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I'm working on an employee engagement project for a major client which requires a quite detailed literature review. While I endeavour to keep up to date with the latest thinking in practical terms, it is rare that I get to plunge into the murky depths of the academic literature. While ploughing through the peer-reviewed papers, it struck me that they tend to fall into two camps:

  1. Those that conclude that employee engagement is vital to the success of sustainability performance;
  2. Those that find that sustainability is a great way of getting employees engaged in a more general way with their employer with consequent financial benefits (some quote 18% more productive employees and 12% more customer loyalty).

These two form a nice virtuous circle – the more you engage, the better your sustainability programme, which gives you more opportunities to engage etc.

It also opens up a new case for employee engagement for sustainability. Instead of saying "I need £X,000 to engage our employees to meet our sustainability targets." you can say "Invest in £X,000 in our sustainability engagement and I will give you much more productive, effective employees, better business performance – and progress towards our sustainability targets."

For those of you struggling to persuade senior management to loosen the purse strings, this kind of argument might just tip the balance.

Update: As I read on, I've come across a third nexus between employee engagement and sustainability/CSR – those who see having engaged (read: happy) employees as a CSR goal in its own right. Interesting...

Image from Wikipedia.

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