Top green HR practices target printing and travel

Some 54 per cent of respondents incorporate environmental management into their business operations, according to "The Greening of HR Survey," conducted by Buck Consultants, an ACS company and one of the world's leading human resource and benefits consulting firms.

The survey analyzed responses from 93 organizations in the United States, representing a wide range of industries. The research was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2008, and examines the types of "green" initiatives employers are using in workforce management and human resources practices.

Whether they are part of a strategic business plan or a one-off practice, some common green human resource initiatives include:
• Using web or teleconferencing to reduce travel (78 per cent);
• Promoting the reduction of paper use (76 per cent); and
• Implementing wellness programs to foster employees' proper nutrition, fitness, and healthy living (68 per cent).

"Many employers now recognize that green programs in the workplace can promote social responsibility among workers and help retain top talent," says Don Sanford, managing director of Buck's Communication practice who directed the survey. "More than 60 per cent of survey respondents have made environmental responsibility part of their organization's mission statement."

The survey found employee involvement in green programs dramatically increases when organizations appoint an individual to lead the efforts. For companies with at least three-quarters of their employees actively involved in green programs, 71 per cent have appointed individual leaders whereas only 29 per cent do not have such a leader.

Among companies that provide rewards to encourage green behaviours, 77 per cent provide special employee recognition, 36 per cent give prize incentives, and 14 per cent provide a monetary reward.

"There is still much more that organizations can do," said Sanford. "We expect to see future growth in green training programs, environmentally responsible investment options, and recruiting employees with green skills."

"The Greening of HR Survey" report can be ordered online at