Diversity and Inclusion is a Winning Strategy for EHS and Sustainability Teams

Latest NAEM report outlines key strategies to improve talent management, employee retention and succession planning
May 2, 2019 1:20 PM ET

Diversity and inclusion strategies are the best way to build high-performance teams, improve employee retention and prepare the EHS&S function for a wave of leadership succession, according to a new report published today by NAEM.

NAEM is the National Association for Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability (EHS&S) Management.

At a time when succession planning is a critical program for leadership at all companies, Executive Director Carol Singer Neuvelt said the report offers fresh thinking to inform EHS&S staffing strategies.

“If you’re looking to strengthen your team’s influence across silos or remain competitive in a tight labor market, you need to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of your culture,” Ms. Neuvelt said. “These programs are increasingly vital to delivering business value now and into the future.” 

The report, “Why Diversity and Inclusion is a Winning Strategy for EHS&S Teams” provides the business case for those who are unfamiliar with the topic, strategies to help leaders build a program from scratch and tips from recognized diversity and inclusion leaders. It also features case studies from CVS Health, American Electric Power Co. Inc., EY, Schneider Electric SA and GHD, a global professional services firm, which sponsored the report.

Among the key insights highlighted in the report is that diversity and inclusion is about more than hiring practices alone. As GHD Principal Gregory Carli explains, adopting these as core business values introduces a conversation around whether your workplace encourages employees to share talents — and what you can do create those optimal conditions.

After conducting its own internal review, for example, the firm created new flexible scheduling opportunities for employees to have better work-life balance and updated its performance metrics beyond billable hours alone.

“Our goal is to create a work environment where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is just one way that we are building a business that empowers our employees, is responsive to change, and ultimately, delivers more value,” Mr. Carli said.

These kinds of bold strategies are precisely what today’s employees are looking for, Ms. Neuvelt said.

“At the leadership levels, EHS&S is as much about building a culture as it is solving specific challenges,” she said. “It’s important for those who are shaping the future of the profession to be deliberate about what that future looks like.”

The report is available for complimentary download at naem.org/diversity-inclusion thanks to financial support from GHD.

About NAEM

The National Association for environmental, health and safety, and sustainability (EHS&S) Management (NAEM) empowers corporate leaders to advance environmental stewardship, create safe and healthy workplaces and promote global sustainability. As the leading business community for EHS&S decision-makers, we provide engaging forums, a curated network, peer benchmarking, research insights and tools for solving today’s corporate EHS&S management challenges. Visit us online at naem.org.