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10 People Sustainability Strategies for Your Business

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Going green isn't just good for the planet; it's good for your business goals too! People sustainability in the workplace means simultaneously taking care of your employees, community, and bottom line.

Creating a sustainable workplace can attract and retain top talent, reduce operating costs, and improve your brand image. By adopting people's sustainability practices in the workplace, you're not only doing your part for the planet but also appealing to the growing number of consumers and employees who care about sustainability.

According to Forbes, 90% of business leaders think sustainability is important, only 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy.

What is People Sustainability?

People sustainability refers to the practice of nurturing and maintaining the well-being, engagement, and development of individuals within an organization. It involves creating an inclusive and supportive work environment that prioritizes employee satisfaction, work-life balance, and professional growth.

By prioritizing people sustainability, businesses recognize the profound impact of engaged and motivated employees on overall performance, productivity, and long-term success.

The Rise Of People Sustainability In The New Decade

Although we all were subconsciously aware of the concept of people sustainability and its various definitions, COVID brought this subject forefront, giving it a much-required boost. The COVID-19 period may have forced us to work apart, but it's also brought us together in our pursuit of people sustainability.

And today, as we return to the workplace, we're seeing a growing trend toward creating safe, healthy, and sustainable work environments. From remote work policies to green initiatives, companies realize that people's sustainability is good for business and essential for the well-being of their employees and communities.

Over 4500 companies globally have become certified B Corps as of February 2022. (To become certified as a B Corp, a company must meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.
-B Lab

But how can you build a workplace that's sustainable for people and your bottom line? One that's both fulfilling and financially sound?

To answer this question correctly is people sustainability. So, let's delve deep on how you can cultivate a culture of people sustainability that nurtures growth and development for you and your employees.

Benefits of People Sustainability in the Workplace

Investing in people sustainability practices in the workplace is not only a responsible choice, but it can also provide significant benefits for businesses.

There are several benefits to implementing people sustainability practices in the workplace, including

1. Improved Employee Engagement and Retention

When employees feel that their well-being and development are prioritized, they are more likely to be engaged and committed towards their work. This can lead to lower turnover rates, higher productivity, and better business outcomes.

2. Enhanced Brand Reputation

Companies that prioritize people sustainability can enhance their brand reputation, attracting and retaining top talent and building a positive image in the eyes of customers and stakeholders.

3. Increased Innovation and Creativity

When employees feel supported and empowered, they are more likely to be innovative and creative in their work, leading to new ideas, processes, and products.

4. Better Employee Health and Well-being

Prioritizing people sustainability can lead to a healthier and more motivated workforce, with lower rates of stress, burnout, and absenteeism.

5. Positive Impact on Society

Companies that prioritize people sustainability can contribute to the social welfare of the broader community, through initiatives such as charitable giving, volunteerism, and community-focused programs.

Overall, investing in people sustainability in the workplace can lead to a more engaged, motivated, and productive workforce, as well as contribute to the long-term success and positive impact of the organization.

10 People Sustainability Strategies for Workplaces

1. Inclusive Culture

An inclusive culture is an environment where employees feel valued and respected for their unique backgrounds and perspectives and are given equal opportunities to contribute to the organization's success. It involves creating a workplace where all employees feel a sense of belonging and are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work.

The business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is stronger than ever. Taking a closer look at diversity winners reveals what can drive real progress.

An inclusive culture is not only the right thing to do but also essential for creating a sustainable workplace that values and invests in its people. Studies show that companies with diverse and inclusive cultures are more innovative, profitable, and resilient in the face of change.

In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist; we must be anti-racist.' Similarly, in a sustainable workplace, it is not enough to be non-exclusive; we must be actively inclusive.
-Angela Davis, Activist

As McKinsey says, the 2019 analysis finds that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014.


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So, how do we build an exclusive culture that will give way to people's sustainability?

To create a sustainable workplace that values and invests in its people, you must start by building a culture of inclusivity. As a leader, you have the power to lead the charge and make a difference.

  • Educate yourself: Start by educating yourself on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) by reading books, attending workshops, or participating in training programs. This will help you better understand the challenges faced by underrepresented groups (URGs) and equip you with the tools to address them.
  • Assess your workplace: Conduct a DEI audit to identify areas where your organization may fall short regarding inclusivity. This can include reviewing HR policies and procedures, examining hiring and promotion practices, and analyzing the makeup of your current workforce.
  • Set clear goals: Establish clear and measurable goals for your DEI efforts, such as increasing diversity in your hiring pipeline, promoting inclusivity in team meetings, or developing a mentorship program for underrepresented employees.
  • Engage employees: Involve your employees in the DEI process by soliciting their feedbacj through survey questions, creating employee resource groups, and promoting open dialogue around issues related to diversity and inclusion.
  • Hold yourself accountable: Hold yourself and your organization accountable for achieving your DEI goals by regularly tracking progress, reviewing outcomes, and making necessary adjustments.

