No Match Found
We've often heard the famous quote of management consultant and writer Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Sustainability strategies are no exception to this rule. A recent survey conducted by Strategy& showed "84% of respondents say cultural change is vital for sustainability transformations to succeed"
If employees’ values and behaviors do not align with your sustainability strategy, then real change will fail to come. After all, your sustainability transformation cannot be sustainable if the entire organisation does not embrace it and take ownership for it.
That leaves us with the question of how to get everyone on board. Since the key to success is a change in behavior, the practice of change management provides useful insights when faced with the opportunities and challenges of a sustainability transformation. A structured change management approach can help an organisation go from thinking to doing. Remember, it's as much about sustainability as it is about transformation.
To focus your change management efforts on the things that matter most, we look at three pillars: ‘engage me’, ‘equip me’ and ‘empower me’. We'll give you a whistle stop tour of what each pillar means here and then dive deeper into each pillar in the following blog series. It's good to note that these three pillars are not sequential but are revisited and reinforced throughout your sustainability transformation – and the starting point will be different for all, based on the maturity of your sustainability journey.
Figure: The three pillars of change management for sustainability transformations
‘Engage me’ is about taking your employees along on your sustainability journey. A key starting point is involving employees in the process rather than simply thrusting change upon them. You can do this through workshops on strategic sustainability priorities, using the brainpower of your organisation. Internal communication is also key to actively share your sustainability vision, approach and progress.
Don’t be afraid to get creative here to get people excited and involved, by moving away from emails and exploring concepts like gamification and nudging. At PwC we developed a virtual experience, the SDG Dome, where employees were inspired to think about sustainability, what it means to them and the impact that their decisions make.
‘Equip me’ relates to supplying the knowledge and skills needed to increase employees’ ability to bring sustainability to life in their day-to-day work. Think practical tools your employees need in order to know how they need to change. Sustainability transformations often bring the need for reskilling certain functions or roles, to prepare them for contributing to your sustainability goals.
For this you can establish a sustainability upskilling program that provides the practical knowledge your employees need to incorporate sustainability in their roles. For instance, clients we are working with train their Finance teams on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) requirements to ensure they can adhere to this upcoming regulation.
‘Empower me’ allows employees to ‘own’ the change and gives them the mandate to bring sustainability to life in their role. Leadership credibility, role modelling and guidance is a key ingredient for this. To get there, interactive leadership sessions can help to increase awareness around their role and its importance. After this, you need to activate leaders to share a clear tone from the top through, for example, roadshows or recurring team updates. Lastly, as part of this pillar it is important to celebrate success as well as reward exemplary behaviour, for example by establishing a ‘sustainability champion of the month’ award.
We understand that change of this magnitude isn't easy but getting started is key. So here are a few important tips to lay the foundations for your change management journey and set you up for success:
And remember, you're not seeking perfection but progress. Don't let the desire for perfection get in the way of getting started and learning by doing in your journey towards a more sustainable business.
Senior Manager, PwC Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)61 208 90 20
Senior Manager, PwC Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)68 302 05 72