Creating an Employee Engagement AND Happiness Strategy
ESG Communication Strategy - Answering Your Questions!
HR professionals have lots of questions about ESG communication strategies - what are they? Why are they important? And how can you build one? We’re going to dive into detail to help you supercharge your ESG programme with a clear communication strategy.
Why is it important?
From our perspective, it’s really important to communicate your goals, your successes and potential stumbling blocks and shortcomings. Especially with your team. This will actually help to ensure the success of your programme.
We know that ESG has a wide range of benefits from impacting your bottom line, to improving retention and even increasing profits. However, a lot of these benefits rely on a positive impression of your programme within your workforce. You could invest a lot into your ESG program and not see the benefits if you’re not able to effectively share this with your team.
This is why having an effective communication strategy which shares an honest and transparent look at your ESG programme and really tells the story of your investment, is a vital part of developing your ESG strategy.
How to build your ESG communication strategy
Listen to your team. Taking the time to truly understand your colleagues’ hopes and reservations for your programme will help you to create a communication strategy that addresses their fears and expectations. It will also help you to understand where your team is, and what and how you will need to communicate with them to bring them along on the journey. If you’re able to break this data down by team or department, this may be invaluable. Because you’ll be able to recruit insiders to help spread your messaging and also bring feedback back to you.
Set clear expectations. Early on it’s really important to manage expectations. You want to be clear with what you want to achieve, where you see roadblocks and how you’re hoping to get there. It’s easy for employees to get carried away by the excitement of a new programme and not understand the limitations, which can lead to disappointments further down the road. You also want to lay out a bold vision that can inspire your team. This will help build buy-in and really inspire people to help do the work of making your ESG strategy come to life.
Identify potential risks to your strategy early. Understanding where there are risks can be invaluable. As we discussed, any ESG strategy will have roadblocks and limitations. You may know that time or money might be tight at a certain season, for example. Or a particular piece of work might require more environmental impact than others. Being aware of these and communicating this clearly will help ensure the success of your programme. This might be to your communication strategy as well. For example, certain teams might be worse at checking your intranet, prefer video updates to reading or only be able to communicate via mobile while out in the field. By identifying these risks, you can plan to mitigate them as much as possible.
Be honest and transparent. You will of course want to celebrate your successes, but you also need to communicate roadblocks and risks. Communicating as often as possible will help you to make the most of your programme. Not only will you buy goodwill with your team, but they may actually be able to offer solutions or strategies that you’d not thought of. By making communication two-way and open and honest, you’ll create an environment where feedback is welcomed and expected. This is beneficial to everyone.
Review your communication strategy. As with your ESG strategy, it’s important to take the time to see what’s working well and what’s not. Where you might want to add in more communications and where you may be spending effort that’s not paying off. By remaining flexible you can ensure that you’re getting the most out of your strategy.
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