November 29, 2016

How to leverage Sustainable Development – People, Planet, Prosperity – to advance employee engagement

Beau Daane, M.A., MBA, Director of Sustainable Development

People, Planet, Prosperity

These days ‘engagement’ is a big buzz word in business. What does it mean? How do you motivate employees to achieve their daily work responsibilities and to go the extra mile, to exhibit that discretionary effort beyond what is required? A 2013 Gallup study found that approximately 13% of employees are ‘engaged’ at work. What about all the others? Consider these definitions:

  • “Engaged employees are builders, they use their talents, develop productive relationships, and multiply their effectiveness through those relationships. They perform at consistently high levels. They drive innovation and move their organization forward.” – Gallup
  • “An ‘engaged employee’ is one who is fully involved in, and enthusiastic about his or her work, and thus will act in a way that furthers the organization’s interests. How can we get more? Embedding social & environmental considerations into the company’s purpose, strategy & operations is the best way to go.” – Chris Laszlo & Nadya Zhexembayeva, Embedded Sustainability: The New Big Competitive Advantage

At Fairmount Santrol, one way we measure engagement is through participation on our 13 Sustainable Development (SD) Teams and through volunteering. Each Fairmount Santrol Family Member has 40 hours per year of paid volunteer time available to them. This is a remarkable benefit, and since 2005 our Family Members have collectively donated over 107,000 hours of paid volunteer time, making a real difference in the communities where we operate. This benefit adds value to Fairmount Santrol because our Family Members build goodwill in the communities and find meaning and purpose in their volunteering, leading them to be more engaged at work.


Our 13 Sustainable Development Teams provide opportunities for Family Members to develop skills outside of their primary job functions. Read here about how Family Members like Nicole and Cole, in customer service and IT, respectively, grew both personally and professionally through leading SD Teams. Thus, SD helps advance learning, professional development, and engagement.

When we encourage our Family Members to grow their passion and make a real difference, to learn new skills, think outside the box and create new value, they bring a new energy and passion to their daily jobs. Our Family Members truly are united and empowered, yes, even engaged to make a positive impact in their own lives, on our company, and in the communities where we operate. Fairmount Santrol benefits from our commitment to Sustainable Development – People, Planet, Prosperity – by living the empowered, engaging motto of “Do Good. Do Well.” Learn more about our commitment to social responsibility below and consider how a focused effort on Sustainable Development might advance engagement for your organization.

Our commitment to social responsibility