As environmental and climate issues become increasingly pressing and polarizing, companies will be under mounting pressure to demonstrate how their business practices are socially responsible and sustainable.
No employer will be spared from scrutiny — by investors, consumers or the workforce — on how their actions impact the world.
This means corporate learning organizations will be front and center. Everyone — from C-suiters to frontline employees — will need to understand how their organization, supply chain and business practices are impacting society and what they can do to make them more sustainable and responsible.
Sustainability is part of the larger ESG movement; it stands for environmental, social, and corporate governance and involves evaluating the extent to which a corporation works on behalf of social goals that go beyond maximizing profits.
Brandon Hall Group Smartchoice® Preferred Provider NovoEd understands the importance of sustainability. Its collaborative learning platform provides organizations with the ability to weave knowledge, context and community together to drive understanding and action. This is critical because organizations must create common goals around sustainability and get buy-in for policies and behaviors that drive the culture change required.
Employers can’t just follow a checklist from a consultant to hit sustainability goals because few have done it. There aren’t cookie-cutter best practices. Building a culture of sustainability requires impactful, immersive, peer-oriented learning that compels all stakeholders to discuss, debate and collaborate to drive meaningful change.
It’s not enough for individuals to learn about sustainability. They must accept it as their responsibility as part of their commitment to the organization. And they must understand how to put it into practice every day. The same is necessary for more familiar strategies such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, coaching, and mentoring. Acceptance and change must occur across the enterprise.
Brandon Hall Group research shows that 55% of organizations believe social and collaborative learning technologies are important to address future-of-work requirements, and sustainability is certainly one of them.
Recently I talked to two organizations that have established employee resource groups around sustainability. Their missions include creating diverse virtual networks across all levels of the organization to learn about sustainability and build a culture focused on improving commitment and action.
These organizations have the right idea. Driving sustainability will require a compilation of technical know-how and influence up, down, and across the enterprise to execute on broad strategic initiatives. This is an undertaking best done from the ground up because today’s individual contributors and junior leaders will be the ones delivering the mandate over the next decades.
The best way to build that culture is through social and collaborative learning experiences that integrate hard skills with soft skills, culture, expectations and cross-functional innovation.
-Claude Werder, Senior VP and Principal HCM Analyst, Brandon Hall Group