Retaining Employees Through Nature

Retaining Employees Through Nature

A concern for the environment and creating awareness among employees is what Green HRM is all about.

Many years ago, when I heard about Green HRM, my first reaction was not very positive. I was of the view that HR cannot contribute much to the cause of sustainability, and more so, in the service industry. For me, it was more about manufacturing plants that use natural resources.


With the passage of time, I was lucky to gain awareness about this important aspect. I reached out to many HR professionals to be panellists for a discussion on Green HRM. It surprised me that there is insufficient awareness. The most common response was what can HR do more than saving paper, fuel etc., which is anyways minimised since everything is digitised amidst the pandemic induced work from home scenario.


It is a fact that HR plays a very important role in going green. HR can help create green mindsets and that is the biggest contribution. Within its own function, a lot can be achieved in HR.


HR can bring in policies, systems and processes that encourage green behaviour among people and help create a responsible organisation. An organisation that is conscious of sustainability challenges and is resource efficient.


Let us understand its importance. Sustainability cannot be achieved until it is supported by everyone, and the private sector too plays a very important role here. In order to continue with the sustainability journey, a push is needed from the top, and hence, leaders and HR must work hand in hand in such an endeavour.


HR should take the lead and start with their own function and create practices which can be hailed as exemplary. HR Operations is one such area which can be digitised and automated. This will be a great step towards environmental sustainability and also allow HR to focus on meaningful tasks. Additionally, it will positively impact employee experience. Besides, HR can promote a Green Mindset in the organisation through various means like creating awareness, highlighting its importance, right policies, making it a part of overall reward philosophy etc.


Let us look at some of these aspects and how these can be aligned with the sustainability goals.


• Recruitment: Green Human Resources Management is applicable even before hiring. It starts at the stage of Job Description (JD). JD indicates the intent. JD highlights whether sustainability is a priority or otherwise. This is an important aspect to attract talent. In today’s era, millions of millennials and Gen Zs are following Greta Thurnberg, and want to work for organisations which are socially sensitive and responsible, and this helps in talent attraction and employer branding


• Selection: During the selection process, due weightage must be given to the cause of sustainability and the candidates can be evaluated for their inclination towards sustainability must be asking the right questions. They can also be asked about certifications, if any. This will help can the right match and also indicate that the organisation is serious about this matter and values sustainability.


• HR Operations: Technology helps to digitise processes and reduce the usage of resources in HR operations and onboarding. Right from recruitment to leave and attendance management and information on salary benefits insurance etc. can be digitised to reduce carbon footprint and it will also improve employee experience.


• Performance management: Performance management helps improve professional skills of people so that they can feel fulfilled and help achieve organisations goals. When the sustainability criteria is introduced in performance management system, accountability improves.


One of the objectives of Green performance management is to create measurable outcomes of its environmental targets


The relevance of L & D


Learning and development plays a very important role and the salient aspects are highlighted below:–


• Awareness is the key when it comes to change and environmental goals are no different. Organisations should spread awareness through newsletters videos, discussion forums etc and help people understand the gravity of situation and also highlight how each action counts


• People should be trained on the processes and methods that help the environment and methods to optimize the 5 R’s; refuse, reduce, repair, reuse, and recycle should be introduced for both personal and professional lives


• Staff should be encouraged to apply these learning and thereby making both the organisation and world a sustainable place


• Efforts should be done to create environmental protection mindset and people should be encouraged to share this knowledge with the outside world and become sustainability ambassador


Rewards and Recognition


Rewards and recognition goes a long way in setting the right examples and when used wisely and based on merit, these can help create the right habits. Rewards can be monetary ones which are linked with directly linked with the sustainability goals. These can be in from of incentive bonuses salary increases etc. or these can be non-monetary like leave sabbaticals discounts etc. Once can also introduce recognition-based awards which can be spot award, public appreciation through LinkedIn or intranet or certificates or any other form of public appreciation.


The most important aspect of Green HRM is that it improves CSR practices, help reduce resources, enable cost-saving, to enhance employer brand and help reduce attrition. People love to be part of purpose drive organisations and it also creates opportunity for them to contribute directly towards these causes.


I will conclude by saying that green HRM is no more a choice but a must have in order to create a sustainable world and I will encourage my HR colleagues to make it a priority in 2022 and beyond.


Gauri Das is an engineer turned HR Professional with a keen interest in human psychology. She is a strategic HR leader with 15+ years of experience in developing and aligning HR strategy with business goals. She is a possibilitarian who works with business leaders and individuals to drive performance and improve capabilities.


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