Wells Fargo's 5 Best Practices for Engaging Your Green Teams

The banking industry has many challenges on its plate right now. At Wells Fargo, one challenge is how to promote the concept of sustainability to over 278,000 team members (as Wells Fargo calls its employees) and embed sustainability into its operations.

I had the opportunity to speak with Krista Van Tassel, Vice President of Environmental Affairs and Team Member Engagement Manager at Wells Fargo. She highlighted Wells Fargo's most promising employee engagement and green teams practices, including:

  • Link green teams to a corporate goal
  • Provide posters and templates with a consistent brand
  • Recognize achievement and participation
  • Link volunteerism to sustainability priorities
  • Engage customers

Green Teams at the Heart of Employee Engagement Strategy

Environmental Affairs at Wells Fargo tackles a range of issues, including operations, products/services, community and team members.

At the heart of its employee engagement strategy is supporting over 50 Wells Fargo Green Teams -- communities of practice groups where team members (employees) voluntarily organize around the subject of green. The teams are organized either around a line of business or a geographical region. As Team Member Engagement Manager, part of Van Tassel's job is to provide resources and structure to the program, without stifling the creativity that is a hallmark of green teams.

Five Green Team Best Practices

About a year ago, GreenBiz.com and I released a white paper, Green Teams: Engaging Employees in Sustainability, which identified 10 best practices for green teams. Building on this paper, this piece highlights five of the green campaigns and communications strategies Wells Fargo is using to engage team members.

1. Link green teams to a corporate goal: "We allocated 3 percent of our greenhouse gas goal to team member behavior changes. Around that, we produced a campaign that encourages people to conserve energy and equipped each of our teams with a suite of communications materials to provide on-the-ground education," explained Van Tassel.

In 2010, Wells Fargo also tackled other topics, including recycling and waste reduction, paper reduction and commute options. The formula it used was a combination of internal communications with a consistent brand to reach all employees using existing major line of business portals (each of the 85 lines of business has its own portal), as well as providing green teams templates and materials to execute on-the-ground campaigns.