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Organizational Change
New Survey Shows Urgent Demand for Employer Focus on Sustainability

WeSpire, the cloud-based engagement platform for engaging employees in environmental, social and other positive corporate initiatives, has released survey results regarding employee engagement trends in sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The State of Employee Engagement in Sustainability and CSR finds a widespread increase in engagement programs, a growing partnership between HR and sustainability initiatives, and a strong potential for workplace habits to foster permanent behavior change.

The survey is the third iteration in a series conducted to assess how organizations engage employees in sustainability efforts. Brighter Planet, a leader in sustainability technology and research that disbanded in 2013, conducted the two previous surveys in 2009 and 2011. WeSpire continued the study, which provides five-year trending data.

“The research shows that engaging employees in sustainability and responsibility initiatives is increasingly a core component of being an innovative, success-oriented company,“ WeSpire CEO & Founder Susan Hunt Stevens said. “We are especially fascinated by these findings around attracting and retaining talent, millennial appetite for mission-based leadership, and the key role of the workplace in driving overall actions and behavior change. These clear mandates are all addressed by WeSpire’s corporate engagement solution.“

Survey results showed that companies view employee recruitment and retention as one of the main purposes for sharing organizational sustainability efforts. Strong employee engagement programs attract new, young, talented millennial workers, and it follows that HR is increasingly seen as sustainability’s main advocate. In turn, the power of employee engagement to strengthen sustainability actions has bolstered the growing relationship between sustainability and HR.

The survey also showed that employee engagement policies on sustainability have been increasing significantly, as almost twice as many organizations have an official policy in place compared to those in 2011. This growth in sustainability has been largely driven by demand from millennials for purposeful, engaged work. Of the surveyed millennial workers, those defined as 30 years or younger, 55 percent wanted to see a change in their employer’s stance on employee sustainability efforts moving forward.

Finally, the survey emphasized the importance of the workplace in driving behavior change. Respondents overwhelmingly stated (89 percent) that they would try a sustainability tactic at home that was introduced at work, indicating the power of CSR initiatives to have lasting and far- reaching effects on employees. In addition, frequent promotion of sustainability programs increased employee engagement and improved the effectiveness of such measures.


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