The business world can at times feel seemingly ruthless and money focused. There is a perception that companies’ exist with only one business goal: to make as much money as possible, no matter the cost. With executive bonuses and high salaries attracting much public criticism in the UK over the years, is it surprising there is a belief in some quarters that businesses are entirely self-serving?
That needn’t be the case. Companies can incentivise their workforce to be a power for good, and not only align their achievements to their business financial goals, but also those of evolving into a better business overall. From a young age individuals are made aware of their carbon footprint and encouraged to reduce, reuse, and recycle in an effort to minimise our impact on global emissions.
This behavior can be extended into the workplace with companies encouraging and incentivising employees to adopt more sustainable approaches in their work, to conserve energy, and save time. Furthermore as over a quarter of employees find money to be the best motivator, the addition of a financial reward can help drive results. Aviation is responsible for 12% of CO2 emissions, putting huge pressure on airlines to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
By employing monetary incentives, airlines can alter the behaviours of their pilots to use less fuel, and as a result reduce their carbon emissions. Not only does this save the airline money as in the cost of fuel, but it also demonstrates their efforts as a responsible business that rewards sustainable behaviours. Encouraging the workforce to be more responsible as a business isn’t the only way that they can be a force for good; the well-being of staff should be a business priority as well.
For instance, insurance group Aetna, pay their staff £225 a year to get a good night's sleep. The result of sleep deprivation in the US alone averages out at a loss 11.3 working days of productivity per year. If a business therefore can incentivise their employees to ensure that they are having a good night sleep and by tracking it, reward them for it, not only will staff be more rested, happier and productive, but the business will benefit too as a result.
Having a strong CSR programme has been revealed to offer significant benefits to a company’s financials and improves performance as a whole. Employees working for companies with CSR programmes have improved levels of employee satisfaction, whilst aiding the company to achieve its business and sustainable practice goals, and so rewards are a sensible consideration.
Incentives can be an extremely powerful tool for motivating workers and improving both productivity, and the quality of the business when used in the appropriate manner. When companies are creating their incentive and compensation plans, they should investigate creative ways to link them with not only the strategic business goals, but also those of being a sustainable business both for the world we live in, but also the well-being of the people that they employ.