Human Resource Outsourcing

HR for Sustainability: Paving the way for a greener future of work

In the face of global environmental challenges, eco-conscious practices are no longer limited to protecting the flora and fauna only. Businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainability and are striving to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt eco-friendly practices. However, sustainability at work has expanded beyond protecting the environment and complying with environmental regulations, it is now also all about employee wellbeing, productivity and an earnest effort to support a healthy work-life balance. By adopting practices that integrate environmental needs with social and economic aspects, organisations can boost their image and also fulfil the needs of a growing section of environmentally conscious consumers.

Sustainability has now become a critical part of an organisation’s working model and organisations that prioritise sustainability enjoy the benefits in the form of business success, cost savings and employee engagement. In the corporate world, the role of Human Resources (HR) has become crucial in driving sustainability initiatives within the workplace. In times ahead, such initiatives will not remain optional but become integral to organisational operations.

The link between HR and sustainability

HR plays a significant role in promoting sustainability within organisations, and HR professionals are leading the endeavour to design workplaces that aim to strike a balance and prioritise the physical and mental well-being of employees. In fact, sustainability is expected to play an important role in turning work culture into a more sustainable human-centric ecosystem. From recruitment to employee engagement and training, HR practices can directly impact an organisation's sustainability efforts. By integrating sustainability into HR practices, organisations can create a greener future of work while also engaging and empowering employees to contribute to a more sustainable world.

Sustainability in HR practices

  • Recruitment and onboarding: HR departments can incorporate sustainability into their recruitment process by seeking candidates who are aligned with the organisation's sustainability goals. During onboarding, new employees can be educated about the company's sustainability initiatives and encouraged to participate in them.
  • On the other hand, organisations can attract top talent by embracing sustainability. Candidates today are drawn to organisations that are socially and environmentally responsible.
  • Training and development: HR can provide training programs that focus on sustainability, such as educating employees about the importance of energy conservation, waste reduction and sustainable procurement practices. These programs can help employees understand how their actions contribute to the organisation's overall sustainability goals.
  • Employee engagement: A sustainable work culture has a positive impact on employee engagement and morale. When an organisation’s commitment to sustainability is sincere, the employees demonstrate loyalty and dedication. HR can engage employees in sustainability initiatives by organising volunteer activities, green teams or sustainability challenges. Such an environment increases job satisfaction, lowers turnover rates, improves employee well-being and creates an inclusive work culture. A happy and healthy workforce translates to motivated and collaborative teams.  
  • Performance management: HR can integrate sustainability goals into employee performance evaluations. By including sustainability metrics in performance assessments, employees are incentivized to contribute to the organisation's sustainability efforts.
  • Brand enhancement: Consumers today actively engage with brands that value sustainability. HR can play an important role in showcasing the organisation’s commitment to sustainable practices, nurturing partnerships with eco-friendly businesses and actively cultivating a reputation as a brand that supports and practises sustainable initiatives. Such a reputation strengthens the brand, attracts new customers, and boosts loyalty and credibility, all of which ultimately translate to higher sales.
  • Remote working model: Practices such as remote work, implementing efficient technologies and meeting virtually are all initiatives that support sustainability. Paper usage is reduced, commute time is eliminated, all sessions can be arranged online and in fact, discussions on sustainability can be integrated into team meetings. Not only can work efficiency and cost savings be enhanced, but a culture of awareness can also be created over virtual platforms.
  • Compliance and risks: By ensuring legal compliance and reducing risks associated with labour and environmental regulations, HR can boost the organisation’s reputation as one that supports and practises sustainability initiatives.

Integrating sustainability into the workday

Sustainability does not have to be a separate movement, it can be integrated smoothly into various HR functions and initiatives. Effective awareness campaigns that showcase the personal benefits of adopting sustainable practices are more likely to get results than discussing organisational benefits. Small steps such as using public transport, conserving water and energy, recycling products, installing energy-efficient heating and lighting systems, working with green vendors and conducting a carbon footprint audit are all efforts towards building a sustainable future. Organising activities to infuse some fun into an organisation’s sustainability efforts will attract more employees to change their habits. For example, encouraging employees to create and design services and products for the woke population would promote a culture of creativity.

Although certain sustainability initiatives involve investments in the beginning, in the long run, they reduce operational costs and enhance the bottom line. In addition, organisations that embrace sustainability have better chances of attracting investments. Many investors are constantly looking for organisations with robust environmental, social, and governance (ESG) credentials since such businesses have higher chances of providing long-term value while having lower exposure to risks.

Outsourced HR solutions for sustainability

Outsourcing HR functions can also contribute to sustainability efforts. HR outsourcing providers can help organisations streamline their processes, reduce paper waste through digital solutions and implement sustainable practices in HR operations.

As organisations increasingly prioritise sustainability, HR plays a vital role in driving these efforts forward. By integrating sustainability into HR practices, organisations can create a greener future of work while also engaging and empowering employees to contribute to a more sustainable world.

How can Infosys BPM help?

Infosys BPM’s Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO) Services are ideal for businesses that are on the lookout for a platform that offers outsourcing, consulting and technology solutions. Our customisable services are popular with a large client base in multiple industries. We leverage the strong bond between our HR outsourcing, technology and consulting practices to offer robust and well-tested HR functions to our global clients.

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