Adapting environment-friendly practices within a company has become one of the most critical topics in the business world and sustainability. Especially in today’s situation where global warming is steadily rising, ‘Green’ practices should be adopted by companies starting from the heart of business: human resources.
There are many reasons why businesses should turn to Green HR management. Based on Green HRM study, Green HR in an organisation plays a significant part in shaping the culture of business sustainability. Green HR focuses on carbon footprint reduction by reducing the amount of usage of paper, allying with Low Carbon Technology (LCT), as well as reducing travel petrol and landfill unwanted materials. It is about the whole process of organisation related to HR practices, organisation sustainability, leadership and employee behaviour.
Green HR could also improve employee morale, attitude and behaviour to save the environment. As a result, employers could see an improvement in terms of retention in employees, public image, recruitment, productivity, sustainable use of resources, as well as rebates and tax benefits which increase business opportunities.
The concept of Green HR is related to all activities and practices that take part to improve, develop, implement and fix a system to a level of Green and environment friendly as the approach of working style. Green HR should also focus on transforming employees to environmentally green-friendly, behave and perform in a way of contributing to suitability from an environmental perspective.
Based on Douglas Renwick et al., Green HR practices include and highlight the following aspects:
This aspect targets all employees and leaders within organisations to implement an initiative that targets corporate environment, activities, projects and programmes. For instance, HR can do a program of ISO 14001, Low Carbon Technology (LCT), or environmental-friendly cleaner production.
Another practice HR can do is by shifting their recruitment to focus on hiring individuals who have Green initiatives. Renwick advised that HR could start hiring individuals who have previous experiences and are aware of practices with the Green environment. HR can also put job description and person specification that highlights a number of environmental protection related duties, tasks, specific clear responsibilities, and technical requirements.
In the onboarding program, HR should welcome the employees while employers should provide new employees with the information required regarding carbon footprint practices. This induction should be designed in an engaging way in order to embed the new employees to the Green culture.
Green HR practices can also be included in employee training and development, focusing on sharing knowledge, activities and skills that target to teach employees the ways of reducing all waste, organisation resources, LCT energy use, and other elements that can affect the environment negatively. Green training also gives the opportunity for employees to be more engaged in problem-solving related to the environment.
Renwick wrote that it is essential to measure the performance of each unit towered environmental performance standard. This action can embed the culture and will increase the value of environmental performance.
HR should recognise any contribution bundles tailored to reward employees’ Green skills acquisition and track achievements. Meanwhile, an employee’s compensation system should be considered financial recognition, such as salary increase, cash bonuses and intensive, and non-financial recognition, such as a giveaway, gifts for employees and their families, holidays and recognition by top management executives.
Last but not least, HR should as best as possible adapt Green HR tools for their workforce. Collaborating with HR vendors that strongly practice environmental-friendly processes or their environmental and social responsibility can also be a good move to support the environment.