The emerging worldwide concern for the environment has forced several business organizations, such as Baker Hughes, to adopt sustainable management and green human resource (HR) practices, which are aimed at improving their environmental performance. Green HR management, a product of corporate sustainability and environmental conservation, focuses on hiring environmentally cognizant employees and leveraging their expertise to raise business environmental performance. The implementation of green HR management practices is dependent not only on the hiring and training of environmentally competent staff but also on the issuance of green rewards and compensations to dedicated employees. Apart from compliance with environmental laws, green HR management practices have enabled companies, such as Baker Hughes and Marks and Spencer, to improve the satisfaction and motivation levels of their employees, thus giving them a competitive advantage over their competitors. Green HR management practices promote employee motivation, satisfaction, and job satisfaction, thus directly enhancing business environmental performance.
Green HR Management
Green HR management practices are concerned with hiring and training environmentally competent employees. Though the concept of Green HR management was developed in the late 1980s, it only became widely accepted in the 21st century, with the mainstream adoption of the notion of corporate sustainability. Jabbar and Abid (2014) define green HR management as the enactment of green policies, philosophies, and practices with the aim of instituting environmental management and awareness creation among employees on matters concerning environmental conservation and sustainability. Therefore, the notion of green HR management is mainly concerned with using employees to support and promote environmentally-sustainable practices, such as recycling and environmental conservation. Linked closely to the notion of green HR management is the concept of environmental management. According to Jabbar and Abid (2015), environmental management, a component of general management, leverages organizational planning, responsibilities, codes of practice, procedures, processes, and other necessary means for developing, implementing, managing, reviewing, and maintaining environmental policies in the workplace. Green HR management aims at improving business environmental performance by focusing on employees as they are central to the core operations of all businesses.
Green HR Management Practices
Green HR Management practices include hiring and training environmentally-cognizant employees and their appraisal, rewarding, and compensation. Jabbar and Abid (2015) aver that several businesses have failed to improve on their environmental performance due to the intricate nature of implementing green HR management practices. Environmentally competent and cognizant employees are central to the concept of green HR, and, therefore, businesses employing green HR management have to seek and recruit workers that have a passion for environmental conservation. Training and development of employees on matters of sustainability is another core element of green HR management practice. Yusoff et al. (2020) elucidate that organizations that implement green HR management have to invest in staff training and development as it motivates employees to achieve higher performance levels, thus drastically improving their environmental performance. The issuance of green rewards and compensation to environmentally-competent employees is also a key element of green HR management practice. Green rewards and compensations are the tangible and intangible awards granted to individuals for their dedicated efforts in conserving the environment (Kansal, 2019). Green rewards may take the form of praise, granting of work autonomy, or promotions, and are incentives for promoting environmental performance.
Impact of Green HR Management on Environmental Performance
Green HR management practices result in higher levels of employee satisfaction, thus positively impacting business environmental performance. According to a study conducted by Jabbar and Abid (2015), employees hired based on their environmental competence and given further training on sustainability achieve higher levels of satisfaction, and therefore, they are more interested in improving business environmental performance. Job satisfaction is defined as the contentment and commitment employees have with their jobs and the sense of accomplishment that they derive from it (Singh et al., 2020). Employees who are satisfied with their jobs are more willing and encouraged to play an active role in green programs, such as tree planting and recycling than those who are not (Singh et al., 2020). Singh et al. (2020) argue that satisfied employees are responsible for their immediate environment, and therefore, commit to the implementation of green initiatives aimed at enhancing environmental performance. Thus, employees who are satisfied with their jobs are inclined to reduce the damages to their environment by adopting sustainable corporate practices in their operations.
Green HR management practices improve employee job satisfaction in several ways. According to Jabbar and Abid (2015), green HR management practices increase employee engagement and participation in divergent business operations, hence making workers feel valued and appreciated. Employees who are continuously engaged in the day-to-day operation of a business are highly likely to be satisfied compared to those whose participation is limited (Renwick et al., 2013). Involving employees in the day-to-day business operations is an integral element of green HR management, and this makes workers feel valued, thus more satisfied. The concept of green rewards and compensations also improves employees’ satisfaction as it makes them feel that their efforts are appreciated. Green HR management focuses on employee training and development that is integral to raising workers’ job satisfaction. According to Renwick et al. (2013), adequately trained and prepared employees are more satisfied with their jobs as they have the requisite skills needed to tackle the rigors of their professions. Through employee training and development, green rewards and compensation, and workplace engagement, the notion of green HR management practices improve job satisfaction, which is an integral element for business environmental performance.
