What does a Net Zero organisational culture really look like? Part Two
Asa Don Brown calls communication “the lifeblood of an organisation”. That’s why my second blog about Net Zero Culture describes three hallmarks of a great Net Zero communication culture in the workplace:
1. It tells it like it is
Net Zero communication is straight-talking about the urgency of the issues. Quotations or video clips from the most trusted experts on climate change can really help here: David Attenborough and leading climate scientists are top of this list according to recent UK research. Let them do the work of convincing your employees about the reality of climate change and the need for urgent action. Your role as a leader is to translate the global reality into local implications for your community, your business and your employees. You might not be David Attenborough, but you must channel his plain-speaking on your own stage.
2. It is personal
It’s well worth reflecting on your personal response to the climate and environmental crises that we face, before communicating anything about them with your employees. Your messages need to speak from (and to) the heart, not just the head. The more unfiltered you are, the better. How do you feel about the challenges ahead in the race to Net Zero? Excited? Anxious? Frustrated by lack of progress? Confused…? Your employees may feel the same way too! They will respect and appreciate your willingness to be open, vulnerable even…
3. It is two-way
Climate change affects us all, and we are all part of the solution. Sharing your personal reflections sets the tone for open and ongoing Net Zero dialogue with your employees about its challenges, and how your business can respond. Speak as human to human rather than as boss to employee. Encourage feedback and create climate conversations through open forums or employee networks. In a Net Zero culture, climate change and Net Zero become part of what people talk about on Slack channels or around the coffee machine.
This is different…
Remember, you’re not simply communicating about business strategy, but about the need to act now to avert climate catastrophe. This calls for a fundamental rethink of how you communicate with your employees.
The scale of the transformation required to reach Net Zero makes change an unavoidable reality for every business. And the research is clear: failure to engage with employees can be disastrous for any organisational change programme. Communication that tells it like it is, and that is personal and two-way, will encourage your employees to become actors in your business’s Net Zero strategy, not simply the audience.
Look out for more blogs about the key features of a Net Zero Culture, or see how Communication fits into our Net Zero Culture Map here