2. Investing in Employee

Health and safety involve ensuring that employees are physically and mentally healthy and that their work environment is free from hazards that could cause harm or injury.

This includes providing a safe and healthy workplace, promoting a safety culture, and ensuring that employees are trained to identify and mitigate potential hazards. By prioritizing our employees' physical and mental well-being, we can create a sustainable workplace that benefits everyone involved.

According to a study by the SHRM, companies that invest in employee health and wellness programs see a return of $3 for every $1 spent. Additionally, a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that over 90% of employees believe that companies are responsible for supporting their physical and mental well-being.


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The importance of putting the mental wellness of our employees first cannot be underscored enough.
-SHRM Foundation President Wendi Safstrom .

HR professionals, employers, and people managers alike can play an important role in the lives of their employees by assisting them in finding the resources they need while simultaneously reducing stigma.

As a manager, it's your responsibility to take proactive steps to ensure that their health and safety come first. But how do you do that in a way that inspires and motivates your team?

  • Start by developing a safety policy communicating your commitment to creating a safe and healthy workplace for all employees. This policy should outline safety procedures, emergency protocols, and training programs. Then, conduct regular safety inspections to identify potential hazards and risks. Think of it like an adventure, where you are the safety scout, looking for potential danger zones.
  • Make safety training fun and interactive, so your employees can learn while enjoying themselves. You can even create a safety game or quiz that rewards them for knowing and understanding safety protocols. Let them be safety superheroes in their own right.
  • Encourage a secure workplace by prioritizing safety and rewarding employees who identify potential safety risks. When employees feel heard, they will be more likely to share their concerns about possible safety hazards.

Finally, promote physical and mental wellness by offering access to wellness programs, health screenings, and mental health resources.

Vantage Fit is a cutting-edge fitness program that has revolutionized the way people approach their health and wellness.

It offers a comprehensive and personalized approach to fitness, designed to help individuals achieve their goals and transform their lives.

The platform offers fitness challenge or steps challenge to keep the employees motivated. However, consider implementing flexible work arrangements and promoting work-life balance to support their overall well-being.

3. Take Action on E, S & G

ESG considerations are key drivers of long-term sustainable value creation and a source of competitive advantage.
-Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock.

ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance, refers to the set of factors that companies consider when evaluating their impact on society and the environment. By taking a proactive approach to ESG, companies can build a culture of sustainability that promotes the well-being of their employees and the planet.

It is often measured on certain ESG metrics. These metrics are indicators used to assess the performance and potential risks of a business's operations concerning environmental, social, and governance issues.

ESG metrics provide valuable insights into a company's sustainability efforts and impact. Commonly used ESG metrics include greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, energy use, waste generation, wastewater, employee safety, and community impact.


A study suggests that, By 2025, ESG assets are expected to surpass $53 trillion, accounting for more than one-third of the projected $140.5 trillion in total assets under management. The convergence of the pandemic and the green recovery initiatives in the US, EU, and China is creating an opportune moment to evaluate the ability of ESG to identify and mitigate emerging financial risks while simultaneously leveraging capital markets.

In Nikhil Narula's (Head of America and Global Partnerships, Vantage Circle) words, ESG has grown to become a critical CEO priority, with governments in both developed and developing countries mandating ESG reporting as part of compliance needs. At Vantage Circle, we have recognized that sustainability at the workplace needs to be driven by employees themselves and how they behave. Our proprietary framework for driving ESG through recognition will help employees develop desired habits that not only impact sustainability at the workplace but also in people’s homes.

By prioritizing ESG factors, companies can create a sustainable and inclusive workplace that promotes the well-being of their employees, the environment, and society. And as studies have shown, companies prioritizing sustainability and ESG factors tend to perform better financially in the long term, so it's a win-win situation.

4. Continuous Learning


You may have a rough notion of how to bring about people sustainability, but adopting such initiatives without committing to learning & growth will impact its success metrics.

Continuous learning helps employees stay ahead of the curve and helps companies align their goals toward a sustainable future. As the world evolves, so do the challenges we face.

