What It Is
Training is a learning process that increases knowledge and sharpens skills, enhancing employee performance. Sustainability training helps improve staff and management’s knowledge of sustainability issues, as well as develop their skills for managing a company sustainably.
Like sustainability training, fostering workplace dialogue can also increase sustainability knowledge and skills in your organization. Workplace dialogue refers to a process of interaction through which employees and employers listen to each other’s ideas. Each makes a serious effort to understand the others’ concerns, even when disagreements persist.
Why It Matters
Ongoing training helps your organization improve decision making and problem solving, while also ensuring that organizational policies are carried out. Training and development can
- Increase productivity and team spirit
- Improve organizational culture and effectiveness
- Increase profitability
- Improve quality of work
Dialogue deepens understanding and judgment. It can occur in a safe, focused discussion when people exchange views freely and consider a variety of views. The process – democratic discussion among equals – is as important as the content, since it promotes camaraderie and the healthy exchange of ideas.
To get started, begin integrating sustainability topics into regular staff check-ins. For example, adding an agenda item to a staff meeting with updates from the internal Green Team or an announcement about monthly energy usage doesn’t take much time or effort, but can reinforce the value of sustainability in your organization’s work culture and serve as a great opportunity for awareness and education.
Consider having an employee or external expert share their expertise in a “lunch and learn” or other optional training format. Giving employees an opportunity to share their expertise can energize the workplace culture and promote an environment of learning.
Integrating key sustainability topics into employee training helps to solidify your organization’s commitment to sustainable practices and get employees on the same page. Share your organization’s sustainability mission, vision or values, and articulate how your organization lives out these values. Provide employees with guidance about how to live out those values is a way of developing shared language and expectations. As with any important activity, we recommend developing a plan. Consider the following questions:
- Which topics should be covered? Which are germane to your organization?
- Who should be involved in the training? We recommend that all staff receive some level of training.
- When should employees receive the training?
- Is it a one-time or ongoing training?
- Who should perform the training?
- Where can employees go for reference or additional information?
- Who should employees reach out to if they have questions?
- Are there any metrics you can share on an ongoing basis to help employees know whether goals or values are being met?
Although it may take effort up front to develop a sustainability training program for employees, your organization can gain tangible benefits from increased productivity via a more energized and engaged culture and cost savings.
Resources for Sustainability Training
Sustainability business training can help businesses increase profits and efficiency while becoming more environmentally and socially responsible. The following organizations offer sustainability business training: