21 October 2010

Companies committed to green initiatives enjoy cheerful, dedicated employees

Snow White and a menagerie of incredibly domesticated forest animals discovered many decades ago that simply whistling while they worked was enough to pet a pep in their step and a smile on their collective faces. Remarkably, a bit of music was enough to inspire them to get the Seven Dwarfs’ home squeaky clean in record time! When it comes to working a nine-to-five job however, this technique isn't nearly as reliable. Whether you’re chained to a desk, forced to push paper or you regularly have to deal with the mind-numbing challenges of technology, humming the cheeriest of tunes can still sadly fail to drown out the predictable corporate monotony that ensues.

One significant issue is that very few of us are fortunate enough to land a job in our chosen field or at the very least, work with an organization that cares about more than the bottom line. According to a research project called “Business for the Greater Good” (conducted by the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business), a mere 25% of our workforce currently feels engaged and well over one half of employees don’t care about the work they do. If, however, people are able to work in a meaningful profession that does more than pay the bills, our society just might experience legitimate workplace contentment.

The research, headed by Notre Dame professor Ante Glavas, is still in the preliminary stages, but he’s found thus far that the performance rate of employees can increase by as much as 40% when they work for companies that adopt sustainability efforts. In fact, Glavas suggests that those who work for green companies are not only more productive and cheerful, they’re also more inclined to embrace a ‘pride-in-ownership’ mentality that is typically absent among employees working in mainstream operations.

The notion of conducting ‘business for the greater good’ has been explored repeatedly in recent years, with various studies determining that an increasing number of today’s employees want to ally themselves with companies that:
  • positively impact the environment
  • make a concerted effort to conserve energy and resources
  • embrace long-term sustainable goals
  • offer telecommuting opportunities
  • walk the green line through the implementation of eco-friendly upgrades

What it all boils down to is that today’s companies can truly care about the earth while concurrently making money, something that Johnson & Johnson, Yahoo, Nike and IBM have all proven in varying ways. Even smaller organizations continue to recognize the mood-altering benefit of extending unique green perks to their eco-minded employees, such as giving them access to free organic produce or extending financial incentives for greener forms of transportation. A little green can go a long way toward cultivating a committed corporate culture!

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
A dedicated green journalist and currently commissioned to write a comprehensive reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah Leigh hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/zoetnet