In the modern world, there is an increasingly important focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness – especially in business. As such, many companies are now investing time, effort, and finances into improving their energy management strategies, and reducing their overall carbon footprints.
There can be a number of obstacles on this journey – and one of the most common can be a business’s employees. It can sometimes be quite difficult to get employees to invest time and effort in sustainability changes – and keep them interested in the future. After all, it’s well known how hard it is to break a habit! Luckily, there are a number of techniques that you can try to pique employee’s interest and encourage them to invest.
Why should your staff care?
If your staff are disinterested in and disengaged with environmental responsibilities, it could be having a number of negative effects on your business. As well as failing to contribute to sustainability, it could actually be costing your business money through excess resource consumption, such as gas and electricity. Making the effort to educate and encourage green behaviours in your staff can bring a number of additional benefits, for example boosting your business’s reputation and credibility – both internally and in the wider marketplace.
The reality is that many individuals don’t actually need to be made aware of environmental issues, so much as simply remembering to remain aware of them when at work. There’s a good chance that many of your staff are actively conscious of their consumption and environmental footprints within their individual households – it could just be a case of encouraging this behaviour in the workplace, too.
How can you educate and encourage staff?
Once you realise the importance of getting your staff on board with green notions and environmental sustainability, the next step is figuring out how you should go about actually doing so.
The first thing you’ll need to do is hold a company-wide meeting, informing all your staff of the business’s new commitment, and encourage them to make the effort to engage with sustainability practices.
Even after this initial meeting, though, there are a number of ways in which you can make sure you don’t lose momentum, your staff don’t lose interest, and you keep the green spirit permanently alive in your business. For instance:
A business-wide focus
It’s important that you don’t pigeon-hole your eco efforts to just one department or area of your business. You’re likely to see more a positive effect if sustainability is in every aspect of daily operations, with every single member of staff getting involved.
Let them have a stake
A great way to accommodate investment is to give your staff a direct claim on the work you’re doing or the changes that you make. This could be by including their own energy management suggestions in your plan, or by assigning them specific responsibilities. Your staff are much more likely to respond positively, and invest in your sustainability plan, if they feel they have some sort of ownership of it.
Having clearly defined targets to work towards can help you to measure success and monitor your progress. This can also promote positivity as you will be able to see when you achieve goals, tangibly measure the progress you make, and ensure you don’t run out of momentum.
Educate and train
It can often take only minimal time and effort to give your employees training about environmental issues and energy management, and the rewards from doing so can be surprisingly beneficial. Your staff are less likely to put effort into something if they feel out of their depth. Increasing their knowledge will not only increase their comfort in carryout out eco-friendly actions, but it will help them to realise the importance of doing so, too.
Incentivise and reward
Sometimes, there’s nothing better than good, old fashioned motivation. If the fact that they would be doing their part for sustainability doesn’t seem enough, give your staff more reason to get involved. There are a number of employee benefits that you could offer, from perks in the workplace to material prizes.
Celebrate to motivate
Make sure that you celebrate success and reward positive behaviour with your staff, otherwise you may run the risk of them losing interest. Make sure that any green targets you set are achievable in order to accommodate success and avoid disheartenment.
You could try generating a competitive air in your company by pitting different teams or departments against each other to see who can ‘go greenest’. Not only can a contest help to drive results for your green objectives, but working in teams also helps to improve staff relations and incites commitment.
Essentially, the crux of business sustainability success is in momentum – once you’ve built it, try not to lose it! Many businesses may find initial success after investing in environmental efficiency, and educating staff to do the same. But, after this initial success, good habits slip back into bad ones, and slowly the entire business manages to un-do all the green good achieved. The key to ensuring this doesn’t happen is in keeping up momentum, and maintaining a focus on green goals over time.
Following the above tips can help you, your staff, and your business as a whole keep its commitments to sustainability, and to ensure that your good efforts remain effective, and don’t go to waste.
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Posted on 30th July 2016
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