In the world of business, green is definitely a trendy colour. While this doesn't mean enterprises are painting their walls green or changing their brand colour, the concept of green is more figurative, but just as bold for customers, clients and stakeholders.
'Going green' in this case refers to the idea of sustainable practices in the workplace. By cutting your business' impact on resources and the environment, you can become a well-respected enterprise within your industry and command a unique point of difference among your competitors.
Let's take a closer look at the green trend, identifying why this approach is important and how your business can use green technology to your advantage.
Recruiting the next generation
The Australian workforce is currently in a period of transition. With the baby boomers beginning to leave employment, employers have started to recruit the next generation of talent - millennials. However, the main difference with this group of employees is that many of them want employers who connect with society as a whole and are investing in practices that help the community both in Australia and abroad.
This was highlighted in the Deloitte fourth annual Millennial Survey earlier this year. Over 8000 millennials from more than 29 countries were polled on what they want to see from business leaders. According to the results, 75 per cent believe that businesses are too narrow-minded on societal issues and focus on their own agendas too much.
As such, millennials want to work for businesses that are thinking about wider sustainability issues. If employers don't, many enterprises could struggle to attract the talent required to drive them forward.
Saving on the bottom line
Another reason why going green is critical for today's businesses is the available cost savings. Take travel expenses, for example.
According to the 2013 Concur Expense IQ report, some of Australia's most popular cities for business travel have the highest costs for hotel rooms, dining, entertainment and transport in the world. In fact, Australia was featured four times in the list of top ten most expensive business travel cities.
Brisbane topped the list with a massive average of $547.53 across those four categories, ahead of Sydney ($524.01), Perth ($520.93) and Melbourne ($475.78). Interestingly, Australian locations were much higher than their international counterparts such as London ($516.46), New York City ($472.06), Paris ($463.58) and San Francisco ($407.04).
Travel expenses can be a real drain on productivity and may hurt your bottom line. This is where green technology such as teleconferencing and web conferencing can be of assistance.
By removing this unnecessary travel from the schedule and replacing it with conference calls and virtual meetings, important issues can be dealt with in a timelier manner and business leaders are in more regular contact with important clients, customers and stakeholders.
As such, creating a sustainable policy on business travel can have a positive impact on not only your bottom line, but also help to cut carbon emissions and promote industry leadership.
Having a clear social conscience
Going green can bring a number of business benefits.
In recent years, launching a commitment to sustainability has been beneficial for another reason - corporate social responsibility. This concept is defined by the World Business Council for sustainable development as the "commitment by business to contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the community and society at large."
Being a socially responsible business therefore incorporates everything from green technology such as teleconferencing, to recycling initiatives and community development projects. The more that your business is doing to enhance the prospects of employees, the community and society in general, the more likely you will be recognised as a responsible and industry-leading enterprise.
According to McKinsey & Company, a poll of companies found that the majority (90 per cent) converted to sustainability on the back of either an event or a particular risk. The most common answer was to avoid reputation damage (26 per cent), followed by regulatory problems and the need to eliminate operational risks (both 15 per cent).
Employee engagement improvements
Often business leaders have a difficult decision when it comes to deciding what sustainable approach to take. However, this is where talking to your team and getting their thoughts can have multiple benefits.
Based on a 2013 report from Ceres, 40 per cent of businesses are now engaging employees on sustainability concepts before implementation. As such, these enterprises are enjoying greater feedback and ideas on which green path to take.
For example, corporate sales professionals will be in the best position to discuss why teleconferencing is a necessary tool for speaking to overseas prospects. Additionally, the HR department might need further scope to interview candidates who are based in foreign countries.
By taking employee thoughts on sustainability into account, business leaders can get the ideas that they require, but also give workers a say on how the office is run.
For more information about adopting a green approach through teleconferencing or web conferencing, contact the team at Eureka Conferencing today.