Once considered almost as a by-product of a company’s sustainability strategy, employee engagement on sustainability is now a hot topic, recognized as a crucial driving force for delivering on that strategy. And persuading people to change requires engaging both the rational, analytical mind and the emotional heart.
At SustainAbility’s recent Engaging Stakeholders Program members’ workshops in New York City and London, we explored employee engagement by asking:
- How are leading companies motivating their employees to take action through practical guidance and compelling communications? In New York, Intel’s Suzanne Fallender updated us on Intel’s initiatives to make sustainability relevant to specific business functions and link it to compensation and professional objectives. In London, DSM’s Jacqueline van Zundert discussed the DSM Next initiative, a self-organizing global network of younger employees passionate about sustainability and business.
- How do we properly harness the power of language? Using language strategically to communicate and to persuade was a major thread of conversation throughout the workshop. For our employee engagement session, guest speaker John Marshall Roberts of Worldview Learning introduced us to a (literally) colorful way of thinking about the different ways people see the world, and designing targeted messages to suit.
John’s talk proved such a hit that we asked him to share his thinking with our broader network. Our illustrated interview features John in conversation with SustainAbility’s Patrin Watanatada on how to engage colleagues and stakeholders more effectively by putting yourself in their shoes – in other words, engagement through empathy.