Green HR management practices promote employee motivation that is essential for improved environmental performance. The concept of employee motivation, with regard to environmental performance, is concerned with the notion of a worker’s willingness to participate in environment-friendly activities and exert effort to realize the organization’s environmental objectives (Pascal et al., 2012). Employee motivation is integral to achieving improved business environmental performance as motivated workers are highly likely to implement green programs compared to disillusioned employees. Highly motivated employees are interested in improving their work environments and are, therefore, inclined to implement green programs. Pascal et al. (2012) argue that a highly-motivated staff is highly likely to experiment with green ideas, and hence, may not only implement but also invent and improve their company’s environmental conservation efforts. Motivated employees are also keen to protect the long-term profitability of their company, and this informs their decision to engage in green projects. According to Sing et al. (2020), success in the contemporary corporate culture is measured on the basis of corporate sustainability that takes into account not only the profits made by a company but also the environmental conservation projects it undertakes. Motivated employees keen to ensure the success of their business organizations engage in green programs so as to attract consumers, with the majority of these being environmentally conscious.
Several green HR management practices contribute towards employee motivation, thus positively impacting business environmental performance. Green HR management practices focus on employee training and development that is a critical element of improving workers’ motivation. According to Kansal (2019), employee training and development is a significant, motivating factor that enables employees to increase not only their performances but also general productivity. Green HR management practices also train employees on matters related to environmental conservation, thus making them adept and receptive to pro-environmental causes (Paillé et al., 2014). The green rewards and compensation offered to employees in the course of Green HR management practices make employees feel that their actions are appreciated, and thus, positively impacting their motivation. Workers also engage in green projects and other initiatives aimed at environmental conservation in order to receive green rewards and compensation hence promoting environmental performance in the process. According to Kansal (2019), by promising green rewards and compensations to their workers, businesses massively motivate their staff to engage in environmentally-conscious projects, thus improving their environmental performance. The green HR management practices of employee training and development and green rewards and compensation massively motivate employees, hence improving business environmental performance.
Green HR management practices empower employees in several ways, thus directly impacting business environmental performance. According to Sing (2020), the notion of employee empowerment is concerned with improving workers’ skills and ability to cope with daily work pressures. Green HR management empowers employees by subjecting them to environmentally-cognizant training and development. Sing (2020) espouses that empowered employees are highly likely to implement green projects and initiatives as they understand the importance of environmental conservation. Financial remunerations, rewards, recognition, and compensation are also integral in employee empowerment as they elevate the status of workers in their workplace. Rewards and compensations, which form an integral element of green HR management, are essential in employee empowerment as they recognize employees for their dedication towards environmental conservation. Through both training and the issuance of rewards, green HR management empowers employees, thus promoting environmental performance.
Efficiency and Waste Reduction
Green HR management practices promote efficiency and waste reduction, thus promoting business environmental performance. Renwick et al. (2013) posit that green HR management practices promote business efficiency by training employees on how to produce at their peak while expending minimum resources. By reducing wastage through efficient processes, businesses save on energy, and therefore, promote environmental conservation. Moreover, through waste reductions, companies minimize their expenditure, and hence, save financial resources that they can use to invest in green programs aimed at conserving the environment. For example, multinational retailer Marks and Spenser (M&S), which adopted green HR management practices in 2011, saved $22 million through energy efficiency in the 2012 financial year (Renwick et al., 2013). The savings enabled M&S to allocate $10 million towards the implementation of green projects in all of its branches globally (Renwick et al., 2013). Green HR management practices, such as green recruitment, enable companies to hire staff that is passionate about environmental conservation, and thus, strong advocates of efficiency and the fight against greenhouse gasses emission. Green recruitment’s focus on business efficiency enables businesses to reduce wastage hence is integral to improving environmental performance.
Sustainability and environmental conservation are integral elements of the modern-day business environment. Green HR management is a corporate sustainability concept that leverages the central role employees play in companies’ operations to improve business environmental performance. Green HR management comprises various practices, such as green recruitment, training and development, performance appraisal, and rewards. The concept of green HR management positively impacts environmental performance by promoting employee satisfaction, empowerment, and motivation. The green HR management practice of employee appraisal also positively impacts environmental performance by promoting efficiency and waste reduction.
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