When you think of sustainability in the workplace, onboarding probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But the new hire process is a great place to start when it comes to empowering employees to participate in a more environmentally-friendly future of work.
It’s during onboarding that HR can set the scene for new joiners, getting them onside with existing green initiatives and using their fresh perspective to identify future eco improvements.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a collection of 5 ways to go green with your onboarding process, so you can take your sustainability journey to the next level!
#1 Communicate your sustainability goals
You can’t expect your new hires to actively participate in your sustainability goals if you don’t communicate them. Be sure to clearly outline what efforts your organisation is making in the sustainability arena and outline how they can help.
Answer these questions:
- Does your organisation recycle?
- Does your organisation have an energy-saving scheme in place?
- Does your organisation offer compost facilities?
- Does your organisation offset its carbon emissions?
- Does your organisation participate in any external sustainability-related initiatives?
#2 Encourage the use of public transport and bicycles
Sometimes all it takes to encourage people to use alternative forms of transport is to make it easy. Try including detailed information on the best bike and public transport routes your employees can use to reach the office in your orientation pack.
If you want to go the extra mile, consider implementing a compensation scheme for those people who choose alternative forms of transport to reach the office - this could take the form of a transport card, or even a claim-back system.
#3 Save the trees - ditch the paper!
On average, an office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year, with 45% of that going in the garbage before the work day is done. That’s just under half a pine tree going to waste per person, every year.
Onboarding has traditionally been a paper-heavy process with its myriad of contracts, employee handbooks, and training manuals. So while it might seem like small fish, going paperless with your onboarding process can reduce the carbon footprint of your office.
#4 Get creative with your company swag
Company swag can be a great way to help onboardees feel welcome and appreciated in their new role. I mean, who doesn’t love a gift? The problem is that only 21% of promotional items like swag are held on to, the remaining 79% are either given away or end up in a landfill.
So with this in mind, try to get creative with your company swag. Here are two suggestions to cut down on waste:
Purchase environmentally-friendly swag
If you’re dead set on giving new hires a physical gift, try something from a producer committed to sustainability. The Merchery is committed to helping organisations “reduce their environmental footprint by providing customizable, sustainable products for their brand to shine in real life.”
Invest in an eco gift that keeps on giving
If you’ve got the budget, and you REALLY want to make an impression. Try gifting new hires a branded bike or scooter. It might seem like a big expense, but the gift of clean mobility is not only great for the environment, it’s also sure to boost employee health and loyalty, not to mention brand recognition as your newest team members zip all over the city showcasing your logo.
#5 Ask for suggestions for future sustainability initiatives
New hires can be an incredible source of fresh ideas, especially when it comes to sustainability. As newcomers to the organisation, they can look at your existing practices without bias to identify missed opportunities and areas for improvement.
Try setting up an anonymous mini-survey after a new hire has been with your organisation for a month or two to gather their unfiltered opinions on how you can improve your sustainability initiatives.
You never know, you may end up with a brilliant idea like retail giant Marks & Spencers ‘Shwopping’, which is purported to have stemmed from an employee's suggestion to introduce clothing donation bins in the chain's many UK stores.
Investing in sustainability is more than just a nice to have, it’s swiftly becoming a must-have.
Working for an organisation that values sustainability is a major drawcard for new hires, especially younger workers who almost unanimously believe that sustainability should be a standard business practice.
Starting with onboarding is only the beginning, but it’s a great place to start.
Our onboarding software balances experience and process to deliver an engaging new hire experience to remember.
Want to see how we do it? Book a no-obligation 15-minute call today with one of our team.