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November Newsletter: Successfully Developing a Sustainable Workplace

Successfully Developing a Sustainable Workplace

Most people believe in the need to act sustainably to protect the environment, and most business leaders appreciate both the broader benefits and the direct positive impact of sustainable behavior on the bottom line.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies launched a sustainability initiative in 2017 that has really paid off. The program was rewarded not only by engagement levels that far surpassed expectations, but also the accolade of BusinessGreen’s 2017 Employee Engagement Award.

Here’s what they learned from launching this successful program.

1.      Make it fun: Very simply, people are motivated to do things when they are fun. So, find ways to build fun into sustainability initiatives.

2.      Keep it simple: Our brains have limited cognitive capacity; there’s only so much information we can process. Because of this, on a subconscious level, we tend to avoid anything that feels like a hassle. We default to simplicity. Therefore, we can create positive behavior change by making the sustainable option the easy option and the wasteful behaviors more difficult.

3.      Start small: To create long-lasting new habits across the workplace, start with small tasks, things that are easy to do and too small to say “no” to, such as choosing ceramic over paper cups. Small goals are the key to major transformations. They breakdown resistance to change.

4.      Show momentum: Psychologically, a sense of momentum and progress is very powerful. We are much more likely to change behavior when we feel as if we’re in the middle of the journey, rather than at the start of one. Show employees the level of progress towards their sustainability targets in order to boost engagement and drive further change.

5.      Make the effects real: To pack an emotional punch, use imagery and analogy instead of statistics. Our brains weren’t built to contemplate big numbers, so avoid numerical descriptives such as “billions of plastic bottles” people used in a year. Instead translate figures into powerful imagery that people can relate to, like “Did you know there is an island the size of Germany made of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean?”

6.      Show people they’re part of a crowd: We’re social animals and are much more likely to do something if we think others are also doing it. Share data about how other people have already made changes around the business, and the rest of the workforce is likely to follow suit.

7.      Remind people of their values: Often individuals will agree with the importance of conserving the environment and adopting sustainable behaviors, but they don’t actually act on those values. By gently reminding people of their own values at the point of decision making, you can bridge the “intention-action” gap and nudge people out of mindless bad habits and into mindful good ones.

Too often, employee engagement campaigns focus on telling people what to do, comforted by a position of moral high ground but resulting in a limited effect. Instead, consider human behavior first and find ways of encouraging sustainable actions that are easy to do and fun. In doing so, there will be much greater success and embed sustainability into a corporate culture for the long-term.

News from RS&F

David Rosen Presented as an Expert on Opportunity Zones Panel

David Rosen, Esq., CPA, joined leading experts to speak on opportunity zones and their impact on the economy as a part of an Opportunity Zones Panel held Oct. 16. “Opportunity Zones,” often considered one of the most ambitious tax programs in recent history, are aimed at promoting development of underserved communities by providing tax reductions for investors and developers. In Maryland alone, there are 149 designated opportunity zones.
While this tax incentive program is one of the most ambitious, it’s also one of the most complex. Rosen is one of the few experts fully versed on the subject, and has authored the only comprehensive book on it, “The Book on Qualified Opportunity Zones.” Rosen was joined on the panel by Elizabeth Steiff, Esq., of Venable, LLP and Mark Vulcan, Esq., of the Maryland Department of Commerce. The panel focused on the latest regulations on the program as it relates to planning, compliance and investing in opportunity zones.

Jeff Rosen, CPA, Awarded 'Most Admired CEO'

Congratulations to Jeff Rosen, CPA, co-managing partner at RS&F, who was recently named one of Maryland’s 2019 Most Admired CEOs by The Daily Record. This awards program recognizes talented business CEOs and nonprofit executive directors throughout Maryland for their leadership and vision. Rosen was among 31 exceptional leaders in the state to be awarded this prestigious honor.

Rosen is recognized not only for his professional accomplishments but for his leadership and active role in business across the state that makes him an admired leader. Rosen was recently appointed to the Maryland Transportation Authority by Gov. Larry Hogan. He serves as the president of the Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc.’s Board of Directors, is co-chair of the Center Club’s Real Estate and Healthcare Connections, and serves on the board of the G400 Practice Advisory Group at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Rosen and other honorees will be celebrated on Nov. 5 at a dinner at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel.
For more information on the event and the complete list of winners, click here.


RS&F Celebrates Halloween With a Costume Contest

The RS&F team dressed in their spookiest costumes last Thursday for a Halloween Costume Contest. RS&F celebrated with a company lunch and plenty of candy! Pictured below are RS&F's Elissa Gruenberg and Donna Cohen.


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