The modern-day HR manager has devised a novel employee-engagement initiative that helps your company to achieve environmental sustainability. HR experts tell Yasmin Taj why they aren’t waiting for next year’s World Environment Day to accomplish that and are pursuing it on an ongoing basis
HR GOING GREEN
So, what is ‘Green HR’ all about and how is it gaining such impetus in recent times? According to Ashok Ramachandran, director-HR, Vodafone Essar Ltd., “Green human resources could very well imply using every employee touch point/interface to promote sustainable practices and increase employee awareness. It reflects the way an organisation chooses to drive and increase employee commitments and awareness on the issues of sustainability.”
“With corporates increasingly embracing sustainability policies and standards, it becomes absolutely imperative for the HR function of any organisation to first ingrain the workings of the concept in its processes and procedures, as it is the ‘seismic centre’ from where the change travels. Hence, emerges the concept of ‘Green HR’. Green HR is about focusing on recruiting, managing, giving direction to and finally retaining people while eliminating/reducing workplace inefficiencies. When a company decides to integrate sustainability with its business strategy, holistically, HR should stand up as the key participant in ensuring that employees become a part of this restructuring. And this can only be possible when HR ascertains that all employees are aware of how their roles contribute to the sustainability agenda,” Kamal Meattle, CEO, Paharpur Business Centre and Software Technology Incubator Park explains.
Anjana Nath, regional head -HR, Fortis Healthcare Ltd., expresses, “Green HR can be defined as environmentallyfriendly HR initiatives resulting in greater efficiencies, lower costs and better employee engagement. HR plays a key role as it creates awareness amongst employees and builds engagement, which in turn, helps organisations to operate in
an environmentallysustainable fashion.” Jyorden T Misra, founding member and managing director, Spearhead InterSearch further points out, “Ecoconsciousness or the colour ‘green’ is rapidly emerging in every dimension of our lives and workplaces are increasingly displaying an organised response to this challenge by bringing in ‘professional consciousness’ at an institutional level as well as individual employee level. Green HR is one which involves two essential elements: environmental-friendly HR practices and the preservation of knowledge capital. The HR of the organisation plays a major role in making environmental responsibility a part of an organisation’s mission statement.” HR PROMOTING GREEN
What are the various initiatives through which HR can help an organisation in preserving its environmental sustainability? “Green HR involves reducing your carbon footprint via less printing of paper and substituting emission-enhancing actions (example: air travel) by adopting technology applications constructively (video conferencing, conference-calls for meetings, interviews, etc.),” Misra informs. According to Ramachandran, organisations can have a payroll giving programme, which allows employees to donate to environmental causes of their choice. “We have a ‘Waste to Wealth’ recycling programme called ‘ReSolve’ where we encourage employees to segregate waste at their workstations. We have tiedup with various NGOs, who take this further and recycle it. This exercise is entirely managed and led by the company employees. Also, providing options for carpooling, working-from-home, increasing video conferencing facilities, etc. are all means to support organisational commitment to environmental preservation,” he avers.
Meattle expresses that HR can help the organisation to stay sustainable, primarily through initiatives like building awareness among employees and extensive trainings. “It’s important to involve employees in organisational policy revamps such as integrating sustainability with the company’s processes as they, really, are the change agents and bring about the desired transition. At Paharpur Business Centre (PBC), the HR team has an ‘environmental responsibility’ policy. The policy plays a significant role in inducing staff to adopt green measures, thus inculcating longterm values of saving energy and resources of the corporate for the humanity’s benefit in whole,” he shares.
Nath further shares, “HR can build cross-functional teams to come up with new innovative environmental-friendly implementable ideas. For example, we have our patient welfare team who ensures that all paediatric girl patients are gifted with a green sapling. This comes under our initiative of protecting girl child as well as preserving nature called ‘Nanhi Chaaon’.” HR MAKING A DIFFERENCE
So, what difference can HR bring to an organisation’s sustainability policies? “Prospects of reducing costs could eventually lead more businesses to adopt ‘greener’ ways of working. The benefits of going green, apart from contributing towards genuine environment health, also carries direct advantages in impacting the brand and bottom-line of an organisation,” explains Misra.
So, this certainly adds yet another feather on HR’s cap, as it takes on newer roles and in the process, proves how fruitful it can be to the growth of an organisation. So, go green!
OUR OPINION “The Way” GO GREEN
” Great article by Yasmin who give us new upgrade on upcoming HR People”