Introduction

As economies across the world grapple with responding to the twin crises of a global pandemic and climate change, organizations too are finding ways to adapt to the myriad of changes and challenges both crises present. Within this context, there have been numerous calls for Governments and businesses to “build back better” [1]; that is, encouragement towards the economic recovery from the ramifications of the COVID-19 global pandemic to be based on sustainability objectives, thus responding to both crises concurrently. Such an approach encourages organizations to move beyond an emphasis on economic goals and outcomes and to broaden their focus to include environmental and social goals and outcomes. Sustainable Human Resource Management (HRM) is an emerging field that provides a way for HRM to support an organization’s movement towards a broader focus and longer-term view [2]. Sustainable HRM expands HRM’s remit beyond the traditional focus on economic goals, to a “triple bottom line” viewpoint, whereby environmental and social goals, in the short and long term, become an articulated aspect of HRM’s role [3,4]. A central aspect of “building back better” is focused on a worker-centric approach [5–7]. As such, sustainable HRM has the potential to develop alongside government and organization drives to “build back better”, though seeing the critical role of the management of human resources in all aspects of both economic recovery and addressing the implications of climate change.

However, despite the central role human resources can play in achieving sustainability objectives, a fundamental element that we see as missing in Sustainable HRM literature is the role of the employee, and more specifically structured employee voice, in the development of a sustainable approach to HRM. Within the emergent literature on Sustainable HRM, there is research that brings the employee to the fore such as [8,9], including some that explore the impact of employee involvement or participation in environmental initiatives for example; [10–13]. Other work in the Sustainable HRM field has explored other aspects of HRM, such as recruitment and selection [14,15], training and development [16,17], Performance Management [18], and Reward Management [19] and its role in developing sustainability. Such research is often based on case studies or surveys on employee participation in environmental initiatives and focuses exclusively on the ecological aspect of Sustainable HRM, termed “Green HRM”.