Corporate Citizenship and Green Workplaces

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Benefits of Corporate Citizenship

It is becoming increasingly important for organizations to focus time, effort and energy on corporate citizenship, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and going “green.” Why? Because corporate citizenship has many advantages, including increased employee morale, strengthened brand recognition and greater customer confidence.

Customers have a more positive image of companies that support a cause that they care about. Studies show that a majority of customers would switch to a brand that is associated with a good cause when price and quality are equal.

Being a good corporate citizen is not just important to customers. It is also important to employees. The vast majority of employees at companies with strong corporate citizenship programs feel an enhanced sense of loyalty. This results in more dedicated and engaged employees who work harder to help their organizations succeed. This also means reduced turnover  since your CSR  creates a more desirable organizational brand that talented job-seekers are interested in working for.

Generational Perspectives on Corporate Citizenship

From a generational perspective, there are a couple of key considerations when it comes to corporate citizenship.

There is generally a greater awareness by all four generations (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Ys) when it comes to an employer’s corporate social responsibility. There are also increased expectations that organizations will act responsibly and “green.” However, each generation looks at corporate social responsibility differently.

For Traditionalists, corporate social responsibility is a nice consideration after all other business factors are taken care of. For many Traditionalist (employers and employees), it was not at the forefront of their mindset when they were building their careers.

Baby Boomers view green initiatives and corporate citizenship as an important way to market to consumers. They see these programs as ways to differentiate their brand and to make sure that they are viewed as market leaders.

Gen Xers expect that their organizations show good corporate citizenship for the sake of the greater public good. They look at being responsible less as a way to benefit the bottom line and more because they believe it is the right thing to do.

Gen Ys take this one step further. They consider environmental issues and corporate social responsibility to be top of mind. For Gen Ys, green initiatives and corporate citizenship are “must haves” and not “nice to dos.” They expect their employers and the companies that they interact with, to be ethical corporate citizens and to care about the environment.

During the recruitment process, Gen Ys are increasingly inquiring about the environment policies of prospective employees. Being a good corporate citizen now impacts an organization’s ability to recruit high performing Gen Ys.

Gen Xers and Gen Ys also expect their employers to track and measure their corporate social responsibility efforts and to report this information to employees on a regular basis. They want to know that their employers are doing a great job and that they are holding themselves accountable.

Top Five Ways to Go Green at Work

There are several initiatives you can encourage employees to adopt, that will help the environment and save costs.  They are:

  1. Commute Smarter
    • Choose walking, cycling, public transit, carpooling and hybrid cars whenever possible.
    • Organizations can encourage employees to make greener transportation choices and employees themselves can make these decisions when possible.
  2. Save Energy
    • If you’re not using it, turn it off.
    • Enable energy saving settings on all equipment.
    • Unplug “energy vampires” such as cell phone chargers when not in use.
    • Plug equipment into power bars and turn those off as needed.
  3. Live Healthier
    • Eat local, organic and sustainable foods.
    • Get rid of toxic cleaners in office kitchens and bathrooms.
    • Add air-filtering plants to your workspace.
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevators.
  4. Waste less
    • Set “double sized” as the default setting on your printer(s) in order to save paper.
    • Go electronic instead of using hard copies.
    • Switch to cloth towels and napkins in kitchens and bathrooms.
  5. Conserve water
    • Ban bottled water.
    • Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge instead of running the tap.
    • Don’t pour water down the drain – use it to water plants.

Giselle Kovary

As president and co-founder of n-gen People Performance Inc., Giselle is dedicated to building strategies and programs that target, motivate and engage a multigenerational workforce. She is a sought after resource to industry leaders, having worked with 18 of the top Fortune 500 companies. Over 60,000 people globally have experienced an n-gen workshop or presentation. She has devoted more than fifteen years to researching the impact that generational differences have on organizational performance. Giselle has co-authored two books: Loyalty Unplugged: How to Get, Keep & Grow All Four Generations and Upgrade Now: 9 Advanced Leadership Skills. She has a Master’s degree in communication studies from the University of Windsor.

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