Companies that prioritize continuous learning and development are better equipped to innovate and stay ahead of the curve while also attracting and retaining top talent. Remember, the only way to build a sustainable business is by continuously learning and improving.

So, the real question here now is how to go about it?

It is important to have a structured framework before starting the learning process. Measuring the employees in their learning process is important. It will give them both the required motivation in the form of rewards and the much-needed knowledge about trending sustainability practices. It is, thus, important to;

  • Identify sustainability goals: The first step is to identify the sustainability goals that the company wants to achieve. These could be reducing carbon emissions, minimizing waste, or using sustainable materials.
  • Assess current skill sets: The next step is to assess the current skill sets of the employees and determine where there are gaps in knowledge or expertise related to sustainability.
  • Develop training programs: Based on the identified gaps, develop training programs and workshops that provide employees with the skills and knowledge needed to achieve sustainability goals.
  • Provide opportunities for continuous learning: Create opportunities for employees to continue learning and developing their skills over time. This could include online courses, workshops, conferences, or mentoring programs.
  • Integrate sustainability into performance evaluations: Integrate sustainability goals into performance evaluations and provide incentives for employees who contribute to achieving sustainability goals.

By following these steps, companies can ensure that their employees have the skills and knowledge to achieve sustainability goals, leading to a more sustainable and successful business.

5. Make Sustainability People-Centric

Making business sustainability people-centric isn't just the right thing to do; it's also good for business.

By making sustainability people-centric, companies can create a culture that values employees and promotes their engagement and retention. This, in turn, can lead to a more motivated and productive workforce, better business outcomes, and a positive impact on society and the environment.

Some examples of practices in the workplace include offering flexible work arrangements to promote work-life balance, providing opportunities for employee education and skill development, promoting diversity and inclusion, and ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.

By prioritizing these practices, businesses can create a sustainable workplace culture that values employees and promotes long-term success.

Take care of your employees, and they'll take care of your business.
-Richard Branson

In fact, companies that prioritize employee well-being and sustainability initiatives see an imporvement in basic domains of business like employee turnover, improved productivity, and increased revenue.

6. Alignment With Stakeholder Interests

It refers to the idea that businesses should prioritize the interests of all stakeholders involved, including customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, and the community, rather than just focusing on maximizing profits for shareholders.

As per the World Economic Forum at COP25, the United Nations highlighted the significant role of innovative solutions in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Achieving a balance between innovation for long-term economic growth and the organization's purpose is a corporate governance issue. Innovation broadly impacts a board's fundamental responsibilities, including long-term planning, corporate strategy, people and culture, executive compensation, investments, and acquisitions.


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Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics: 120 corporate members of the IBC, alongside the accounting juggernauts - Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG - joined forces to create the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics. The comprehensive list was crafted with the input of global stock exchanges, regulators, nonprofits, and the European Commission, marking a historic collaboration towards a sustainable future.


So, how does this help business?

Aligning a company's interests with stakeholders, including employees, helps maintain people sustainability by fostering employee engagement, satisfaction, and attracting top talent. This alignment demonstrates a commitment to meeting employees' needs and aspirations, resulting in increased productivity, motivation, and retention rates.

And how to proceed with it within an organization?

  • Define the purpose and values of the business.
  • Identify and prioritize stakeholders.
  • Align business strategy with stakeholder needs.
  • Establish metrics to measure stakeholder impact.
  • Integrate stakeholder feedback into decision-making processes.
  • Develop a culture of stakeholder engagement and transparency.
  • Continuously evaluate and adapt the stakeholder capitalism system

By following these steps, businesses can build a stakeholder capitalism system that prioritizes people's sustainability, helping to create a more equitable and sustainable future for all stakeholders.

7. Better Relations Between Supply Chain and Business Networks

Building strong relationships between businesses and their supply chain partners is not only beneficial for improving productivity and profits, but it can also play a critical role in promoting sustainable practices and improving the lives of workers.

As the world becomes more connected, supply chains are becoming increasingly complex, and it's essential that businesses take a holistic approach to supply chain management to promote people sustainability in the workplace.


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But how can one ensure that an efficient supply chain will lead to prevalence of people sustainability in the workplace?

  • One innovative way to foster better relationships between businesses and their supply chain partners for better sustainability is through the use of blockchain technology.

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, "Blockchain Beyond the Hype: A Practical Framework for Business Leaders" (2018), blockchain can be used to create a secure, transparent, and efficient supply chain management system. By using blockchain, businesses can track the origin of products and ensure that workers are treated fairly throughout the supply chain.

