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Green Awareness – HR Professionals

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Green awareness is not a new topic from last few years. Most interesting thing is HR professionals in the organization are not only aware about this rather they start working for it. HR professionals in organization can develop a powerful social conscience and green sense of responsibility internal and external customers, stakeholders, partners etc. Recent times, consumers demand ethics and environmental credentials as a top priority. Society and business see their agenda align. HR department have to drive corporate behavior towards more environment friendly path.

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HR professional cannot wait for others like production or supply chain department or the engineering team will initiate the program. It’s part of CSR and HR has to launch it now.

The environmental lobby is so pervasive that organization, especially the HR department must be quick to react to consumer concerns about any aspect of their business which could be deemed unethical.

Green HR is the use of HRM policies to promote the sustainable use of resources within business organizations and, more generally, promotes the cause of environmental sustainability.

Green initiatives within HRM form part of wider programmes of corporate social responsibility. Green HR involves two essential elements: environmentally-friendly HR practices and the preservation of knowledge capital.

Green human resources refer to using every employee touch point/interface to promote sustainable practices and increase employee awareness and commitments on the issues of sustainability. It involves undertaking environment-friendly HR initiatives resulting in greater efficiencies, lower costs and better employee engagement and retention which in turn, help organizations to reduce employee carbon footprints by the likes of electronic filing, car-sharing, job-sharing, teleconferencing and virtual interviews, recycling, tele commuting, online training, energy-efficient office spaces etc.

It involves undertaking environment-friendly HR initiatives resulting in greater efficiencies, lower costs and better employee engagement and retention which in turn, help organizations to reduce employee carbon footprints by the likes of electronic filing, car-sharing, job-sharing, teleconferencing and virtual interviews, recycling, telecommuting, online training, energy-efficient office spaces etc. Positive result of the green HRM policy is “better employee morale.”

Whether you’re doing it to improve your bottom line, strengthen your brand, being competitive or out of a sense of social responsibility, there are many good reasons for organization’s to” go green” in their HRM policies due to its long term gains. This aspect cannot be overlooked as it involves the most vital part of your organization-your employees especially in service sector. This is a matter of making them feel that they are making a difference at their jobs by helping the organization to be competitive in the market place, while looking satisfied to the principles of their employer

The term „Green HR‟ is most often used to refer to the contribution of people management policies and practices towards the broader corporate environmental agenda. Typical green activities include video recruiting, or the use of online and video interviews, to minimize Travel requirements. Green rewards can include the use of workplace and lifestyle benefits, ranging from carbon credit offsets to free bicycles, to engage people in the green agenda, while continuing to recognize their contribution. While many employees often feel it is not their responsibility to protect the environment while they are at work, the new workforce of millennials are emphasizing environmental consciousness as they chose their employers. There is also a broader opportunity to engage the workforce given that more and more people seek meaning and self-actualization in their jobs.

Other simple green actions include minimizing the amount of printed materials used in performance management, salary reviews and so on. While there is definitely a substantial amount of „green washing‟ occurring in reducing waste, there are many opportunities here too. However, HR is never going to have a truly significant impact on a business through the improvement of HR processes alone so the greater opportunity is to contribute to the green agenda of the business as a whole.


Green management is defined as the process whereby companies manage the environment by developing environmental management strategies (Lee, 2009) in which companies need to balance between industrial growth and safeguarding the natural environment so that future generation may thrive (Daily and Huang, 2001). 3

“Green HR” is an employment model designed to assist industry professionals in retaining, recalling, preserving, and developing talent needed to ensure future business initiatives and strategies are met. Efficiency afforded by the “Green HR” model can lower operational costs and enables industry professionals to better utilize their investment in knowledge capital.

Green HR is one which involves two essential elements: environmentally friendly HR practices and the preservation of knowledge capital. Green HR involves reducing your carbon footprint via less printing of paper, video conferencing and interviews, etc. Companies are quick to layoff when times are tough before realizing the future implications of losing that knowledge capital. Green HR initiatives help companies find alternative ways to cut cost without losing their top talent; furloughs, part time work, etc.

