by:  Allison Artnak, creative director, Buck Consultants, a Xerox Company

There has been a lot of buzz about Buck’s Greening of the American Workplace survey results, released last week.  Aside from the specific results, some organizations may be wondering if they should implement a green program.

While the economy is slowly recovering and we are beginning to see some job movement, now would be a great time to implement a green program for three reasons:

  • Green programs can reduce cost and have a positive impact on the bottom line.
  • Green programs reduce waste and have a positive impact on the environment.
  • Green programs help attract and retain talented employees, especially Gen Y or Millennials.

For most companies, initiating a green program requires a relatively small financial investment, including a dedicated resource and communication, to help educate employees, influence behavior and reward positive outcomes. Obvious areas of focus include reducing consumption (power, gas, water, paper) and travel (more conference calls/WebEx meetings and less travel). Companies can easily track return on investment by measuring consumption and travel cost savings. Companies may even want to consider tying green to performance, especially positions that heavily influence consumption.

So how do companies engage employees in green programs?

It starts not just with education, but also by making it personal. Who doesn’t want to save ~ $2,000 per year and put that money toward a great vacation or other things?

If we help people see how changes in their personal life will benefit the environment and put more money in their pocket, that new behavior will likely translate to the workplace. And of course, let’s not underestimate the important role of leadership and leading by example. Once changes begin taking place and more people participate, it becomes a matter of employees participating because their peers are participating. It’s a win for everybody!

Editor’s Note:

See other sustainability stories on this blog in our Environment category, and visit www.xerox.com/environment to learn about our rich history of environmental programs and practices