In recent times, the popularity of sustainable brands and products among consumers has become increasingly well-known, with a recent study from Nielsen bearing this out.
This study focused on the purchases of three of the most popular and fast-moving consumer goods, coffee, chocolate and bath products, with the results showing that items with credible sustainability claims generally outperformed those without in their respective categories.
Interestingly, there’s also growing evidence that sustainable brands are increasingly attractive to the UK’s emerging talent, with these employees seemingly more capable of engaging staff members and boosting their overall levels productivity.
We’ll explore this further below, while asking how sustainable brands are able to drive far greater employee performance over time.
Sustainability Creates a Sense of Pride That Impacts the Whole of the Business
Gallup’s gauge of employee engagement always offers a fascinating insight into the minds of workers, with a recent report suggesting that less than 35% of the American workforce are engaged at work.
There may be many reasons for this, but one of the most interesting factors may well be a lack of pride in the workplace. According to insight gathered by Facebook, pride is the single biggest driver of engagement in the workplace, and this is definitely something that can be generated by sustainable goals and concepts.
In this respect, pride is defined as being happy to be associated with a particular brand, from the colleagues who they work alongside every day to the impact that the company is having on the wider world.
This is something that needs to be cultivated and reinforced over time, and brands can achieve this by adopting sustainability practices that exceed the industry norms. This requires a consistent cultural drive, and a keen attention to detail that must be applied to every aspect of the business operation.
For example, companies that operate a business fleet should give careful consideration to the vehicles that they invest in, particularly in terms of their fuel efficiency and the composition of each individual car.
According to ALA, vehicles such as the BMW i3 are manufactured in a particularly sustainable way, with around 25% of its interior trims and panels made from renewable materials. So, by incorporating this type of car, you can subtly reinforce your green credentials and maintain a more consistent brand outlook.
Make no mistake; this type of approach can distinguish organisations from their rivals and create a credibly sustainable brand that inspires pride in those who represent it.
Sustainable Brands Care About Their Employees
If you look at high-pressure and solely profit-oriented businesses, you’ll see that employees are rarely treated as anything more than assets to be utilised.
The statistics from the U.S. continue to bear this out, with heath care expenditure nearly 50% greater for such firms than smaller or people-focused ventures.
In more general terms, up to 80% of workplace accidents are attributed to stress, and this is something that employees are increasingly aware of in the modern age.
In the case of sustainable brands, it’s fair to surmise that their focus on social causes and the long-term wellbeing of the planet hints at a far more caring outlook, and this completely changes the way in which employees perceive the companies that they work for.
Not only does this help sustainable brands to attract top talent, but it also makes employee retention far easier and reduces long-term operational costs over time.
On a fundamental level, the ability of a firm to showcase employee-driven sustainability initiatives also empowers individuals and places them at the heart of their efforts, creating an underlying sense of accountability and far greater levels of engagement and unity.
Such measures also reinforce the desire of a company to safeguard the wellbeing of both employees and their families, so it’s important to communicate such values clearly while ensuring they’re upheld consistently (and practically) over time.
Sustainability Connects Organisational Values to Those of Employees
Even in general terms, there is research which proves that a sense of synergy is created whenever companies match their own values to those of their employees.
This is particularly true when it comes to the concept of sustainability, as we’ve already discussed the fact that consumers are increasingly likely to prioritise green and eco-friendly brands over profit-driven competitors.
These customers are also employees, and with this in mind it’s clear that sustainable brands can leverage their organisational values to engage employees more effectively and increase productivity over time.
Once again, this impacts positively both in terms of attracting and retaining employees, while there’s no doubt that creating a unifying set of values also generates a unique sense of purpose that serves as a motivational tool for employees.
Of course, the key is for companies to break down their sustainability initiatives and translate these into specific organisational values, before taking steps to demonstrate these to existing and potential employees.
To achieve this, brands can create concise and clearly defined values that underpin individual sustainability actions, as this maintains a sense of authenticity that keeps like-minded colleagues engaged. Similarly, brands must take every opportunity to highlight their management’s commitment to sustainability, as this keeps employees focused and motivated to achieve specific goals.