Internal Engagement Strategies & Best Practices

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Internal Engagement Strategies & Best Practices

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Greetings!  My name is Josh Henretig, and I’m a Senior Environmental Field Manager here at Microsoft.  What on earth does THAT mean?  I’m responsible for building and managing a global community of “environmental leads” inside Microsoft who, as ambassadors for the company in their country or region, are responsible for localizing our company environmental strategy. Through this internal field organization, we’re focused on reducing employee travel, driving energy efficiency improvements in their local offices, engaging with customers and partners on the role of technology for environmental sustainability and for connecting with local policy makers to advance how Information Technology (IT) can enable a low carbon economy. 

We formally launched this “internal engagement” program within Microsoft a little over a year ago and as a result have some inspiring stories of success as well as some great learning and growth opportunities to address in the future. As part of a new blog series on Environmental Sustainability @ Microsoft, I wanted to share some of those success stories as well as the learning opportunities along the way in hopes they inform your own internal engagement efforts. But before we get to the stories themselves, let me explain a little bit about Microsoft culture and how we approached environmental sustainability for the company.

Microsoft has a matrix organizational structure which basically means that we create shared responsibilities and goals in order to encourage collaboration opportunities across the various functional areas of our business.  Our ability to achieve these goals – in this case, the environmental goals and commitments we have made -- largely depends on how well we partner with other internal organization who share our responsibilities.

With that context, we developed an internal engagement and enablement strategy for environmental sustainability that focused on the following core objectives:

1.       Establish the right leaders and virtual teams to execute our environmental strategy in local countries

2.       Identify and enable operational practices to reduce energy from buildings, and to reduce carbon from business travel, and that support our global carbon reduction goal

3.       Engage with customers and partners on the role of technology to address energy and environmental challenges 

 Once we had identified the right stakeholders in key geographies, we then worked with these “environmental leads” to establish baselines for their environmental activity level – such as, did they already know how much energy their office buildings were consuming? How many miles were they traveling per year? Did they have recycling programs established in country? Were they already working with customer and partners on Green IT solutions?  Etc.  Because not every country was at the same level of sophistication with regards to sustainability, we developed a model that we could use to more accurately assess the country’s relative maturity against their peers, and also track progress across both developed and developing countries.

With our baselines set, we partnered with each country’s appointed “environmental lead” to develop a plan that was appropriate for the country and aligned with our broad company goals and strategy. Each month we convened on conference calls to discuss relevant global issues, share broad company updates/developments, and most importantly, share best practices that resulted from the plans that each “environmental lead” developed.  

In my next post, I’ll share some of the great work that resulted from across the company.

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  • Great to hear that, look forward to seeing your next post

  • Great display of leadership and transparency by Microsoft.  Baseline metrics, reduction goals, global coordination and knowledge sharing are the keys to success.

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