Jun 06, 2022 12 min read
Open Secret to Build a Culture of Sustainability through GHRM (Green Human Resources Management)
What is Green Human Resource Management(GHRM)? In my view, through the lenses of human resource managers and leaders, the simplest definition of green (GHRM) could be – “A set of actions that stimulate the green behaviours of people in an organization in order to create an environmentally sensitive, resource-efficient, and socially responsible organization is called Green Human Resources Management (GHRM)!”
These green behaviours of people at workplace could be triggered from set of policies, practices, systems, processes, and transformation of people’s mindset through learning and development initiatives in the organization!
In fact, what we do and what capabilities we have depend upon on what mindset we have or at what level of mindset we operate! It is well-known fact that “People’s behaviour is fundamentally govern by the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors”.
But most organizations pay far more attention to strategy and execution of change initiative than they do to what their people are feeling and thinking when they are asked to embrace a change initiative. Resistance, especially when it is passive, invisible, and unconscious, can derail even the best change initiative and its strategy.
Also, on an average, in practical life, most people give least weightage to intrinsic motivation factors! Yes, the focus is least on the changing behaviour through changing the mindset of people and helping them operate at highest level of the mindset as compared to focus on changing the behaviour through external measures such as green policies, green practices, green systems, or green processes etc.
However, the key secret to any kind of change in the world lies within people’s heart and mind – their body is only a vehicle to take actions fundamentally driven by mind and heart - which is an open secret to any change initiative and the Green Human Resource Management (GHRM) movement is no exception this open secret and hence intrinsic motivation factors governing heart & mind are fundamental bedrock on which success and failure of green behaviour of people rest!
If you ask any business leaders whether they are involved in change initiatives. Most of them will say yes in response to this question. But majority of the change initiatives fail because leaders, at times, fail to sense the inner pulses of the people who are key drivers of the change initiative!
Most organizations pay far more attention to external world than internal world which lies within people’s heart and mind. Leaders in the organization change processes, policies, and other external factors, but until they change people’s inner feelings, assumptions, blind spots, and fears, they will struggle to make change succeed and sustain over a period.
In order to transform people’s mind and heart to next higher level for building a culture of sustainability through green behaviours irrespective of who they are or what they do or at what level they operate from within, the inner transformation journey of people in the organization must start with the leaders themselves, since it is their personalities and their level of mindset that often shape corporate culture- be it sustainability culture, Safety Culture, Coaching & Mentoring Culture, or something else!
The degree of level of mindset for green behaviour and sustainability is ingrained in one of the core values of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd – The Care! Who we care for or what we care through our actions determine what is there within us!
The degree or level of caring attitude and behaviour vary from people to people as everyone is on the journey of inner transformation. The level at which they operates from within may differ despite many common attributes such as same education, position, religion, community, gender, organizational membership, or nationalities etc.
Despite various differences, If our care is limited to self-service or self-fulfilment, we are operating from ‘I’ level of mindset; If our care is limited to self, considering social reality, we are operating from ‘I++’ level of mindset; If our care is limited to self & others in human world, we are operating from ‘We’ level of mindset!; If our care is limited to self, others entity in human world, and Natural world, we are operating from ‘W++’ level of mindset; and If our care emanates from the feeling of oneness, service orientation encompassing entire universe, we are operating from ‘Being’ level of mindset! These, five levels of mindset correspond to five levels of Being Centered Leadership Theory: Multiple levels of being as context for effective leadership propounded by Louis Fry and Mark kriger.
The ultimate key to success of any change initiative is the ability of leaders in an organization to help people transition from their current level of mindset to next higher level till they reach the highest level-Being Level!
The journey of endless interventions of green human resources management to build culture of sustainability right from designing job descriptions that highlight tasks related to sustainability, to adopting environment friendly selection and recruitment methods, to incorporating environment sustainability into competency framework and performance appraisal, to training employees on relevant environment issues and embracing environment friendly learning and development methods etc. would be easy to navigate successfully provided we help, support, empower, coach, mentor, and guide our people to learn how to operate at next higher level of their mindset till they reach the highest level of the mindset- Being Level!
Organization’s culture is a product of the mindsets and attitudes of people working in the organization. These elements influence every part of their work, from how much effort they are willing to expend to how well they will take care of customers, people in the team and other stakeholders. The culture of an organization has the power to positviely influence or negatively influence every department, team, and individual etc.
People’s attitudes reflect how they feel about their jobs. People’s attitudes can affect their energy levels, cognitive abilities, overall feelings, and abilities to make positive contributions to their work. People in the organization can also influence the relatiosnhip, treatment, perception, and loyalty of every customer, stakeholder they encounter in their day-today-life.
Companies of every size, large and small, are made up of individuals, and the actions of these individuals can have a significant effect on the sustainability of the workplace. In fact, changing the behaviour of individuals can be the most important change and adjustment a company can make.
Green initiatives which target individual employees are an excellent way to begin greening an organization. The most efficient work areas and business plans are worthless if people ignore or misuse them. Successfully managing employees through transitions of mindsets not only increases the speed and efficiency of the greening process, but also minimizes the disruption to normal routines and keeps them happy irrespective of where they are: home or office.
Because individuals play such a large role in any change processes including the green processes, it is prudent to turn focus to leaverage the power of the open secret of human behaviours( helping people to transition from I to I++, I++ to We, We to We++, and We++ to Being!) while developing a green change initiative to build culture of sustainability in an organization irrespective of the industry sector or domain!
As a human resources manager and business leader, the journey must begin right from the recruitment and selection of people- We must select for the green mindset having potential to learn and grow to reach highest level of mindset over a period, and traverse through their orientation, training, placement, posting, life-long learning to evolve, appraisal, developing policies & programmes to create conducive organizational environment so that people can evolved to their highest potential and there by contribute to organization in best possible manner!
The world you got in legacy was not in your control but the world you will leave in legacy is very much in your control. As an individual or organization, we would be able to leave a better legacy of culture of sustainability through green human resource management (GHRM) provided we embark on a life-long journey to evolve to next level of mindset till we reach to the highest level (being level) and help others around us to evolve to next level of mindset till they reach to the highest level-being level!
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