Environmental employee engagement programs promise to raise employee morale, improve social and environmental conditions and strengthen companies' financial performance. Such programs, however, sometimes fail to improve employee engagement, often because employees do not believe in the program's authenticity. This study evaluates peer communication as a mechanism for improving the credibility of employee engagement programs. We use a quasi-experimental research design in which employees from different regional offices of a single company were placed in either a treatment group that experienced a peer communication program or a control group that did not. Pre- and post-test surveys measured employees' affective, cognitive and behavioral engagement with their work. Treatment group employees showed increases in pride in the company's environmental initiatives and accomplishments, confidence in discussing its environmental record with external stakeholders, and awareness of and participation in its employee environmental programs. These changes were significantly greater than what occurred in the control groups, suggesting that the peer communication program was generally effective at improving employee engagement. These results demonstrate new modes of internal communication that can strengthen companies' environmental performance and improve employee-related outcomes.

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Journal of Cleaner Production
Sprott School of Business

Potoski, M. (Matthew), & Callery, P. (2018). Peer communication improves environmental employee engagement programs: Evidence from a quasi-experimental field study. Journal of Cleaner Production, 172, 1486–1500. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.10.252