Thursday, May 22, 2008

PEOPLE: SSC Summer Interns

We'd like to take a minute to welcome our new spring interns. They are an intrepid bunch with a wide-ranging skill set, and we're looking forward to tapping into their knowledge!

Brittany Durbin is a freshly minted graduate of Bucknell University where she studied management and studio art, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Her immediate career plans include beginning her first full-time job with Lord & Taylor in New York City this September, entering their esteemed executive trainee program in order to earn job status as a buyer and financial planner. Ms. Durbin is passionate about helping companies become more (if not entirely) sustainable and plans to make this a part of her career in the future. She currently resides in her hometown of Ellwood City, PA, and enjoys all things "Pittsburgh," tennis, music new and old, and art.

Ida Arabshahi is currently a graduate student in a dual MA degree program at American University and the University for Peace in Costa Rica where she is studying natural resources and sustainable development. She has experience working on a wide range of issues in the environmental field including environmental justice, environmental education, and environmental legislation. Ida is interested in sustainable supply chains and transboundary environmental conflict management.

Joe Vandette is currently pursuing undergraduate degrees in Environmental Studies and Marketing at the University of Utah. His interest in sustainability began while studying resource management at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Joe returned to the States and helped conduct carbon emissions inventories as a volunteer at the University of Montana and as an intern at the University of Utah Office of Sustainability. When not involved with sustainability-related initiatives, Joe can be found outdoors, hiking, mountain biking, and snowboarding.

April Hansgate is currently pursuing a master's degree in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology at the University of Maryland. She has a strong background in scientific research, plant conservation, economics, and adaptive management for planning conservation programs.

Claire Miziolek is in her last year as an undergraduate at Cornell University where she has been pursuing a double major in Economics and Psychology. She is interested in combining these skills to assist and promote businesses into more sustainable practices. She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where she lived next to a forest, sparking her early interest in the environment. She is an active member of the Sustainable Enterprise Association at Cornell and recently became a Master Composter.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NEWS: Further Evidence Supporting Positive Impact of Engaged Employees

If you aren’t already convinced of the business case and competitive advantage that can be gained by developing employees who are fully engaged in your organization’s work, the 2008 State of Employee Engagement report, published by BlessingWhite, will turn you into a believer. BlessingWhite, a global consultancy that recognizes the important link between employee engagement and leadership development in creating high-performance and sustainable organizations, released it’s annual report on the state of employee engagement in North America just last month. The report highlights global research and shares strategies for implementing employee engagement initiatives. BlessingWhite also presents a framework that illustrates the five levels of engagement and shares best practices gleaned from interviews with managers around the world.

One of the most noteworthy topics the report addresses is the challenge of varying definitions of “engagement.” While some organizations describe engagement as strictly job satisfaction or emotional commitment to the organization, BlessingWhite’s model for employee engagement blends maximum job satisfaction (employees enjoy what they do and do it well) and maximum job contribution (employees recognize the contribution they are making to the organization’s overall goals). The report also differentiates between engaged and disengaged employees in terms of retention, highlighting that engaged employees stay with a company or job for what they give (they like their work), while disengaged employees stay for what they get (favorable job conditions, growth opportunities or job security). BlessingWhite notes the popular correlation between employee engagement and retention, noting that 85% of engaged employees in North America indicated that they plan to stay with their employer through 2008.

One of the key takeaways of the report is that the most successful organizations implement and multi-faceted approach to employee engagement and consider it an ongoing priority, not just a once-a-year event.

Click here to read highlights and key findings of the report: Employee Engagement Report 2008 – North American Overview – Published April 2008