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Workplace learning with Green Impact at University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield Human Resources department has recognised Green Impact as a workplace learning opportunity that benefits individuals & departments.

Our research shows that staff and students get involved in Green Impact for a number of different reasons. Many simply want to make a difference and take action on the climate crisis and social justice within their organisations, but we're also seeing more and more people recognising the personal and professional benefits of taking part. 

The University of Sheffield has been running Green Impact for the last ten years, and in that time we have seen more than 80 teams take action on sustainability within their departments at the university. The programme has evolved and developed over the years, and now has a focus on departments designing and implementing specific sustainability projects within their workplaces to tackle local sustainability challenges. 

We were really pleased to see that, this year, the Human Resources department at the University of Sheffield (themselves a Gold Award winning Green Impact team!) has recognised Green Impact as a workplace learning opportunity to aid people development. The Green Impact team at Sheffield, with support from SOS-UK, has identified several skills & benefits to individuals taking part in Green Impact, including:

  • Increased knowledge on sustainability issues, some of which can be applied to personal life, such as ways to save energy, reduce waste, and travel smarter
  • Project management - auditing, designing, planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating outputs for Green Impact projects
  • Team Working - working with others as who may be outside usual operational teams, and having opportunity to share knowledge and skills with each other
  • Time management - managing workload effectively and working towards specified deadlines
  • Communication, including influencing skills
  • Ability to transform your department/workplace for the better by introducing impactful projects that will engage with lots of people and make a difference to sustainability
  • Rewarding - sense of pride for your workplace and your contributions (88% of surveyed participants feel good about themselves through taking part in Green Impact nationally)
  • Increased sense of wellbeing - taking time to work on something different to your day-to-day work
  • Increased confidence and accountability through putting forward ideas and bringing them to fruition
  • Opportunity for your and your team's efforts to be recognised and celebrated at the GI Awards Ceremony

Furthermore, benefits to the department and university have also been identified:

  • Potential for financial savings as a result of sustainability actions and projects (e.g. through reduced waste & travel costs)
  • Sense of community created therefore a better working environment for all
  • Staff building new skills that can be applied to their other tasks, and helping them to continue their personal development
  • Social opportunities created through various events, initiatives and volunteering
  • Department/workplace commended and awarded at the GI Awards Ceremony - efforts recognised across University
  • Demonstrate to potential new students and staff that the department is taking sustainability seriously (NUS research shows that 80% of students want their institution to be doing more on sustainability)
  • Potential for increased productivity from staff - allowing them to work on other projects means they are more productive when it comes to their day-to-day work
  • Opportunities for students to work with the department on GI work - integration and increasing student-staff collaboration - NUS research shows that 60% of students want to learn more about sustainability and this is a way for students to learn through the informal curriculum
  • Being in-line with the university's values and strategy on sustainability
  • University efforts recognized on a national scale through the wider Green Impact network - working towards being more sustainable
  • Projects can be replicated where successful to other departments so outcomes can be seen elsewhere and make a bigger overall impact

If you would like to bring Green Impact to your organisation please get in touch. If you already run Green Impact and would like to explore the links to Human Resources, please discuss with your Project Manager.