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Rewarding Employees For Green Initiatives In The Workplace

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Rewarding Employees for Green Initiatives In The Workplace

In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the need to save the environment before it is too late. As governments across the globe are doing their best to overcome the challenges of climate change, resource depletion, and environmental pollution, organizations, too, need to take responsibility and launch green initiatives in the workplace.

Many experts have come to associate an organization’s adoption of green initiatives with its long-term business success and sustainability.

Green Initiatives at Work

Green initiatives enable organizations to streamline their processes and reduce overall operational costs.

Most importantly, it helps businesses contribute positively toward building a healthier planet that offers a more sustainable environment for future generations.

What Are Green Initiatives In The Workplace?

Green Initiatives at the Workplace

Green initiatives in the workplace are practices, and strategies that organizations implement in their work locations to minimize any adverse impact of their business activities on the environment and promote sustainability.

Here are a few examples of such initiatives:

Green Initiatives at the Workplace

1. Energy Optimization

Such initiatives could include installing energy-efficient lighting, automated temperature and lighting control, and maximation of the use of nature lighting.

2. Waste Minimization

Use of reusable cups and plates instead of paper or plastic in the pantry, reducing the use of paper documents through digitization, composting of bio-degradable wastes, etc. are examples of this.

3. Use of Eco-friendly Materials

These initiatives could include use of recycled or eco-friendly materials for office supplies, packaging, and other business requirements.

4. Water Conservation

Installing low-flow faucets and toilets, regular maintenance of plumbing, etc. can help conserve water.

5. Sustainable Transportation

Encouraging and facilitating carpooling, bicycles or electric vehicles by employees are key initiatives in this direction.

6. Remote Working

Allowing employees to work from home can cut down energy consumption in the workplace and also reduce the carbon emissions during commuting.

7. Awareness Building

Organization workshops or expert talks on sustainability, and recognizing employee-led green initiatives, can foster a culture of sustainability.

What Is The Importance of Green Initiatives For Employee Engagement?

Importance of Green Initiatives

Adopting green initiatives is essential for most organizations as it adds value to their businesses.

Such initiatives also tend to have a profoundly positive impact on employee engagement and motivation levels.

Here are a few ways in which adopting green initiatives helps boost employee engagement:

Importance of Green Initiatives For Employee Engagement

1. Provides Additional Sense Of Purpose


Going green gives employees a sense of purpose beyond their work.

They tend to find these initiatives meaningful and immensely satisfying, knowing they are contributing to environmental sustenance.

The employees feel happy to learn that their organization understands its social responsibility and is willing to take the necessary steps to fulfill it.

2. Aligns With Personal Values

Performance and Productivity of Work from Home Employees

Most people today want to contribute positively to environmental change.

Thus, when an organization adopts green initiatives, it aligns with the personal values of most employees.

It fills them with pride to work for an organization committed to improving environmental health and sustainability.

3. Promotes Promise Of Health

Mindfulness Workshop

Employees often see the organization’s adoption of green initiatives as a commitment to ensuring their long-term well-being.

They see the various activities that make going green as a promise to uphold the health and well-being of the employees and their loved ones.

This naturally enhances the employees’ loyalty and sense of belonging to the organization.

4. Improves Employee Efficiency And Innovation


Going green motivates employees to seek innovative and creative ways to complete tasks.

They seek eco-friendly ways to maximize their efficiency without compromising quality.

This helps promote creativity and innovation across all levels within the workforce.

Consequently, they become more involved in various organizational activities, enhancing their engagement levels.    

5. Strengthens Team Building Efforts


When organizations choose to go green, they seek the help and support of their employees to ensure maximum success.

It helps promote teamwork and camaraderie and fosters a collaborative work environment.

This strengthens the engagement level of the employees by providing them with opportunities to work together to achieve common goals of their interest.

Why Reward Employees For Green Initiatives?

Top Management Role in Employee Rewards and Recognition

For any organization, implementing green practices is just one aspect of fulfilling its environmental responsibilities.

Rewarding employees for such initiatives is essential to maximize their impact and get the best outcomes.

The key benefits of linking employee rewards with green initiatives in the workplace are as follows.

Key benefits of linking employee rewards with green initiatives

1. Reduces Operational Costs

Seek Funding For The Program

Going green helps lessen the organization’s operational costs significantly.

Rewarding employees for using environment-friendly technologies and practices helps cut energy costs.

Moreover, cutting down wastage and ensuring responsible resource use also help considerably lower costs.

2. Enhances Workplace Culture

An essential guide to building a great organizational culture

Promoting green initiatives through rewards and recognition can foster a positive workplace culture that values innovation, responsibility, and ethical action.

This can improve morale and make employees more proud to be part of the organization.

Green initiatives often require teamwork and cross-departmental collaboration, providing employees with opportunities to work together in new and meaningful ways

3. Improves Business Goodwill

Employer Branding

When organizations reward their employees for green initiatives, they send a positive message across the industry.

This goes a long way in enhancing their goodwill among prospective candidates, clients, and stakeholders.

They witness increased business leads, and their credibility as responsible businesses also increases considerably.

4. Increases Talent Retention

Understand The Relevance Of Customer Recommendation

Amidst the growing competition to retain top talent, rewarding employees for their green initiatives is a great way to achieve this objective.

