Why Workforce Training is Essential for Enterprise Sustainability Success
As sustainability becomes a core strategic concern for businesses worldwide, the need for a competent workforce that can drive sustainability efforts is accelerating. Investing in talent development and upskilling employees in sustainability is no longer a "nice-to-have" but a "must-have" for businesses that want to achieve their sustainability goals and remain competitive in the market.
Implementing sustainability practices
The first reason that training and development is crucial for sustainable business success is that it enables organisations to implement sustainability initiatives effectively. Sustainable practices involve complex processes and technical knowledge that not every employee has. By investing in training and upskilling, companies can ensure that their workforce has the skills and knowledge necessary to implement sustainability practices successfully.
For example, American food giant General Mills has invested in sustainability training for its employees, resulting in a 13% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 16% reduction in energy consumption. Similarly, pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk provides sustainability training for all employees, which led to a 35% reduction in water consumption and a 34% reduction in CO2 emissions.
Not only that, but workforce sustainability competency can help companies achieve competitive advantage through innovation. As consumers become more environmentally and socially conscious, they are demanding that businesses operate in a sustainable manner. A workforce that is fluent in sustainability can help a company develop innovative products and services that meet these demands, and create a positive brand image that resonates with customers.
The automotive company Ford, for example, has integrated sustainability into its leadership development programs. Ford's sustainability training includes modules on climate change, energy and water conservation, and sustainable materials. This has helped the company develop a culture of sustainability and foster innovation in sustainable product design.
Engaging and retaining talent
Another benefit of upskilling the workforce on sustainability is increased employee engagement and retention. Providing opportunities for employees to develop sustainability skills and take part in sustainability initiatives can help foster a sense of purpose and pride in their work, leading to a more loyal and motivated workforce. In fact, 82% of employees in a 2022 Salesforce study reported a desire to help their company to operate more sustainably.
In addition to providing training and upskilling opportunities, businesses can also consider recruiting for sustainability roles and creating a sustainability talent pipeline. Companies like Interface, a global flooring manufacturer, have created a "sustainability ambassador" program to identify and train employees with a passion for sustainability, who then become key drivers of sustainability initiatives within the company.
In conclusion, workforce training and development is essential for sustainable business success. With a workforce that is equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to drive sustainability efforts, businesses can achieve their sustainability goals, increase innovation and efficiency, and retain top talent. So why wait? Start investing in your workforce today and take your business to the next level of sustainability success.