  • Another creative approach to promoting people sustainability is through the use of gamification. Gamification in businesses refers to the practice of incorporating game-like elements, such as points, levels, challenges, rewards, and competition, into business processes or activities to make them more enjoyable, interactive, and immersive.

By incorporating gamification into supply chain management, businesses can encourage suppliers to meet their people sustainability goals and reward them for their efforts.

Approximately 40% of businesses face challenges in identifying and achieving ESG targets aimed at enhancing supply chain sustainability, while around 20% of businesses lack knowledge regarding ways to improve supply chain sustainability. Furthermore, almost 60% of executives express concerns about the inadequate end-to-end visibility of the supply chain, which hampers their ability to comprehend the supply chain's financial and environmental performance.

Now that we understand the pain points more, let us understand how to go about it?

A company can work with its suppliers to reduce waste and energy consumption, promote sustainable sourcing of raw materials, and minimize the use of harmful chemicals. This approach can help to improve the sustainability of the entire supply chain.

  • Ensuring Ethical Treatment of Workers: A well-managed supply chain can also ensure that workers are treated ethically and are not subject to exploitation. By working with suppliers to ensure fair wages, safe working conditions, and other benefits, businesses can help to promote people sustainability in the workplace.

  • Reducing Environmental Impact: Supply Chain and Business Networks can help to reduce the environmental impact of business operations. By using sustainable transportation methods, reducing packaging waste, and promoting the use of renewable energy, businesses can significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

8. Recognize and Reward Employees

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their sustainable practices is not only a way to promote people's sustainability in the workplace, but it also has tangible benefits for businesses. According to a report by Deloitte, companies that recognize and reward employees for their sustainability efforts are more likely to see an improvement in their bottom line.


Benefits of Recognizing Employees

  • Companies that recognize and reward employees for their sustainability efforts are more likely to see an improvement in their bottom line. Recognizing employees for their sustainable practices can increase employee satisfaction and retention rates.
  • Structured rewards and recognition will also improve brand image and reputation, boost productivity and efficiency, reduce costs associated with energy, water, and waste management, and attract talented candidates aligned with the company's sustainability goals and values.
  • By adopting sustainable practices and encouraging employees to do the same, businesses can increase employee attraction and retention.


Here are the steps businesses can take to implement a rewards and recognition program for people sustainability:

  • Define sustainability goals: The first step is to define sustainability goals that align with the company's mission and values. This could include reducing energy and water consumption, reducing waste, or increasing employee engagement and well-being.
  • Identify sustainable practices: Next, businesses should identify the sustainable practices employees can use to help achieve these goals. Carpooling, using reusable water bottles, turning off lights when not in use, or participating in wellness programs is a good way of investing in people sustainability.
  • Establish a rewards program: Once sustainable practices have been identified, businesses should establish a rewards program to incentivize employees to engage in these practices. This could include gift cards, bonuses, extra vacation time, or public recognition.
  • Promote the program: It's important to promote the rewards program to employees to encourage participation. This can be done through email campaigns, posters, or company newsletters.
  • Monitor and evaluate: Finally, businesses should monitor and evaluate the rewards program to ensure it is effective and sustainable. This could include tracking participation rates and measuring the impact on the company's sustainability goals.

Vantage Circle understands the need for recognition in workplaces today. The rewards component of Vantage Circle's program further incentivizes and reinforces positive behaviors, encouraging employees to consistently perform at their best.

By prioritizing employee recognition and rewards, Vantage Circle helps create a culture of appreciation and celebration, enhancing employee retention, talent attraction, and overall people sustainability within the organization.

9. Make Sustainability Visible Inside Out.

Making sustainability visible from the inside out while attempting to attain workplace people sustainability entails integrating sustainability ideas and practices into every part of the organization, from operations to culture and values.

This includes implementing environmentally friendly practices and prioritizing the well-being and growth of employees and stakeholders.

It’s been found that 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that’s completely transparent. Transparency also builds trust, which is foundational to your relationships with your employees and customers.

By making sustainability visible "inside out," a company can exhibit its commitment to sustainability externally and internally among employees, stakeholders, and customers.

This can be achieved through education, communication, and action demonstrating the company's values and efforts to reduce its environmental impact, support social responsibility, and create a positive workplace culture.