Doing so helps assure employees that the organization supports and appreciates their sustainability initiatives.

This motivates other employees with similar mindsets to stay with the organization for a long time.  

5. Stimulates Learning and Innovation

Recognize Innovation Efforts and Remove Fear of Failure

Participation in green initiatives can also lead to learning and development opportunities.

Employees may acquire new skills related to sustainability, leadership, project management, or innovation, which can be valuable for the organization.

Implementing sustainable practices can stimulate creativity and innovation among employees.

This, in turn, can lead to new ideas and improvements in processes and products.

6. Ensures Better Regulatory Compliance

Provide Time and Resources to Employees to Explore New Ideas

Rewarding employees for their green initiatives minimizes the risk of organizations facing regulatory compliance issues.

Rewards and recognition motivate employees to share the responsibility of following regulatory guidelines for eco-friendly work practices.

They also feel responsible for ensuring that all regulatory needs are met on time to minimize the risk of penalties.

What Are The Best Practices For Rewarding Green Initiatives By Employees?

Employee Rewards and Recognition Program

Rewarding employees’ green initiatives is about recognizing and rewarding their contribution to building a sustainable environment.

The best practices for maximizing the impact of green rewards are explained below.

Best Practices For Rewarding Green Initiatives

1. Offer Rewards For Best Green Ideas

Employee Rewards and Recognition

Employees can come up with new ideas for green initiatives and submit them through a digital platform.

Organizations should choose and reward the best green ideas employees generate over a quarter or a month.

This ensures that these ideas are rewarded frequently and that a maximum number of employees are involved.

This helps motivate employees to regularly develop and practice new and innovative green ideas. 

2. Reward Employees For Participation In Company Green Initiatives

Top Management Role in Employee Rewards and Recognition

Rewarding employees for active participation in such initiatives motivates other employees to follow suit.

It sends out a positive message to the entire workforce about contributing to the cause collectively to get better and faster results.

It also ensures that employees do not feel burdened with independently developing ideas for eco-friendly work practices.

3. Organize Contests And Hackathons With Appropriate Rewards

Organize Challenges, Contests and Hackathons with Grand Prizes

Conducting quizzes, competition, and hackathon in the workplace helps build awareness about critical environmental issues and causes.

They can also double up as idea-generation platforms for solving environmental challenges.

Such events also help promote healthy competition among employees and enhance their knowledge about environmental issues.

It is equally important to offer appropriate rewards to the top performers in these competitions to drive higher participation.

4. Recognize Employees For Green Volunteering Outside Of Work

Sustainability Volunteering

Organizations can also consider rewarding and recognizing employees for their green initiatives outside of work such as volunteering activities.

This assures employees that the organization is committed to reducing environmental degradation not only within the workplace but also beyond it.

Organizations can even use social media platforms to recognize such initiatives publicly.

This helps employees earn widespread appreciation for their efforts and boosts the organization’s goodwill and credibility.

5. Enable Social Recognition For Green Initiatives

Enable Social Recognition for Innovators 

Providing social recognition to employees for their green initiatives within and outside the workplace.

Praising the employees’ efforts and activities in company announcements and newsletters, internal planforms, social media, etc. can go a long way toward boosting their motivation.

At the same time, it can inspire others to participate in similar activities.

6. Offer Eco-Friendly Gifts As Rewards

Gift Hamper

Organizations should ensure they offer eco-friendly gifts as employee rewards.

They may consider eco-friendly reward options such as potted plants, recycled paper books, stationery, or donating to employees’ favorite environmental cause.

Rewarding employees this way is one of the best ways to promote green initiatives and activities within the workplace, underscoring the broader purpose.

7. Co-fund Eco-Friendly Transportation Options

Electric Vehicle

Many employees are considering eco-friendly modes of transport to reduce environmental pollution caused by automobiles. 

Given the high costs of electric vehicles, fully or partially funding such vehicles can be a great way to reward employees for their green initiatives. 

Organizations may also consider setting up EV charging stations on their premises to promote the use of such vehicles among employees.

8. Provide Leadership Opportunities For Green Initiatives


Another effective way of rewarding employees’ green initiatives is to make them responsible for their proper execution.

This helps assure employees that the organization trusts their leadership and competence to make these initiatives succeed.

It also enables them to hone their leadership skills and implement initiatives based on their vision.

9. Offer Time And Resources For Implementation

Program Launch

Organizations can go one step forward by not just rewarding the best ‘green ideas’ but supporting their implementation.

They can offer internal funds, equipment, and other resources that employees can apply for to implement their green initiatives.

They can also offer paid time off to the employees to work on these initiatives.

10. Provide Learning And Development Opportunities

Communication for Successful Employee Rewards and Recognition

Organizations can reward employees who participate in such green initiatives with learning and development opportunities such as courses, seminars, and conferences.

These opportunities help the employees in developing the necessary skills required for running such initiatives.

They also enhance their motivation towards running these initiatives.


Safeguarding the environment is a collective social responsibility, and organizations should take the lead by rewarding and recognizing employees who contribute to green initiatives.

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn

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HiFives is a global employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. It is used by 100+ large enterprises, small businesses and startups in manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media, across 25+ countries.