Recently my colleagues and I had the opportunity to assess a large portfolio of leased spaces for a client that has a strong sustainability agenda. While the organization professed a great awareness of environmental issues, the responses to the survey questions often varied from one facility to another.
When we analyzed the results for the portfolio and presented them to our client, they were surprised to find a significant disparity in the awareness of certain corporate wide policies – for example, purchasing policies or travel policies. In some cases, individual facilities had established their own policies or protocols, not realizing that there was a company-wide policy already in place. Our assessment clearly showed which policies or practices were well understood throughout the organization and identified a few that were largely unknown or were not well understood.
The simple lesson was that having a corporate policy is all but useless unless it is well communicated, preferably with the expressed support of a senior champion. Of equal importance is a periodic checking that policies and procedures are well understood and where this is not the case – taking corrective action.