KeyBank has a strong culture of aligning community and employee engagement in the name of corporate responsibility. With a focus on creating new employee behaviors that enable sustainable operations, KeyBank launched its first ever Green Office Week. The purpose of this week was to launch a collection of events aimed at getting employees involved in company-wide efforts to increase efficiency, improve the environment, and promote health and wellness.
Andrew Watterson is the Head of Sustainability in charge of Green Office Week. Having joined the team in 2014, he uses his sustainability and organizational change expertise to lead the bank in the development and execution of a sustainability strategy that positions the bank for growth. In his role, he works with the Corporate Responsibility team and bank leadership to help KeyBank balance margin and mission and to achieve dependable results.
How does employee engagement in sustainability programs help KeyBank and its customers?
Employee engagement programs help boost morale and keep our workforce up to date with all the new initiatives going on. By sharing ideas across the enterprise, we’re enabling employees to look at new ways of doing things. It’s important to us that our employees are involved in bringing new ideas into the company and that’s why we launched a new program that emphasizes continuous improvement.
Through this program, our employees are proposing new products and service offerings and their peers vote on the ideas and vet them out. If the ideas are ranked highly and make it through the test, we then send those ideas to the appropriate department to be launched. This makes employees feel heard and they can see their impact on helping to make our company more efficient and to deliver better service and shareholder value to stakeholders.
How do employees serve the business and their communities during this week?
This is our first Green Week. Right now, the focus is on internal KeyBank projects and how we can improve our business by being more sustainable.
Our confidential document management vendor, Cintas Document Management, partners with us on Shred Day to offer employees the opportunity to bring in their own confidential documents to be shredded and recycled..
We also have an internal e-waste program provided by Regency Technologies that picks up electronics that are ready for recycling. Employees are excited to participate in these programs. During Green Office Week, we collected 5 ½ tons of paper and e-waste from employees. Through our vendors, nearly 100% of this waste will be recycled.
Reducing paper has been a long term goal for KeyBank. How did the company reduce back office print by 60% in the last 5 years?
We’ve engaged our technical teams and vendor partners to help manage all that is possible with changes to printers, servers, and printing rights. We’re in the banking industry which is still a paper intensive industry, in part, due to regulations. We are working hard to reduce consumption, but it is the classic example of colleagues following old practices of printing emails and other documents out of habit. .
The 60% reduction was gained by setting limits on printing, enabling secure printing, and having badge swipes at the printer.
We’ve implemented many IT programs to curb the use of printing, and we’re at the stage where the biggest improvements will now be seen by changing behaviors.
We know however, that business is changing.
More clients are demanding that their transactions be electronic. We are working to deliver all that we can within the banking guidelines. We see a high percentage of our customers moving to mobile banking and e-statements and that is driving change internal and external to KeyBank. We have had tremendous growth in mobile usage, resulting in a 40 percent increase in mobile web and mobile app users with more than 350,000 active mobile accounts and more than 750,000 total app downloads. In addition, more than 80 percent of our consumer accounts utilize e-statements.
Electronic waste is a big business concern for many companies. How did KeyBank divert 100% of its e-e-waste from landfills in the last 2 years?
We’re a highly regulated industry for both paper and recycling, the same goes for e-waste. We’ve contracted with a vendor that helps us manage the security and privacy. This enables us to have tight controls and to be sustainable.
Confidentiality of data and client security is top priority. We have to take that into serious consideration when we launch sustainability efforts. In addition to the state, federal, and banking industry guidelines, our vendor has their own tightly managed efforts and regulations to meet.
We used a company called Regency Technologies (http://www.regencytechnologies.com/index.asp) to help us launch, manage, and collect e-waste during the program.
What type of resources and budget has KeyBank committed to ensuring the success of these projects?
We have a dedicated sustainability group comprised of two dedicated full time employees, and we also leverage the resources from within the business. Managers across the company support activities across the enterprise.
. We are also able to leverage our corporate facilities and procurement teams to help embed sustainability into all the leasing and management contracts they oversee.
Was there one thing you discovered that was unexpected?
Yes! When we first announced to employees that we were going to hold a Green Week, we got a tremendous response from people wanting to volunteer.
To start, we focused on our Cleveland campus. We sent out a targeted email campaign to the Cleveland employees and by the end of the day, we got 120 people emailing back saying that they wanted to be part of our efforts. Think about that! How many inbox emails typically go ignored? We had a bigger response than we expected and as a result we were able to easily kick off our programs. The response rate was far better than we ever expected.
We were even more surprised by the number of people who attended our lunch and learn sessions. We explained that because this was our first Green Week, we wanted to find out if there were easy things we could all tackle and get some quick wins under our belt and set a baseline for next year.
There were so many great ideas! One person suggested a Sustainability Walk, another focused on inconsistencies in signage for recycling, another talked about blended stream recycling, and others mentioned the simple task of walking all of our building floors and reporting back to the facilities people on missing recycling bins and inconsistencies. All of the volunteers were thinking about how we can do things in a better way. That is exactly the spirit we intended when we launched Green Week.
If this is a company’s first Green Week, I would recommend picking one location to test the waters. Think about all of the coordination that goes into the initiatives to be launched and how many vendors needed. Think about the internal marketing required to get employees excited, and make sure that if a commitment or obligation to employees is made, that it is fulfilled.
A funny last anecdote: we also held a food waste day where we were focused on minimizing what gets thrown away and the needs for composting. According to Sodexo, we might want to choose another week for managing and monitoring food waste. They noticed there is no waste on sushi day in the cafeteria!