Effective leadership requires engaging your team members in setting and achieving company goals and initiatives, whether they are related to sales, revenue, or energy. Rather than having terms and policies dictated to them, you need to be as transparent as possible and share your reasoning so that every team member feels included in decision-making. As you work to improve your organization’s energy efficiency and conservation, involving your employees will help get you the buy-in you need to make thoughtful energy use a priority for everyone. Let’s look at five ways you can involve your staff in your energy-saving campaigns and efforts.
Help your team understand why you are adopting greener practices in the office. You don’t want this to turn into a dull, statistic-filled lecture. Instead, try approaching it like a client presentation–light and engaging, insightful and digestible. The key point is to provide your audience with the information they need to understand why this specific goal or project is important.
Your staff undoubtedly know the basics of climate change, the challenges we all face, and why energy conservation is critical. But offering a few key and relevant data points can energize them about your campaign and make them enthusiastic about making small changes to the way they work and live. Perhaps someone in your industry has already made similar changes, in which case you can use their data to quantify the reductions in emissions you aim to achieve. You want to educate your staff about what they can accomplish in concrete terms. If you work with a commercial energy audit company, share their findings with your employees, so they understand where you are and what you hope to accomplish.
If energy conservation feels personal to you, share that with them. For example, explaining that you want the world to be better and safer for your children and future generations can help them understand and share your sense of urgency.
Energy efficiency is a team effort, so remember to show that you value your employees as teammates in this undertaking by encouraging them to make suggestions and contributions. Making them part of the process also gives them ownership over it. Contributing to developing and implementing a company-wide plan helps them feel vested in the process and its outcome. Throughout the process, encourage employee feedback. Do they have any concerns about the policies or changes you’ve outlined? Check back frequently, soliciting their input about what is working, what could be more effective, and any challenges they are experiencing.
If you choose to work with an energy consultant, ask them for resources to share with your staff about the changes you are making and how to approach change management.
Use displays and signage to keep your energy-saving campaign at the forefront of everyone’s mind. A small, brightly colored sign by the exit asking if they remembered to power off their computer not only reinforces the habit, it makes energy conservation a part of their everyday lives.
Consider posting a weekly energy-saving tip in a common area, such as a cafeteria, break room, or an internal newsletter. Not only does this offer additional ways to conserve energy at work and home, but it also reinforces energy use as a priority. If you want energy awareness to become an integral part of their lives, simple displays can be highly effective.
Set specific, measurable goals, so it’s easy to track progress and offer regular updates on the results of everyone’s efforts. You can share how much your energy use has decreased compared to the same period in previous years or since the start of the campaign. To make carbon emission numbers more concrete and understandable, consider sharing data in more approachable terms.
For example, the average mature tree absorbs more than 48 pounds of carbon per year. Telling employees they have reduced company carbon emissions as much as 50 trees frame your numbers in a way that makes sense to everyone.
This is also another opportunity for a display. Consider coloring in a giant thermometer to show your progress toward your reduction goals or adding a tree to a display for every increment of change. These visual trackers help make progress and goals seem less abstract.
Incentives motivate your staff and create excitement, so consider offering rewards for employees who actively participate in the campaign. A free afternoon off for the department that shows the largest reduction in their electricity usage doesn’t necessarily lower your company’s use, but it does help make energy savings part of everyone’s daily lives.
Consider establishing a friendly competition. For example, the individual or department that comes up with the best suggestions for energy-efficient changes gets recognized and receives a reward. It could be a free lunch or a donation in their name to an environmental charity. Offering modest incentives draws people into the campaign and gets everyone at the job site or office talking about energy savings.
The more your staff understands about what you are trying to accomplish and why the more likely they are to get on board with your energy campaign. Involving them in the process, sharing your goals, and making energy efficiency a regular topic of office conversation will naturally engage your employees. It will also lead to the best results for your campaign. Your staff may even surprise you with suggestions you hadn’t considered. Make it clear to them that they are as much a part of this effort as you are, and celebrate your progress together.
Initiatives must be built with the aid of your workforce, whether they are sales-focused or not. You must be as explicit as possible when describing how they can contribute to the decision-making process of energy usage. Engaging the team can help you gain the support you need to make energy efficiency a priority.
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