Retire burdensome paper-based processes and improve productivity Better meet and respond to our client demands
Reduce turnaround times
Improve the look and feel of the workspace
Reduce costs/paper consumption


In recent years, a number of scholars have contributed to the understanding of Green HRM Distinguished policies in the field of recruitment, performance and appraisal management, training and personnel development, employee relations and reward systems are considered powerful tools for aligning employees with a company’s environmental strategy (Renwick, 2008). Therefore Green HRM can decisively contribute to successful environmental management.

One of the main functions of green HRM is to educate the staff on what is done, how it works and how we’re helping the environment. That really develops a sense of pride because, protecting the environment and cutting costs are great reasons for companies to go in the direction towards green HRM.

Green HRM can meet its full potential only by considering employees in their two fold role as producers and consumers. Employees learn different kinds of behavior not exclusively at the workplace, but also in private life. Since reciprocal interactions between working life and private life occur, a “green work-life balance concept” is suggested to facilitate environmentally friendly behavior in both life domains. Here the decisions by the HR managers which can be called “green decisions” are playing a very important role.

HR Green in 2013 is an exciting new initiative to retire paper-based processes and install automated end-to-end processing in the Human Resources area. HR is working closely with University clients and IT professionals in CITS on a three year program of business process improvement activities. The aim is to improve human resource management processes through the use of the very best administration technology. IMPLEMENT AND ENCOURAGE GREEN PRACTICES FOR CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Implement green practices to assist in environmental waste reduction, while promoting and encouraging stewardship growth, better corporate ethics and long-lasting practices that promote both personal and corporate accountability. The value inherent in embracing green aspects of corporate responsibility is clearly understood, given the direct impact that rising energy and utility costs has on employees‟ pocket books. Conservation has become an accepted means of making our planet healthier. Reducing each employee‟s carbon footprint is a great way of getting energy conservation and recycling waste initiatives off the ground. Here are suggestions to start:

1. Recycle paper, cans and bottles in the office; recognize departmental efforts. 2. Collect food and donations for victims of floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters around the globe. 3. Encourage reduced energy consumption; subsidize transit passes, make it easy for employees to car pool, encourage staggered staffing to allow after rush hour transit, and permit telecommuting to the degree possible. 4. Encourage shutting off lights; computers and printers after work hours and on weekends for further energy reductions. 5. Work with IT to switch to laptops over desktop computers. (Laptops consume up to 90% less power.) 6. Increase the use of teleconferencing, rather than on-site meetings and trips. 7. Promote brown-bagging in the office to help employees reduce fat and calories to live healthier lives and reduce packaging waste, too.


It can be assumed that the full potential of Green HRM in theory and practice has not yet been realized. One conceivable deficit which could hamper the greening process is that the green HR policies focus only on employees’ working role. While contemporary HRM already considers the complex array of employees’ work roles and non-work-roles by developing, for instance, work-life balance policies (e.g. Barnett & Hyde, 2001; Elloy & Smith, 2003; Kossek, 2003; Marks & MacDermid,1996), Green HRM to consider the employees private life also to take its full potential.

We need to acknowledge that environmentally relevant attitudes and behaviour are not learned exclusively at the workplace, but also in private life. People have distinctive modes of living. They practice specific consumption patterns in their everyday life, which have different effects on the environment (Reusswig, 1994; Söderholm, 2010). Therefore employees’ private role as consumers is considered crucial for learning and practicing
environmental attitudes and behaviour. Since work-life research has shown that there are complex interactions between people’s roles in working life and private life, both life spheres need to be considered as interdependent (Edwards & Rothbard, 2000; Lambert, 1990; Kanter, 1977). Thus, it is an obvious assumption that private experiences also influence peoples’ environmental behaviour in working life.


