Earth Day is on April 22nd and an ideal time to engage employees in a teambuilding activity. If your organization doesn’t have anything formal planned, don’t fret. Even simple activities can connect and energize employees. Celebrating Earth Day not only benefits the planet, it’s good for employees too.
Here are five ways to engage employees in honor of Earth Day.
- Plant away! A great way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint while making a positive impact on company grounds or in the local community is to plant trees. Dale Carnegie said, “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” Organize a team outing for tree planting or beautification efforts, and watch employee bonds strengthen as they dig in to Mother Earth.
- Embrace eco-friendly options. Small choices can have a huge impact. Consider switching to rechargeable batteries or to a laptop from a desktop computer; recycling everything possible including old electronics and encouraging employees to bring a cup from home instead of using Styrofoam. If there are outdated electronics that still function, consider donating them to a school or community service organization such as Goodwill. Bonus—your company will receive a tax deduction and those in need will be grateful for your contribution.
- Encourage green commutes. Carbon emissions are reduced every time a vehicle stays parked. Companies located in areas amenable to biking, walking, bussing or carpooling can encourage these options by organizing employee carpools, subsiding the cost of public transportation and/or offering safe places to park bikes.
Some companies incentivize employees’ purchase of energy efficient vehicles by giving them a monetary award. Clif Bar founder, Gary Erickson, launched a Cool Commute program which awards $5,000 to employees who buy biodiesel or hybrid vehicles. Dale Carnegie 14th Human Relations principle, ‘Get the other person saying, “yes, yes” immediately,’ is easily applied when employees realize how much money they can save by choosing green alternatives to commuting.
- Collect recyclables for charity. Companies that produce a lot of recyclables such as aluminum cans or cardboard can cash in and donate the money to a local charity. In the states of California and Michigan, as much as ten cents per can is paid out. Believe it or not, the energy conserved by recycling one aluminum can is enough to power listening to a full album on an iPhone according to Earth911.com and Americans receive $800 million a yearfrom recycling aluminum. This accounts for only 67% of all aluminum cans — another $1 billion gets pitched! Consider organizing a monthly recyclable collection and let employees choose which charity receives the resulting monetary donation.
- Let employees choose. There are hundreds of ways to celebrate Earth Day. Apply Dale Carnegie’s 21st principle, ‘Throw down a challenge,’ by allowing employees to pick and execute their Earth Day efforts. For more ideas, check out the Earth Day Network and your community’s conservation group websites.