Corporations are currently very interested in ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) considerations as it provides clarity on purpose and behaviours. But what does it actually mean for organisations’ culture? Tribe Lead Consultant, Ella NilaKanthi Ford, shares her thoughts…
Concepts similar to ESG have existed for some time. However, today with climate change advancing, calls for social justice and enforcement of human rights expanding across the globe plus increased scrutiny of corporate financial structures, consumers and investors are demanding that companies are more transparent and accountable for their global contributions.
Essentially, ESG considerations are a way to focus business leaders on the most important things for their people and communities. It’s an approach that allows organisations to measure their contributions to sustainable and ethical practises in a way that provides transparency to the market, financial benefits to the business and benchmarking for the industry.
ESG spans everything from employee benefits to recycling policies and can show commitment to your customers, investors, and business partners (as well as the planet).
How business operations impact the environment (and vice versa)
How an organisation’s operations affect its people and communities
How a company behaves
However, it is people that will enable this wider reporting and focus on ESG. So, the culture must change and leaders must behave in a way that supports the wider ESG messaging – whether it’s by using public transport or the recycling bin – to drive a positive culture. If they don’t, it will undermine their ESG credibility.
And if you want to drive a culture where people can speak up, what happens in practice when people actually do speak up?
If the ESG values resonate, people will likely stay at your organisation for longer and perform better too. Achieving ESG success can have significant benefits for an organisation including employee engagement and retention, stronger corporate reputation and better access to capital.
Many companies are taking ESG very seriously and are achieving considerable success including embarking on the requisite digital technology needed to capture every single piece of ESG information. The ultimate goal is to weave ESG considerations into your business so they become a fundamental part of your company culture. They can be a key driver for sustainable success and a competitive advantage. Regulators and investors are likely to look at your ESG values, opening a platform for positive dialogue.
While the principles of ESG have existed in one way or another for decades, the pieces for a defined approach to ESG have only recently fallen into place.
Since 2020, the insights gained from the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic have placed increasing pressure on organisations to integrate ESG principles into their long-term strategies to meet both financial and community-based goals. With a post-pandemic recovery in sight, organisations must focus on their ESG goals to meet the expectations of the new global reality.
This can only be achieved by connecting with your people on these issues but embedding culture change is never a quick win. It’s about winning hearts and minds and really connecting with people emotionally to create change.
By aligning all ESG values, you’re creating a strong organisational purpose and vision. Tribe’s Activate, Motivate, Cultivate three-element culture change approach creates a platform to engage the workforce and create a strong culture to achieve this.
By creating memorable experiences, the messages are more likely to stick and behaviours are nudged in the right direction – whether it’s by playing Giant Jenga, using immersive VR headsets, or via ‘Who Wants to be a Million Times Safer?’ – our take on the popular gameshow – if it’s sticky, it’s more likely to lead to culture change.
If you’d like to talk to us about reaching your ESG goals and changing you culture, contact us.