Gartner Inc.

12/05/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/04/2023 21:11

Gartner HR Survey Finds 84% of Employees Believe Their Organization Lacks a Strong Sustainability Culture

Only 16% of employees say their organization currently has the knowledge, mindset and behaviors needed for a strong culture of sustainability, according to Gartner, Inc. This is despite 67% of employees rating sustainability-related issues as highly important.

A June 2023 Gartner survey of nearly 3,500 employees found that only 31% of employees say their organization provides resources to support environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. However, if organizations get it right, a strong culture of sustainability can improve employee engagement by up to 43%.

Speaking at the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference in Sydney today, Aaron McEwan, vice president, advisory in the Gartner HR practice said, "There is currently a huge opportunity for HR leaders to build a stronger culture of sustainability and realize these engagement benefits."

Gartner recommends HR leaders work with managers to align with employees on what sustainability is and why it matters to the organization, then build connectedness so they feel that sense of care and belonging.

Drive Employee Alignment
According to Gartner's 3Q23 Global Talent Monitor (GTM) data, only 9.2% of Australian employees believe their organization has taken action or made a statement on environmental, political, social or humanitarian issues.

"To build a culture of sustainability and reap the benefits of engaging with the workforce, HR leaders must ensure all employees have a clear understanding of the organization's sustainability goals, as well as how they can contribute," said McEwan. "Involving employees in co-defining what sustainability means for the organization is critical, as well as in prioritizing initiatives that meet corporate goals."

Once defined, Gartner recommends HR leaders share any sustainability definitions and goals more widely within the organization, so individuals know what the culture is, believe it is right for the organization, and know how they can get involved.

Build Employee Connectedness
The June 2023 survey also revealed only 39% of employees agree that their manager cares about their professional goals related to ESG issues. Personal connection is vital if organizations want to increase employee involvement in creating a culture of sustainability.

"Managers are creating a bottleneck, which in many cases unintentionally limits employee engagement and ultimately strains the sustainability culture," said McEwan. "The good news is that managers already have the skills and experience to support and engage employees, they just need to apply it to the company's sustainability goals and initiatives."

Gartner recommends HR leaders support managers to identify the individual sustainability goals and interests of their employees; use the team environment to support skills development to advance capabilities beyond just individuals; and drive belonging by connecting employees to wider organizational sustainability efforts.

"The more people employees connect to, the greater the likelihood they will find opportunities to contribute meaningfully and increase their connection to the sustainability culture," said McEwan. "It also decreases the pressure on managers to be the single point of contact, and potential bottleneck, for employees to engage with."

McEwan added, "When employees can see, understand and contribute to their organization's sustainability objectives, HR leaders and managers reap the benefits of increased engagement, and organizations will get closer to achieving their goals."

About the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference
The Gartner ReimagineHR Conference is the premier event for CHROs and HR leaders to learn from the latest research and Gartner experts covering talent acquisition, diversity, equity and inclusion, learning and development, total rewards, talent analytics, and HR technology. Gartner ReimagineHR is taking place in Sydney on December 4-5. Follow news and updates from this event on social media using #GartnerHR.

About the Gartner HR Practice
The Gartner HR practice brings together the best relevant content approaches across Gartner to offer individual decision makers strategic business advice on the mission-critical priorities that cut across the HR function. Additional information is available at

Follow news and updates from the Gartner HR practice on X and LinkedIn using #GartnerHR. Members of the media can find additional information and insights in the Gartner HR Newsroom.