, and once you get the (sustainable) ball rolling, the benefits will outweigh the challenges.
Here are a few ways you can make your business more sustainable, and a few steps you can take to motivate your employees to embrace it as well.
- Conduct a sustainability audit.
Analyse where you can potentially alter practices or implement new systems to become more efficient and environmentally friendly. Considering electricity, paper and packaging use is a great place to start, and will help you create achievable and tangible sustainability goals. While changes in the operations side of the business have a high impact, changes in your company culture are also great. A small change like encouraging employees to use reusable coffee cups is extremely beneficial.
- Make it personal.
Changing your practices can be challenging and overwhelming, particularly if employees start to question the changes too. Making a connection and giving more purpose to the changes will enable you to take the steps with confidence. What will drive the changes? Is it the hope to make a positive impact environmentally? Save economically? Give back to the community? Having a clear ‘Why’, will help keep you on track and also help guide your employees.
- Be transparent.
Now that you can easily communicate why you are making the changes, keep the conversation flowing with your team members and customers. Involve your stakeholders and don’t be afraid to share the changes your making, the initiatives you’re taking, what you’ve achieved and the challenges. This will benefit your company culture and will allow you to further develop relationships with your clients. Being transparent will also hold you accountable and allow you to measure the success of the changes you’re making.
- Empower employees.
Sustainability isn’t just about ‘going-green’, but also involve positively contributing to the society that your business operates in. A branch of sustainability that focuses on giving back can give your business more purpose and help you support the community. This is a chance for you to involve and empower your employees and find out the causes they are passionate about. Making it personal for them and finding out what organisation they would like to support or conducting an activity or participating in events will not only get them on board, but inspire them to help you achieve your sustainability vision.
Remember, becoming more sustainable might not seem like the easiest thing to do at this point in time, but its benefits, for the present and the future, will strengthen your business and the relationships you have in your network.
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