Merely 16% of employees affirm that their respective organisations possess the requisite knowledge, mindset, and behaviours to foster a robust sustainability culture. Despite this, a significant 67% of employees prioritise sustainability-related issues, underlining the glaring disparity between aspiration and actual implementation within workplaces, said Gartner’s recent findings.
In a June 2023 survey encompassing nearly 3,500 employees, Gartner unravelled another concerning statistic: only 31% believe their organisations allocate resources to bolster environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals.
However, the potential benefits are noteworthy—a robust sustainability culture can amplify employee engagement by a substantial 43%.
At the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference in Sydney, Aaron McEwan, Vice President of Advisory in Gartner's HR practice, emphasised the pressing opportunity for HR leaders. "Building a stronger culture of sustainability holds the key to unlocking heightened employee engagement," he asserted.
Gartner's counsel to HR leaders is crystal clear: collaborate with managers to align employee perceptions with the essence and significance of sustainability. McEwan advocates for fostering a sense of belonging and care among employees, underpinning their connection to these ideals.
Bridging the gap: Driving employee alignment and connectedness
Gartner's 3Q23 Global Talent Monitor (GTM) data paints a disheartening picture, with only 9.2% of Australian employees acknowledging their organisation's stance or actions on environmental, social, or humanitarian issues.
McEwan stressed, "For HR leaders to cultivate a sustainable culture and harness the power of employee engagement, clear communication on sustainability goals is imperative." He further highlighted the importance of involving employees in shaping these objectives and initiatives.
Furthermore, Gartner proposes HR leaders disseminate sustainability definitions and goals widely across the organisation, empowering individuals to embrace the culture and actively participate.
Elevating managerial support for sustainability
Gartner's June 2023 survey sheds light on a concerning aspect: a mere 39% of employees believe their managers care about their professional aspirations linked to ESG matters. To bolster the sustainability culture, personal connections must transcend beyond individual contributions.
McEwan emphasised the critical role of managers in fostering engagement and advocated leveraging existing managerial skills to bolster sustainability initiatives.
Gartner urges HR leaders to equip managers to identify individual sustainability goals and foster a team environment conducive to skill advancement, thereby fortifying connections to organisational sustainability endeavours.
McEwan concluded, "When employees are integrated into their organization's sustainability fabric, the dividends are evident: heightened engagement, progress toward organizational goals, and an enriched employee experience."