Finnish designer Karoliina Korppoo knows that with more than half of the world living in cities we are increasingly urban. Her program “Cities: Skylines” can be used as both a game and n urban planning tool and her talks explores some of the cities that have been created — from futuristic places to incredibly realistic ideas.
We all know it’s important that employees feel engaged at work. A happy team member is more likely to be productive and stay committed to the company. In fact Gallup found that engaged teams have less turnover and absenteeism, along with 21% profitability and 17% higher productivity. Win-win, right?
But how do you get there? For some tips to strengthen your companies green initiatives and improve employee engagement, check out Anya Khalamayzer’s recent post Game on: 7 approaches to hack employee engagement which pulls together a bunch of tips from business who have committed to specific, strong values and subsequently seen their employee culture grow stronger.
One of the ways companies have found increased engagement is through the “butterfly effect” which CEO Susan Hunt Stevens explains as the actions of one person influencing another, causing social norms to change. Her company, WeSpire, works to encourage the impact of this effect in workplace networks as a way of inspiring employees to take action on recycling, water conservation and even safety and cyber security.
Another successful method some businesses have seen is top-down sustainability. Large corporations where those in high-level positions are encouraging sustainable efforts — or listening to their employees and clients desire for such changes — are seeing successful returns. As GM’s Jim DeLuca notes sustainable efforts can be easily be monitored and rewarded.
"We judge performance based on metrics like water usage and energy generation," he said, with every employee at every plant working to improve environmental performance. GM rewards employees who come up with sustainable — and cost-saving — ideas with monetary incentives up to $20,000.
"Sustainability impacts top-line growth, bottom-line results and risk," said DeLuca. Getting employees involved has helped the manufacturing business implement solutions such as reducing electricity use from lighting on factory floors and switching to recyclable bins instead of wooden pallets.
Another tip is encouraging your employees to step up to the challenge of embracing sustainability projects. For businesses like Citigroup, completing green LEED projects is incredibly important, but at the VERGE16 conference Steve Avadek, the director of sustainability for Citi Realty Services, noted that not only does the company have large sustainable goals, they also have smaller, more attainable in-house challenges. Their Drink Up program assesses how many plastic water bottles are saved by people refilling a bottle instead and the Step Up program tracks each department to see how often team members took the stairs instead of the elevator.
For more tips from companies who are making large and small efforts to encourage sustainability and engagement at the office, check out Khalamayzer’s post on GreenBiz. Your team will thank you.
Being assertive without being pushy or bossy (especially as a woman) can be exceptionally tricky. Check out these three strategies to help even the most tentative employee make sure her voice is heard.
1. Make a short, simple statement about the other person’s behavior and what you would like to see changed. In doing so you can (hopefully) get the other person’s attention while minimizing their defensiveness.
2. Explain how the behavior is impacting you negatively. This person may have no understanding that what they are saying/doing is affecting your day or project until you let them know.
3. Wrap up with a statement about your feelings. This may make your counterpart uncomfortable, but the reality of what your feeling should make your message more powerful.
These tips, while intended to be applied with a challenging colleague, may also help you make your voice heard while working with a client who is perhaps hesitant to take your advice about a sustainability plan. It’s important that along with being assertive about your plan, you also practice persuasion techniques to gain support for your efforts and in a lot of ways these tips align with being assertive.
Remember there are ways — even when you have heard a firm negative from a coworker, client or supervisor — to use persuasion to change minds, but as noted in Practice Persuasion Techniques to Get Your Sustainability Effort Launched this is not a one step process, either. If it were possible to present a single argument and change someone’s mind, wouldn’t life be a little easier?
In order to persuade your client to tackle the awesome sustainability plan you have created for them (or for a colleague to support your efforts in the workplace) you need to develop a counterargument to their strongest held positions. You also have to increase their exposure to supporting evidence for the new belief, provide information from multiple sources and address the emotional attachment — which is often the hardest part. It’s possible that the feeling of “being pushed in a corner” or a sense of being manipulated will cause a rebound where the individual instead doubles down on the original decision based on the discomfort of having their belief network shaken. Tread firmly, but don’t make it personal and don’t push too hard, too fast.
“What's key, at any rate, is to recognize that people's active resistance to efforts to change their mind doesn't mean that those efforts aren't working. Belief change is a war of attrition, not a search for the knock-down argument that gets someone to see things differently in one fell swoop,” said Art Markman, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas, Austin.
So remember, whether you aren’t feeling listened to in a team meeting or by a client who’s not embracing your sustainability plan for their office, you can make your voice be heard.