Build A Hybrid Sustainability Team

Dazzle is the world's first platform that matches organizations to vetted sustainability freelancers. Build a flexible layer around your full-time sustainability team in-house. As sustainability has seasonalities, you can work with on-demand support from external specialists. Building a sustainability team that can cover all the aspects of the field internally is challenging. Learn how to overcome that hurdle.




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What is a hybrid sustainability team?

A hybrid sustainability team is a flexible layer around your in-house team. Rather than solely relying on the full-time team, the organization involves external consultants or advisors who specialize in sustainability. These could be environmental scientists, regulatory compliance experts, or sustainability strategists who bring cutting-edge knowledge and innovative practices to the table.

Other organizations might not have a sustainability department. We see this more often in SMEs, where sustainability is not (yet) a full-time function. In this case, responsibilities are often spread across roles within HR, Communications, Finance, or other departments. A hybrid sustainability team could add to the capacity and capabilities of the organization. 

What does a hybrid sustainability team do?

Hybrid sustainability teams help organizations navigate the broad and ever-changing field of sustainability. 

The activities and responsibilities of such a team can be broad and change often over time, which is one of the benefits of working with a hybrid team. Imagine constantly being able to add the missing piece to the puzzle that is your sustainability strategy.

You can work with external strategists to develop comprehensive sustainability strategies that align with the company’s overall business objectives. 

You can work with freelancers to develop policies and procedures that enforce the sustainability strategy across all departments. This could include everything from environmental management protocols to guidelines for sustainable procurement for the purchasing team.

Work with experienced project managers to lead specific sustainability projects, such as renewable energy installations, waste reduction programs, or sustainability reporting. 

For stakeholder engagement, you can work with an expert to communicate with and involve various stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, regulators, and community groups. 

If sustainability reporting is a skill that you're missing within the organization, you can hire a freelancer to monitor the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives through key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. They can also prepare reports for internal and external audiences in accordance with the standards and frameworks that are relevant to your organization. 

Hybrid sustainability teams emphasize knowledge transfer either while supporting on a specific project, or by providing training and workshops that upskill your in-house team. 

Lastly, regulatory compliance is a key topic that hybrid teams can support. Specialists in environmental laws and regulations can be a valuable addition to your hybrid team. They also assess and manage risks associated with environmental issues, such as resource scarcity, environmental liabilities, and public perception.

With Dazzle, we give you access to the best freelance sustainability talent to build your hybrid team. In this overview, we will talk you through: 

How to build a hybrid sustainability team 
When & why you should build a hybrid sustainability team
The benefits of a hybrid sustainability team

How do you build a hybrid sustainability team?

There are 5 key steps to build a hybrid sustainability team: 

1. Review your current sustainability strategy

To build your hybrid team, you need to have a very clear list of priorities for, at least, the year to come. This is an important step to reflect before you start looking for resources.  Highlight the most important milestones that you need to achieve, and work your way back from there. 

2. Perform a skill gap analysis of your in-house team

Once you understand your priorities, you can assess which actions you will be able to take with your in-house team, and for which steps you need to seek outside support. Make a long list of all the skills you have in-house, whether it's within the sustainability department or across other teams, and then another list with all the skills you need to achieve your goals this year. Our recommendation would be to start with a long list of your ideal scenario, so you can prioritize from there.  If, for example, you need to complete a Life Cycle Assessment this year, but your current team doesn't have the skills to do so, you know you need to look for a solution. 

3. Define what support would help you best (freelancer, software, etc)

Solutions can come in different shapes. To continue with the LCA example, you could look for a software solution to support you, or you could look for an LCA specialist. Depending on the other capabilities you have in-house, you can make that decision. 

4. Get in touch with 3rd parties who could support to understand their offering

Rather than trying to figure everything out yourself, we would advise getting in touch with experts on the topics you've identified gaps for. Once you've spoken to software and other service provides, you'll be able to make an informed decision about the best solution for your team. 

5. Build a business case for your management and request budget

Hybrid sustainability teams aren't free. However, they do often come at a lower cost than hiring full-time resources. Make sure to map your options against each other, to build a business case. This is your best shot at getting sign-off from your CFO. 

Why should I build a hybrid sustainability team?

Building a hybrid sustainability team can be a strategic decision for sustainability managers who choose to accept the future of work. Apart from going with the times there are multiple compelling reasons to embrace the hybrid sustainability team:

Access to broader expertise

A hybrid team draws on the diverse skills and knowledge of both internal staff and external experts. Considering the broad nature of sustainability, it's difficult to expect an individual or small group of individuals to cover the breadts and depth of the topic. Instead, a mix allows for more innovative solutions and a comprehensive understanding of sustainability issues from multiple perspectives.

Enhanced Creativity and Innovation

Combining different areas of expertise often leads to more creative and effective strategies. Freelance experts can introduce fresh ideas and approaches that internal teams might overlook, fostering innovation that can drive significant improvements.

Working agile

Sustainability challenges and regulations can change rapidly. A hybrid team, with its varied skill sets and external insights, can adapt more quickly to new information, shifting regulatory landscapes, and emerging technologies.

Impactful implementation

The blend of internal and external team members can enhance the execution of sustainability strategies. Internal members understand the company's processes and culture and can navigate its bureaucracies, while external members can offer impartiality and specialized skills that accelerate project delivery.

When should I build a hybrid sustainability team?

A hybrid team is a safe and cost-effective choice when your business is aware of its needs and internal capabilities. It requires a level of awareness about the organization and its ability to achieve the goals set out in the sustainability strategy. If you're able to critically look at your team and identify the gaps, you're ready to start working with a hybrid team. 

Additionally, if you have a vacancy you are unable to fill, you can engage with freelancers in a short time with rapid results and implement changes during the time you recruit a permanent employee.


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