By late 2017, Spain was already established, with a total of 2 500, as the world leader in companies participating in the Corporate Social Responsibility Global Compact, whose objective is to contribute from the private sector to the improvement of economic, social and environmental conditions of the planet as a whole.

In these Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies, the engagement of the professionals within the company is crucial. That’s why, as EOI Business School professor Víctor Arroyo points out, the most suitable department to promote CSR within a company is HR.

In this sense, sustainable Team Building has emerged in recent years as one of the latest trends in order to engage employees to make their part in the role their companies have regarding key aspects such as, for instance, environmental protection, responsible use of natural resources and energy, solidarity with those most in need or egalitarian policies, among others.

According to C.B. Bhattacharya, director of the Sustainable Business Centre at the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin, leading companies “are successfully fosteringemployee commitment through their engagement in sustainability issues.

Sustainable Team Building strategies

This commitment of professionals to the CSR cause can be achieved through several strategies. Thus, Susan McPherson, vice chairwoman of Fenton, one of the most prestigious companies in the field of CSR and sustainability worldwide, bets on the following set of rules to implement sustainable Team Building:

  1. Ensure that messages related to good CSR and sustainability practices come across to every member of the staff, regardless their location, during the whole workday: it may well be a meeting room, a space allocated for employees to take a rest, or even parking zones.
  2. Take advantage of the possibilities offered by online communication.
  3. Provide professionals, from their very first day in the organization, with a comprehensive view of the company’s CSR plans.
  4. Circulate constant information among employees about breakthroughs made by the company regarding sustainability, and endeavour that they’re amenable to debate and discussion.
  5. Make effective and appropriate use of technology in order to disseminate the company’s CSR objectives.
  6. Achieve an alignment between the organization’s internal and external reputation so that messages regarding company’s commitment to meet CSR goals have credibility.                         
  7. Promote that the staff members compete in sustainability practices against other companies. It is advisable, even, to build that kind of rivalry among different departments of the company itself.
  8. Provide incentives to engage professionals in Corporate Social Responsibility policies.
  9. Acknowledge the commitment and creativity of those departments specially interested in CSR.
  10. Give teams liberty to organize activities or campaigns that contribute to greater engagement on the part of professionals with the cause.
  11. Make the big objective fun and of social nature, something that members of the staff feel is worth of a “thank you”: beyond the fact that CSR is an obligation within an organization, employees must receive recognition for their engagement.

Another strategy being implemented by many organizations is to make employees perform solidarity or environmental protection activities outside the workplace, or even during their free time. In fact, there are companies specialized in organizing this kind of events.

Benefits of sustainable Team Building are clear, in the eyes of professor Bhattacharya, who considers that committed employees “are happier and more productive”. But there are also other advantages, such as the improved external reputation of the company: a greater degree of loyalty on the part of the human capital towards the company; a better working atmosphere; and a higher talent attraction capability.

Sources: GreenBiz, Compromiso Empresarial and Universia.

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