As companies dial up their ESG communications to 10, it’s also vital they ramp up their listening skills. We share the eight questions your people will ask about your ESG activity… as they assess its true relevance and value to your business.
In a short space of time, ESG has morphed from a topic that businesses were cautious to comment on into one that almost every company feels it needs be able to talk about… credibly and authentically.
Looking at the rapidly rising tide of ESG media coverage, companies are concluding that a compelling ESG narrative is now an essential part of their social ‘licence to operate’.
Many employees would agree.
The data suggests it’s in your interests to do so.
A study in 2019 of 1,000 employees in large US businesses found that nearly 70% of respondents confirmed that a company’s sustainability plan would influence their decision to build a long term career there. In the same study, nearly half of respondents and three-quarters of millennials said they would accept a smaller salary to work for a company that was environmentally responsible.
But even more fundamentally, it’s a fact that the entire structure of your ESG programme – and your organisation’s ability to deliver it – hinges on your people’s engagement.
Yes - policy, structure, funding and process are all key to ESG success. But ultimately, your people – and the actions they take every day – are the real engine that will deliver ESG progress and success.
How your people feel – active co-creators or detached observers – will be deeply influenced by your answers to the following questions:
1. Purpose: How does our ESG programme link to our purpose as a business? Is there a clear connection between why we exist – and ESG?
2. Strategy: How does our overall ESG strategy link to the core business strategy? Specifically, how does ESG impact our bottom line?
3. Leadership: Does our Leadership team fully support ESG? Are they living our ESG programme day-to-day in their words and actions?
4. Sponsorship: Does our lead Sponsor of ESG have the profile to make ESG happen inside this business? Does he/ she have the connections, track-record and political standing to make this happen?
5. Metrics: How will we measure success of ESG? Are we picking the metrics that really count, that will challenge us a business, and will track genuine progress on ESG?
6. Benefits: How will our ESG programme benefit our clients, and the communities we touch? Specifically, What’s In It For Me?
7. Dialogue: How can I ask questions about our ESG programme? How will you empower me to ask the big questions – and how do I know I can trust the answers?
8. Co-creation: How will you help me to build and deliver our ESG offer? How will you engage my creativity and energy in helping to solve arguably the biggest challenge of our era?
Lansons has deep experience of building internal engagement programmes – and addressing these and other burning issues that matter to employees.