Ways companies can effectively communicate ESG initiatives to internal stakeholders
In today's socially conscious world, organizations are becoming increasingly conscious about their ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) communication. A robust ESG strategy may protect a company's long-term performance and this realization has been apparent among investors and corporate leaders as well as employees. Today, about two-thirds of millennials evaluate a company’s social and environmental commitments when determining their job opportunities. As employees focus on more meaningful work to make a difference, the lack of ESG policies may become a dealbreaker. In a recent study, 32% of employees said they were critical about their company cutting its sustainability budget. Another 35% said they would consider quitting their current employers if their company took no action to reduce carbon emissions1. Thus, proper ESG implementation can not only unleash employee potential, but also help in retaining the best people, and boost employee motivation. Companies can dive deeper and take quick action by combining talented manpower with technology, thereby tackling today’s challenges and grabbing tomorrow's opportunities.
While industry benchmarks in some sectors show that nearly 100% of companies have definite sustainability strategies but only 40% have adequate internal knowledge and capabilities to achieve their targets2. And that’s where internal communications take center stage as it has the capacity to make a substantial impact on environmental and social issues by making communications 'comprehensible' and actions 'doable' for all employees.
Here are some of the tips to effectively communicate ESG initiatives to internal stakeholders:3,4,5
Choose the right channel: Understanding which communication channels to use can be crucial for receiving maximum engagement. Employ existing internal communication channels like intranet portals, newsletters, internal social media platforms, and company-wide emails to share regular updates on ESG initiatives. By analyzing analytics that indicates which channels have more engagement, you can adopt a more targeted communication strategy.
Consistency: It is important to integrate your messaging with your company’s brand. Create a clear and concise proposal that defines the company's ESG goals, strategies, and key messages. The internal messaging must be consistent with external communications.
Focus on your uniqueness: Since ESG is a significant factor for employee retention, it's critical to consider how your company is different and unique from rivals when it comes to addressing the issues that are important for your employees. Identify the aspects of your ESG strategy that are exclusive to your company and communicate these to your employees regularly.
Endorsement from the top: Like most initiatives and strategies, leadership support and commitment are crucial for the success and effectiveness of ESG initiatives. When leaders endorse and highlight ESG, it sends a clear message to the entire organization about its importance. Their involvement will lend authenticity and motivate employees to engage with ESG efforts.
Training and workshops: Every ESG strategy's success depends on its workforce. ESG provides a comprehensive understanding of significant environmental, social, and governance issues that affect the business. Conduct training sessions and workshops to educate employees about the company's ESG initiatives. These sessions can cover the basics of ESG, the company's specific goals, and how employees can contribute to achieving them.
Employee engagement programs: Encourage employees to become ESG champions by organizing engagement programs such as volunteering activities, sustainability challenges, or employee resource groups. Recognize and incentivize the contributions of employees who actively uphold ESG goals.
Effective communication of ESG initiatives to internal stakeholders is fundamental for promoting a culture of sustainability, social responsibility, and ethical governance within organizations. By employing clear and concise messaging, companies can foster a more sustainable, resilient, and socially responsible future.