Sustainability is vital to an organisation’s long-term success, as forward-looking business leaders are increasingly recognising. While profitability remains a top priority, it is nevertheless of equal, if not greater, importance that the organisation be economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable as well.
This perspective makes perfect sense from an ethical standpoint, but it is also sound business practice. Profitability and sustainability need not be mutually exclusive; indeed, neither can exist without the other for an extended period of time.
In fact, a recent report found a clear link between strong integration of environmental, social and corporate governance; and better overall performance. Companies that practice more effective management of their resources tend to have better valuations, because they spend less money and have stronger risk profiles.
Moreover, investors, stakeholders, and the general public now expect businesses to be socially and environmentally responsible. Put simply, people want to see projects that deliver tangible environmental or social benefits.
Developing a sustainable organisation is the best way to thrive in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. But how does an organisation get there?
It takes a village
Leadership is needed to inculcate a culture of sustainability within an organisation. If the C-level people in the company are genuinely committed to environmental and social responsibility, other members of the organisation will be much more likely to get on board with the concept.
However, having leadership onboard does not mean that all ideas must come from the top. If leaders can foster an environment where the employees are engaged in collaboration and open dialogue, great ideas can emerge from anywhere in the organisation.
Team-building activities are an excellent way to get the creative juices flowing. These activities often have a reputation for being tedious, but such outcomes occur only when the leaders responsible have failed to plan them properly. A well-crafted, fun-filled team-building event that does not feel like an ordinary day at the office can bring myriad benefits to the employees themselves as well as the larger organisation. Foremost among these benefits is idea generation – the engine for developing new systems and processes.
From agile employees to an agile organisation
There has lately been much talk in the corporate world around the concept of agility, which involves flexible internal structures and plenty of space for idea sharing. An agile organisation will be better equipped to face disruption, changing market conditions, new competition, and any other unforeseen obstacles which may arise.
But an organisation is only as agile as its people. When companies organise team-building activities that engage their employees, each individual will be much more likely to become personally invested in the organisation’s success.
Employees that learn to work as a team will develop an agile mindset that carries over to their day-to-day activities. This collective effort, where risk is encouraged and hierarchy is of secondary importance, provides fertile ground for teams to come up with innovative solutions to the issues of the day.
Leaning forward into new territory
Our own recent experiences with agility training and workshops have been as illuminating as they are inspiring. Employees from Grant Thornton Thailand and Grant Thornton Singapore recently met in Hua Hin for an exciting weekend of team-building and brainstorming activities. The goal was to come up with ideas on how we as a business can be more socially, economically, and environmentally responsible.
Our teams came up with some terrific ideas, which we will be implementing over the months ahead. Just as importantly, however, they gained valuable experience in working together on difficult, open-ended problems requiring creative solutions. The collaborative skills they practised are precisely the same ones that will lead Grant Thornton forward through a new decade of technological change and economic development.
By basing sustainable new solutions on our common values and sense of community, our teams are preparing themselves for a new generation of successful innovation, to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
As an organisation, Grant Thornton aims to interact meaningfully with the communities in which we operate, as we contribute to society through outreach programmes and our business expertise. It’s not just about profits for us. It’s about being a fair employer, a good corporate citizen, and setting the right example for others to follow.