Making sustainability visible inside out while achieving people sustainability in the workplace can be achieved through the following steps:

  • Educate and engage employees: Sustainability should be a part of the company culture, and employees should be educated on the importance of sustainability and how it can be achieved. Engage employees in sustainability efforts by encouraging them to share ideas and participate in initiatives.
  • Incorporate sustainability into company policies: Sustainability should be incorporated into all company policies and procedures, including hiring practices, procurement policies, and waste management strategies. Make sustainability a part of the company's mission statement and core values.
  • Measure and report sustainability efforts: Measure and report on the company's sustainability efforts regularly. Use metrics such as energy consumption, waste reduction, and water usage to track progress and identify areas for improvement. Share this information with employees, stakeholders, and customers to demonstrate the company's commitment to sustainability.

The world is truly in the midst of a climate emergency, which could have drastic consequences for markets, companies and, therefore, our client’s assets.

  • Meryam Omi, Head of Sustainability and Responsible Investment Strategy at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM)

By educating and engaging employees, incorporating sustainability into company policies, measuring and reporting sustainability efforts, encouraging sustainable behavior, and partnering with suppliers and customers, a company can create a sustainable culture that prioritizes both people sustainability and stakeholders.

10. Focus on Digital Pollution

It refers to the negative environmental impact of digital technologies, including the energy consumption associated with data centers, electronic waste, and the carbon footprint of online activities. Focusing on digital pollution is essential for people sustainability in the workplace, as it directly impacts the health and well-being of employees, communities, and the planet.


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By focusing on digital pollution, companies can significantly contribute to people's sustainability in the workplace. This includes reducing the environmental impact of digital technologies and promoting responsible online behavior, reducing e-waste, and prioritizing the well-being and health of employees and communities.

So, how to focus on digital pollution and reduce its emission?

  • Promote responsible online behavior: Encourage employees to adopt responsible online behavior, such as reducing the number of emails sent, turning off computers when not in use, and avoiding unnecessary video conferences.
  • Prioritize energy efficiency: Optimize data centers and other digital infrastructure to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Consider using renewable energy sources like solar or wind power to power digital operations.
  • Reduce e-waste: Promote the responsible disposal of electronic devices and equipment through recycling and refurbishing programs. Consider using eco-friendly materials in digital products and packaging.
  • Encourage digital minimalism: Encourage employees to adopt a more mindful approach to digital technology use, such as reducing screen time and taking regular breaks from technology.
  • Invest in sustainable digital solutions: Invest in sustainable digital solutions that prioritize environmental sustainability, such as green web hosting, energy-efficient hardware, and sustainable software development practices. You can also explore the top web hosting providers with eco-conscious practices for detailed guidance.


People sustainability in the workplace is crucial for building a sustainable and successful organization that prioritizes well-being, health, and growth. A people-focused approach benefits the employees and contributes to the company's bottom line.

Let’s remember that by prioritizing people sustainability in the workplace, companies can position themselves as responsible and ethical, leading to increased customer loyalty and brand recognition.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can businesses measure the effectiveness of their people sustainability strategies?

Businesses can measure the effectiveness of their people sustainability strategies through various means, including employee satisfaction surveys, employee turnover rates, performance evaluations, feedback mechanisms, and tracking metrics related to employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, professional development, and well-being.

The legal requirements and regulations related to people sustainability vary across countries and regions. Businesses need to comply with relevant labor laws, anti-discrimination laws, health and safety regulations, and other employment-related legislation applicable to their jurisdiction.

3. What role does feedback play in people sustainability strategies?

Feedback is essential for people sustainability strategies as it provides growth, development, and improvement opportunities. By offering constructive feedback, businesses can help employees understand their strengths and areas for improvement, align their goals with organizational objectives, and create a culture of continuous improvement and learning.

4. How can businesses promote work-life integration instead of work-life balance?

Promoting work-life integration involves finding ways to integrate work and personal life in a way that allows employees to find harmony and flexibility. Businesses can support work-life integration by offering flexible work arrangements, encouraging effective time management, promoting self-care and well-being practices, and recognizing that employees have commitments and responsibilities outside of work.

5. What are some effective strategies for attracting and retaining diverse talent?

To attract and retain diverse talent, businesses can review and update their recruitment and hiring practices to ensure they are inclusive and bias-free. They can establish partnerships with diverse professional organizations, promote their commitment to diversity and inclusion in their branding and communication, create employee resource groups or affinity networks, and provide career development and advancement opportunities for all employees.

This article is written by Vaishali Goswami, a member of the content team at Vantage Circle. Between being an active writer and a traveler, Vaishali can be found wound up in books about psychology and human behavior. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com.

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