The UK government has made a commitment to ‘building back greener’ to transition to net zero emissions by 2050 with COP26 making decarbonisation a business imperative.
What is Green HR
Green HR is when HR focuses on expanding its roles and initiatives to support a business in its pursuit of sustainability. Policies must be in place to stimulate and support the sustainable use of resources to assist to preserve the environment. HR will need to develop environmentally friendly HR processes, practices and systems to support business commitments and initiatives in saving the environment. Training will need to be given to employees to ensure that they have a good understanding of the role that they play to meet targets and objectives set and what they individually need to do to reduce their environmental impact. Green HR must focus on the development and implementation of activities aimed at ensuring employees support and are committed to sustainable goals.
Advantages of Green HR Initiatives
The benefits of implementing Green HR process can include:
- Increased motivation
- Increased Engagement
- Increased Confidence
- Increase productivity
- Reduced employee turnover
- Employer of choice
Google, Honda, Starbucks, GE and IBM are all companies that have made vast efforts in implementing Green HR.
How to Implement Green HR Initiatives
Any green HR initiatives must align with the company’s sustainable goals. The Company must steer changes in the business to align together to become a sustainable business and to be able to incorporate everyone to implement and use in everyday business practices.
HR’s role in driving sustainability:
HR plays a big part in helping Companies become sustainable and ‘greener’ this involves implementing green things in areas including:
- Recruitment and selection
- By ensuring that the job descriptions detail and reflect all sustainability practices and requirements. Also, recruiters need to look at how they make the recruitment and selection methods more environmentally friendly.
- Considering what (if any) new roles need to be created to be able to support the green economy and business commitments.. There will be specialised roles relating to the specific industry/sector that is required but also employers may look at new roles to support their businesses such as sustainability managers, recycling operatives and green transport officers.
- Performance management – Look at having goals in place to allow assessment of performance against sustainability objectives and ways to link sustainability savings to reward and pay strategies.
- Learning and development
- Train all employees on environmental issues and things they can do to help, provide new employees with sustainability information during their induction to the business and ensure all employees are aware of how their roles and actions impact environmental issues.
- Understand and look into what government support is available for reskilling their existing employees.
- Leadership and engagement – All leaders within the business must act as role models for sustainability and ensure there is accountability within the Company.
- Employee Relations
- Reinforce strong positive relations between employer and employee
- Introduce a Green suggestion scheme, where employees can suggest and put forward ways in which they business can be more environmentally friendly.
- Flexibility & Work-Life Balance
- Recognise and support employees to be eco-friendlier outside of work also.
- Offer employees time off to volunteer for green initiatives or to attend conservation events.
- Communication and Digitalisation
- Ensure that all company communications are environmentally friendly, going paperless where ever they can, using emails and intranet pages rather than printing sheets or flyers.
- Encourage employees to only print emails and information where necessary.
- When conducting training look at emailing presentations out to employees rather than printing packs for each attendee.