Peakon, an employee success platform, has revealed that UK employees are rapidly becoming more vocal on the topic of climate change and the environment in the workplace.
In 2019, the number of employee comments that mentioned environment-related issues nearly doubled – up 85% on 2018’s total.
The findings are part of Peakon’s 2020 Employee Expectations report, which examines emerging and evolving workplace needs and expectations. Peakon analysed more than 14 million employee survey comments from across 160 countries.
The inaugural report found that, globally, the number of comments on environmental issues jumped 52% in 2019. ‘Plastic’, ‘single-use’ and ‘carbon footprint’ were among the most prevalent topics raised in employee comments worldwide. Last year also marked the first time ‘Greta Thunberg’ was mentioned in an employee comment.
Generation Z employees – the workplace’s youngest members – led the discussion, with a 128% surge in climate-related comments from this generation in 2019. There were also strong year-on-year increases among Millennials and Baby Boomers – up 62% and 59% respectively. This demonstrates that employees of all ages increasingly expect their employers to be more environmentally responsible.
“At a time when ‘zero waste’ has become part of our everyday language, and Google search trends on how to reduce plastic are at a five-year high, businesses need to understand that employees now expect them to take decisive action on environmental issues at work,” comments Peakon CEO and co-founder Phil Chambers.
“Addressing social issues like climate change is increasingly becoming an employee expectation, especially among the youngest members of the workforce. Gen Z has grown up amid an unending litany of social and political unrest, and place high value on the ethics, authenticity and social impact of employers today.”
The report also reveals that employees in the Manufacturing sector have become extremely vocal on the environment and climate change in the past year. Peakon found a staggering 595% increase in climate-related comments among manufacturing employees from 2018 to 2019. The sector has gone from being one of the least vocal on the issue in 2018, to one of the most in 2019 – a shift leaders in the industry cannot afford to ignore.
Chambers adds: “In 2020, organisational positioning on social and environmental impact will become an increasingly important yardstick by which we measure businesses – both from a consumer perspective and an employee one.
“Amid spiralling employee expectations, it’s become vital for organisations to engage in a continuous dialogue with their employees. Only then can companies hope to effectively understand and meet expectations before employees become frustrated, disengage and seek employment elsewhere.”