Are your HR initiatives eco-friendly?

One expert says HR should play a major role in implementing environmental corporate policies

Are your HR initiatives eco-friendly?
Businesses around the world, big and small, are becoming more environmentally conscious and HR should play a major role, said author and teacher Shoeb Ahmad.

In his paper "Green Human Resource Management: Policies and practices", he wrote, “Green initiatives within HRM form part of wider programs of corporate social responsibility … They are the ones responsible for planning and executing those eco-friendly policies to create a green atmosphere.”

Putting green initiatives in place will help in the recruitment phase as recent surveys have shown that companies enjoying a reputation of being pro-environment have attracted high-quality new hires, reported Ahmad. 

Companies such as Siemens, Bayer, and The Rover Group carmaker have all used their intensive environmental policies to entice jobseekers in the past, with the latter even making a list of environmental responsibilities and qualifications mandatory in every job profile. 

Training and development
Ahmad argued that an organisation needs to encourage an employee’s continued education in technical and management skills in order “to facilitate the evolution of new set of skills and competencies among the employees of ‘pro green’ corporations”.

Additionally, the training will help motivate and empower employees to adopt environmental policies in their private lives, he said.

Performance management
Ahmad suggested adding a few behavioral and technical competencies in a company’s appraisal rating system. These include teamwork, collaboration, diversity, innovation, and environmental stewardship. “Such competencies would reinforce the company’s core values … and the needed feedback will help the employees to enhance their knowledge, skills, and ability,” he claimed.   

Green compensation
Ahmad describes this as the “most powerful method” that HR has in creating an environmentally conscious workplace. However, he does caution that this tool can also be easily manipulated, due to the difficulty in fairly and accurately judging the behavior of the employee. He suggested that instead of monetary rewards, companies can use “workplace and lifestyle benefits ranging from carbon credit offsets to free bicycles”.

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