Business leaders increasingly recognize the crucial role employees play in driving and delivering sustainable business strategy. Companies are integrating sustainability into corporate culture and fostering “sustainable development capabilities.” But what does this mean in practice—how can companies inform, train, equip, direct, motivate and incentivize employees in a way that is aligned with sustainability principles and creating business value?
To address this challenge, the WBCSD's People Matter project is building a network of business experts to share experience and develop thought-leadership on talent, skills and sustainability. Part of the WBCSD's Business Role Focus Area with 60 companies and 15 regional networks as members, it is led by Dupont, Henkel, Holcim, Infosys, Kimberly Clark, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Business Initiative in South Africa. This project is building a bridge between sustainability professionals and those that deal with people and organizational development as explained by Suhas Apte, Vice President of Global Sustainability at Kimberly-Clark.
Aiming to highlight the strategic relevance of people in achieving sustainability, People Matter has bought together learning from within and outside WBCSD to articulate the business case and profile company experience. Alongside a series of seminars, we are producing a issue briefs to initiate discussions on how to engage and motivate employees, how to reward and recognize them and build their capacity to respond to the challenges of the future.
Topic 1: Engaging and Training Employees
“8 in 10 people who worked for a large company felt greater motivation and loyalty towards their jobs & companies the more socially responsible their employers became.”
How can sustainability be used as a strategy to increase employee morale and commitment, boost productivity and innovation and help companies embed sustainability across their operations? And how can companies provide employees with training for the right knowledge, skills and competencies to improve sustainability performance?
Topic 2: Reward: Aligning incentives for Sustainability
While recent research has shown that 29% of the largest listed companies in Europe are including ESG factors in their remuneration policies in some way, it remains a relatively new area of practice and one where debates are still playing out and practical approaches being trialed.
Recognition and reward are critical to attracting and retaining talent, incentivizing and rewarding appropriate performance and behavior. How can policies for recognition and reward essentially aim to overcome the principal-agent problem of how to align managers' interests to those of the corporation, and how to align short-term incentives towards long-term performance? Can they aim to link individual performance to the company's strategy and long-term value creation?