Role-based ESG: How to capture workforce attention

Employee involvement and engagement in ESG initiatives improves drastically when the impact is properly measured. That’s why Sysmax CEO, Peter McAteer insists only on role-based ESG, combined with strong data governance.

Your employees could be doing great things for ESG beyond car-pooling and ditching single-use cups. However, the data that shows this is often hidden — or worse, never captured at all. If you suspect this is the case for your enterprise, you’re definitely not alone.

According to the Governance & Accountability Institute, we’ve reached an all-time high in sustainability reporting. The G&AI points out that 96% of today’s S&P 500 companies publish ESG reports in some form, along with 81% of Russell 1000 companies. ESG has emerged as a mainstay in boardroom discussions, yet still the impact on the average employee remains under explored. From C-suite to middle management and operational roles, ESG responsibilities can be effectively embedded across all roles. And data hygiene is the linchpin to success.

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Data is the key to real change

Within organisations large and small, there will always be a great deal of data and data touch points. However, much of what’s collected isn’t suitable for informing decision-making at any level. Put simply, there’s an extensive amount of collected data which isn’t fit for purpose. For role based ESG to be successful, a data-centric culture must be adopted across a company. The real challenge is in engaging employees at all levels to embrace this approach.

How do we move with momentum for change that’s driven by employees, rather than from the top down?

The solution isn’t a didactic approach. Instead it lies in using qualitive data to validate employee actions. In this way individuals are validated in their actions and engaged in the decision-making processes, rather than feeling that they are simply paying lip service to a corporate goal.

By measuring data through different tasks and communicating the results across their organisation, employers can empower their teams as individuals. This is how we can encourage a data-centric culture and in the same heartbeat measure the results of the changes our employees are empowered to make.

By assigning ESG-related tasks and responsibilities across various roles, companies can cultivate a culture of sustainability and social responsibility. This can lead to improved job satisfaction and morale as employees see how their work contributes to a broader, positive societal impact.

How data driven ESG can overcome greenwashing

It’s essential that companies implement these strategies thoughtfully. ESG responsibilities should be embedded in a way that’s relevant and manageable for each role. This means providing the necessary resources, training, data and support so employees can effectively contribute to the organisation’s ESG goals.

For role based ESG to be successful, it’s crucial that these efforts are genuine and not perceived as greenwashing. If employees feel the company is using ESG initiatives as a mere public relations strategy, it could lead to cynicism. Therefore transparency, honesty, and commitment to change are vital when implementing role based ESG strategies. And it’s here that data capture and the adoption of a data-centric culture come into play.

All organisations can continuously improve and support ESG best practices. Capturing workforce contributions is a necessary first step, and this in turn helps shape and drive the evolution of ESG across the enterprise.

How do we move with momentum for change that’s driven by employees, rather than from the top down?

Peter McAteer
Founder and CEO, Sysmax


Together at every level

Energy transition remains a hugely complex subject and the ongoing debate around it looks set to continue for the next 50+ years. Boards, CEOs, CFOs, and other executives can strategise, measure, and communicate their ESG commitments. Simultaneously, mid management can oversee the implementation and supervision of ESG projects, with operational staff involved in day-to-day activities.

Those organisations which embrace a role-based approach to ESG are most likely to thrive, reaping benefits such as improved risk management, enhanced reputation, and increased profitability. ESG should not be relegated to a boardroom niche, but integrated as a crucial, strategic component across roles in forward-thinking businesses.


Peter McAteer
Founder and CEO, Sysmax

Peter McAteer is the founder and CEO of Sysmax; a market-leader in the provision of Enterprise Management Systems covering Compliance, Risk and Competency Management. Sysmax provides Compliance as a Service (CaaS) in organisations where adherence to best practice is critical to meet operational standards.