The need of the hour is a holistic approach to HRM (Elloy& Smith, 2003),considering employees as human beings is far more appropriate for a successful Green HRM in order to align employees with a company’s environmental strategy. All companies that strive for environmental protection are well advised to pay attention to their employees. As Wehrmeyer (1996, p. 7) already stated in the mid-nineties: “If a company is to adopt an environmentally-aware approach to its activities, the employees are the key to its success or failure”. (Viola Muster, 2011) Green HR policies focus on collective and individual capabilities to bring about green behaviour. Collective capabilities are mainly discussed in relation to cultural characteristics of the company that are considered significant in either restraining or advancing the corporate greening process. Building on the assumption that culture can be managed at all,

Green HR policies are aimed at promoting an environmental corporate culture (Crane, 1995; Fernandez, Junquera,&Ordiz, 2003; Harris & Crane, 2002). Referring to Schein’s much-quoted definition of corporate culture, an environmental corporate culture can be understood “as a pattern of shared basic assumptions” (Schein, 2004, p. 17) about the environment and environmental issues. It is argued that an environmental culture is needed to socialize employees according to a company’s environmental strategy (Fernandez, Junquera, &Ordiz, 2003; Wehrmeyer& Parker, 1996). Once an environmental corporate culture is formed, individual behavioral changes are assumed to be most likely. These cultural improvements are assumed to increase employees’ motivation and their commitment to the company and its environmental ambitions (Govindarajulu& Daily, 2004).

Employees also learn environmental attitudes and behaviour in private life. Employees ‘private environmental performance is closely attached to their individual ways of living and their everyday behaviour (Soderholm, 2010). Tenth AIMS International Conference on Management January 6-9, 2013 1276 Consumption is understood as the process of selection, purchase, usage and disposal of products (e.g. Blackwell, Miniard, & Engel, 2006). Since it is the very nature of consumption to use resources, all consumption behaviour is likewise environmentally relevant behaviour (e.g. Hansen & Schrader, 1997). If environmentally relevant behaviour is practiced in working life and private life, it is likely that employees’ environmental attitudes and activities are generated from experiences in both life spheres.

The impact of Green HRM on “greening employees” will always be influenced by employees’ personal environmental experiences. As a result, Green HRM might fail in realizing its full potential if they focus merely on employees in their working role. On one side, many researches has been conducted into the interface of working life and private life (Edwards &Rothbard, 2000). On the other hand, the implementation and prevalence of work-life balance policies in companies have considerably increased (Kossek& Lambert, 2005). Therefore, for a successful implementation of green HRM policies, linkages between working life and private life are an unavoidable ingredient. Green work-life balance policies to aim at decreasing imbalances in environmentally friendly behaviour by promoting positive influences both from work-to life and from life-to-work. On the one hand, a company can promote environment friendly consumer behaviour in the private life of employees, which can be called work-to-life interventions. On the other hand, companies can encourage employees to use environmentally relevant ideas and experiences they have developed in their private life within their working life which can be called as life-towork interventions.


There is a knowledge gap which leads to the question, what are the dynamics of HR managers’ green decisions and behaviours? HR managers’ decisions
andBehaviours effectuate EM practices and policies (Sharma et al., 1999). Thus, it seems important to understand the unique features of HR managers’ decisions and behaviours which are central to Green HRM, the integration of EM in HRM (Renwick, et al.,2008). This article discusses the use of HRM policies, philosophies, and practicesto promote sustainable use of resources and prevent harm arising from environmental concerns within business organizations, Green HRM depends on the unique and identifiable patterns of green decisions and behaviours of HR managers which are called as “green signatures”. This definition suggests that HR managers’ green signatures are either promotive orpreventive. Promotive green signatures refer to the pattern of behaviours and use of HR practices to promote EM while preventive green signatures refer to the pattern of Behaviours and decisions that prevent negative environmental outcomes. Because HR managers make the integration decisions, their green signatures are very important Managers play a major role in EM (Sharma, Pablo, &Vredenburg, 1999). Their orientation toward EM is affected by their beliefs, attitudes, goals, and values (Crognale,1999; Tinsley &Pillai, 2006).

