As part of its long-term commitment to supporting sustainable development research, Lindéngruppen is financing innovative PhD research into how employees can enable transformational shifts towards sustainable business as active changemakers.
PhD Candidate Elaine Daly is working with the research question “How might a parent company support its group companies to mobilise, empower and continuously support employees to excel as active changemakers, to enable transformational shifts towards sustainable business?” The research, which is looking into how companies like Lindéngruppen can empower their employees to be changemakers for sustainability, began in 2021 and will continue until 2025.
We talk with Elaine about her research and how she expects her work to develop in the coming years.
Hi Elaine, how’s your exciting PhD coming along?
It’s come on really well this past year. I spent the first six months on a literature review that will form the academic bedrock for the work. The end of last year we chose Lindéngruppen company Colart as the primary case study for data collection as they already have a strong people focus and are looking to take the next step in their sustainability work.
How are you collaborating with Colart?
I have worked closely with Jane Beeston, Chief People Officer, and Richard Llywellyn, Chief Sustainability Officer at Colart, to design new ways of listening to Colart employees and their views on Colart’s sustainability work. I conducted interviews with the Colart Executive Team and held focus groups with around 10 percent of the company’s employees to gather their thoughts and experiences on barriers and supports to employee engagement in sustainability. We also further developed the Colart employee survey by adding a new sustainability section, which we will hopefully be able to track over time.
What will employee perspectives on sustainability allow you to do?
Employee thoughts and opinions on sustainability allow us to gauge the current opinions of employees throughout Colart in terms of sustainability, and their vision of Colart’s sustainability work going forward. From the deep and rich data we have, we are investigating how we can best create opportunities for everyone to be a changemaker for the sustainability transition and how we might remove the current barriers to active employee leadership towards sustainability. This involves working closely with Colart’s Sustainability and HR teams.
What are the next steps with your research?
Once we have finished collating our employee data and identified consistencies, inconsistencies and where we have gaps, I plan to gain insights from experts in the field before cycling our findings back with the Lindéngruppen and Colart management teams. We should then be able to focus on removing the barriers that prevent employees becoming changemakers. As Colart employees are already highly engaged, this is more about looking at structural obstacles within the organisation.
What are the implications of your research?
I ultimately plan to develop a robust methodology that can be used to drive sustainability and employee engagement in organisations. Beyond the obvious immediate implications and benefits for Colart, my hope is that our learnings will be useful for other Lindéngruppen companies or external companies. I see disseminating and transferring our learnings to other organisations through publications and social media as an important part of our work.
What are your impressions of Lindéngruppen’s approach to sustainability?
Lindéngruppen and its companies are great subjects for this kind of research as they are already leading the way in terms of corporate sustainability and stakeholder value creation. It’s also so important that the leadership of Lindéngruppen – from owner Jenny Lindén Urnes to the company management teams – is fully committed to sustainability as this filters down to company employees who can then become active changemakers to enable transformational shifts towards sustainable business.