This is a guest post submitted by Jeriann Watkins.
Many people see HR as just another contributor to bureaucracy, but they can be an important part of building a company culture. A healthy HR department focuses on providing resources for employees and improving the company from the inside. Happy employees make a happy company, so when HR puts their resources into catering to employee needs, companies thrive.
HR can often serve as a communication point between upper management and production employees. If management wants to shift focus to certain company values, HR can provide insight on how to do so. Below are some ways that an HR department can help foster an environmentally friendly workplace environment.
HR is in a great position to talk with employees of all levels about every aspect of their job. Human Resource employees can interview staff about what their priorities are for the company. They can also ask specific questions of employees interested in improving the company’s environmental footprint. This can help them determine which initiatives will have the highest impact from the employee perspective. Some environmental initiatives that HR can help spearhead are
- Providing an opt-out for printed employee pay stubs
- Providing direct deposit instead of paper checks
- Switching company printers to soy based inks and partially recycled papers
- Providing recycling and compost bins for employee and customer use
- Proper disposal/recycling of old office equipment
- Hosting environmentally-focused events, both internal and public facing
To find other ways to foster an eco-friendly business environment and image, research what other companies are doing. This large format printer uses water-based soy inks, recycles printer cartridges, and reuses all of their cardboard boxes. They also recycle and donate computers when they’ve reached their lifespan. These are just a few options for companies with high printing output to reduce their environmental impact.
Once employee and company priorities are set, the Hr department can foster communication between different parties. This includes setting up meetings between departments to really establish goals and game plans. It can also involve contacting third parties like office equipment removal companies to come and properly dispose of old computers, printers, and other office equipment that shouldn’t end up in landfills.
Certain initiatives require some departments to change their process. Implementing recycling and compost requires a change in routine for the janitorial staff. Changing printer ink and paper requires the person who orders office supplies to order new products, possibly from a new supplier. HR is in the prime position to communicate these changes and provide the resources for everyone to make the necessary adjustments.
Point to Resources
Providing resources is essentially the primary function of HR. Depending on the environmental initiatives chosen for your company, HR can locate and provide resources to implement and promote each initiative. This can include approving marketing materials, checking that the people making changes have the information they need, and creating new procedures.
HR is usually the department with the most connections within a company. Every department talks with HR. This means that HR is in a great position to analyze progress. They can talk with employees whose workflows are affected and make sure that changes are being successfully implemented. They can look at expenditure changes and work with finance and other budget entities to pivot accordingly.
Are you in HR at a company looking to reduce their carbon footprint? What challenges or successes have you seen so far? Share in the comments!