These green signatures influence environmental management and organizational effectiveness. Green signatures comprise of green decisions and behaviour. While green decisions refer to the formation of intentions and volitions of HR managers to use policies and practices to promote or prevent harm to EM, green behaviours refer to the EM-related role behaviours of HR managers. This view is consistent with promotion and prevention indecision-making (Crowe & Higgins, 1997). Managers with positive effect (i.e., favourable views of EM) are likely to form decisions that motivate employees to exhibit green behaviours; drive the energies of employees towards innovative processes and products, and lead them to form green decisions and adopt role behaviours that advance EM and organizational objectives.

Self-monitoring refers to the process through which individuals regulate their own behaviour in order to “look good” so that they will be perceived by others in a favourable manner (Snyder, 1974). High self-monitoring managers may be concerned about the appropriateness of HR’s response to green decisions. They may also compare their own EM-tendencies with those of
other managers which may lead them to transform their decisions to green role behaviours. Low self-monitors, on the other hand, may be less concerned and therefore less likely to transform green decisions to green behaviours. Self-efficacy which generally refers to an individual’s belief in his/her capability to perform a task or function in a certain manner to attain desired goals has several variants (Bandura, 1997). In this paper, we refer to it as green self-efficacy defined as managers’ belief about their capability to transform green decisions to green role behaviours. Companies like Honda, S.C. Johnson, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, Patagonia, Timberland, and GE have successfully used their environmentally friendly policies to sell their product and gain media exposure.

It is obvious that there are environmental benefits by going green .But there are often a variety of economic and social benefits as well. Do not put off by the initial investment of going green. There are, often incentives to offset the cost. These benefits might come sooner than you think.


A. Green Recruiting:

Recruitment practices can support effective environmental management by ensuringthat new recruits understand an organization’s environmental culture and share its environmental values (Wehrmeyer, 1996). Several surveys conducted in the UK and the US indicate that graduates and other job applicants pay attention to the environmental management practices and performance of companies and use such information when deciding where to seek employment (Wehrmeyer, 1996; Stringer, 2009). Increasing, firms are beginning to recognize that gaining a reputation as a green employer is an effective way to attract new talent (Phillips, 2007; Stringer, 2009). The new thrust of green recruiting is proactive and focuses on making “greenness” a major element of your employment brand.

Some of the reasons why green recruiting is becoming more essential include: Gen Y demands it. This generation has learned about the importance of the
environment and recycling in classes since elementary school. They filter both product purchasing and job selection choices with their green mindset. Educated class demands it

Many job candidates care about it. Although no one has yet quantified the impact that being environmentally friendly has on recruits, if you ask candidates whether working for an environmentally friendly company is important to them, a vast majority will respond with an affirmative. Global candidates can be passionate about it. Some countries around the world are extremely passionate about the environment like Germany, Australia, and Finland etc. As a result, if you expect to recruit the best from around the world, you must be prepared to meet a growing set of eco-expectations as an employer.

Green recruiting is a chance to differentiate you in a recruiting marketplace where standing out from the crowd is already extremely difficult. Incidentally, not only does green recruiting improve your chances of attracting and selling candidates, it’s also your chance as a recruiter to do your part to improve the environment by showing senior management the dollar impact it has on recruiting, retention, and product sales.

