me to weWe have been projecting that millennials will change the world of work as we know it.  Work systems and management practices will become more respectful, collaborative and employee-centric with clear career paths and opportunities for employee enrichment.

These  mission-driven management systems are changing how leaders view employees as valuable contributors rather than an expense.

These are also values millennials have been taught in school along with the desire for work-life balance, tolerance for differences and socially responsible environmental sustainability.

Five-Year Trending Data Indicate Growing Millennial Influence

New research is shedding more light on this value system.  The good news is that if corporate expense line items track sustainability measures, this is a great opportunity to engage work teams in bonus programs such as gainsharing to bring cost savings and employee engagement to the forefront of everyone’s minds and wallets.

WeSpire, the cloud-based engagement platform for engaging employees in environmental, social and other positive corporate initiatives, released survey results regarding employee engagement trends in sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In the research report, The State of Employee Engagement in Sustainability and CSR, findings include a widespread increase in engagement programs, a growing partnership between Human Resources (HR) and sustainability initiatives, and a strong potential for workplace habits to foster permanent behavior change.

We know this to be true because the TIGERS Principles and supporting behaviors create permanent behavior change in a remarkably short period of time.

“The research shows that engaging employees in sustainability and responsibility initiatives is increasingly a core component of being an innovative, success-oriented company”

The survey is the third iteration in a series conducted to assess how organizations engage employees in sustainability efforts. Brighter Planet, a leader in sustainability technology and research that disbanded in 2013, conducted the two previous surveys in 2009 and 2011. WeSpire continued the study, which provides five-year trending data.

“The research shows that engaging employees in sustainability and responsibility initiatives is increasingly a core component of being an innovative, success-oriented company,” WeSpire CEO & Founder Susan Hunt Stevens said. “We are especially fascinated by these findings around attracting and retaining talent, millennial appetite for mission-based leadership, and the key role of the workplace in driving overall actions and behavior change. These clear mandates are all addressed by WeSpire’s corporate engagement solution.”

Survey results showed that companies view employee recruitment and retention as one of the main purposes for sharing organizational sustainability efforts. Strong employee engagement programs attract new, young, talented millennial workers, and it follows that HR is increasingly seen as sustainability’s main advocate. In turn, the power of employee engagement to strengthen sustainability actions has bolstered the growing relationship between sustainability and HR.

The survey also showed that employee engagement policies on sustainability have been increasing significantly, as almost twice as many organizations have an official policy in place compared to those in 2011. This growth in sustainability has been largely driven by demand from millennials for purposeful, engaged work. Of the surveyed millennial workers, those defined as 30 years or younger, 55% wanted to see a change in their employer’s stance on employee sustainability efforts moving forward.

Finally, the survey emphasized the importance of the workplace in driving behavior change. Respondents overwhelmingly stated (89%) that they would try a sustainability tactic at home that was introduced at work, indicating the power of CSR initiatives to have lasting and far-reaching effects on employees. In addition, frequent promotion of sustainability programs increased employee engagement and improved the effectiveness of such measures.

When we see research like this, we get really exciting. Not only does it promote potential collaboration for TIGERS Licensed Team Builders but it shows one additional way that teams can support productivity and organizational success.