B. Performance Measurement:

For current employees, the presence of rigorous metrics for assessing environmental performance signals that environmental rhetoric is likely to be backed up with meaningful action. In addition to meeting the criteria of reliability, validity, and fairness, effective performance appraisals provide useful feedback to employees and support continuous improvements in the firm’s environmental outcome

C. Training, Development, and Learning:

When managers determine that organizational change is necessary to facilitate green HRM, training activities are often among the first area for HRM involvement. A survey of managers’ beliefs about management best practices
that result in employees becoming engaged in eco-initiatives revealed that environmental training and education and Tenth AIMS International Conference on Management January 6-9, 2013 1278 establishing a culture in which employees feel they are accountable for environmental outcomes were the most salient HRM practices for achieving environmental goals (Ramus, 2002). Organizations should develop a cadre of managers and executives capable of leading sustainability initiatives and learning throughout the process. The development of skills such as system thinking and negotiation may take years of experience working within a broad ecosystem of stakeholders (e.g., see Worley, Feyerherm, & Knudsen, 2010) D. Compensation and Rewards:

Monetary and nonmonetary rewards are another potentially powerful tool for supporting green HRM activities. Nevertheless, developing effective monetary incentives can be challenging due to the difficulty of accurately and fairly evaluating environmental behaviours and performance (Fernandez, Junquera, &Ordiz, 2003). In addition, organizations must strive to find the right balance between the use of motivational “carrots” and “sticks.” Among the many HR practices available, incentives and rewards are often presumedto be the most powerful means for connecting organizational interests to employees’interests.


Organizational culture is considered a key determinant and indicator or the success or failure of environmental management programs at companies (Brío, Fernándes, &Junquera, 2007). An organization’s culture embodies the main assumptions, values, symbols and activities within an organization that reflect what the employees and top management think about environmental sustainability issues (Harris & Crane, 2002).As research by Govinda rajulu and Daily (2004) has shown, top management support is central to a green organizational culture.

Organizations pursuing a cost-reduction environmental strategy may find that it is more effective to focus on how and in what ways HRM practices can be used to reduce production and labour costs, e.g., by providing training and
incentives to encourage recycling and waste management, supporting flexible schedules and telecommuting, and reducinglong-distance business travel. Efforts to establish a link between environmental management practices and positive financial outcomes have been somewhat fruitful (e.g., Ambec & Lanoie, 2008;Sharfman& Fernando, 2008). There are evidences to suggest that firms can expect to seean increase in their market value when they announce that they are adopting environmental management systems such as ISO 14001 (e.g., see Jacobs, Singhal, & Subramania, 2010; González-Benito & González-Benito, 2008)


Porter argued that pollution is often associated with a waste of resources (material, energy, etc.), and that more stringent environmental policies can stimulate innovations that may offset the costs of complying with these policies. In fact, there are many ways that improving a company’s environmental performance can lead to better economic or financial performance, and not necessarily to an increase in cost. To be systematic, it is important to look at both sides of the balance sheet: increasing revenues and reducing costs. In the literature, one can find conceptual or theoretical arguments outlining seven opportunities companies can make use of to either increase revenues or reduce costs while at the same time being responsible with the earth’s resources (Lankoski, 2000, 2006; Reinhardt, 2000).Better environmental performance can lead to an increase in revenues through three channels:

(1) Better access to certain markets;
(2) Differentiating products; and
(3) Selling pollution control technology.

Second, better environmental performance can lead to reductions in cost in four categories:

(4) risk management and relations with external stakeholders; (5) cost of material, energy, and services;
(6) Cost of capital; and
(7) Cost of labor.


This has reviewed the literature on environmental management (EM) and HRM, and offered a process model and research agenda forward in Green HRM. In conclusion, future research into Green HRM may provide interesting results for all stakeholders in HRM. For employers and practitioners, these may be to establish the usefulness of linking employee involvement and participation in environmental management programmes to improved organizational environmental performance, perhaps via a specific focus on waste management and recycling; for unions and employees, they may help them lobby employers to adopt Green HRM policies and practices that help safeguard and enhance worker health and well-being; and for academics, they may reveal additional data to add an HRM element to the knowledge base on Green Management in general.


Cite this Green Awareness – HR Professionals

Green Awareness – HR Professionals. (2016, Nov 26). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/green-awareness-hr-professionals/

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