Glitzy and glamorous such activities are not – however, you’d be surprised at what benefits the implementation of effective behavioural change programmes can bring to organisational performance.
Regardless of whether you’re part of a public body, corporate operation or commercial organisation, it is possible to change staff behaviour in ways which can lead to significant efficiency increases (and, of course, accompanying financial savings). Many people consider the acts of turning down an office radiator or of purchasing energy efficient appliances just drops in the ocean – but it is important to remember: no drops, no ocean.
Although many employers do consider energy efficiency a serious issue, many still don’t seem to fully grasp the centrality of their staff members in what can be a process supremely beneficial to businesses.
According to research conducted by the Carbon Trust in 2013, very few employers take action to engage their workforce on this issue. The research stated that only 23 per cent of employees were being asked to help save energy at work by their manager; just 13 per cent claimed that they were being rewarded by their employers for saving energy. As for actively getting staff involved, the research highlighted that only 22 per cent of employees were confident that they knew what actions they were able to take to save energy at work, with just 16 per cent sure that they would have the authority to do it.
Whilst such statistics are cause for concern, I also believe they are grounds for hope. They offer an insight into the potential benefits up for grabs for those who fully grasp what employee engagement on energy efficiency can do.
An enormous benefit is the low cost involved – small, simple efficiency programmes may be possible to set up ‘in-house’. Employing an outside agency specialising in energy efficiency behaviour change would undoubtedly mean stumping up some cash, but would also lead to bigger savings overall, with any initial financial outlay soon recuperated by the efficiency savings brought about.
Central to all effective staff engagement, however, is the level of ‘buy in’ from your staff. Good efficiency behavioural change programmes do not just help employees see the benefits of the changes, but also make them to want to implement the tips and techniques they learn. Bringing such a situation about involves linking up interests at work to the ‘bigger picture’, and here three major themes intertwine.
Secondly, the issue of environmental protection: reducing energy consumption plays a vital role in carbon reduction, and the workplace is a vital setting in which to help foster not just an awareness of climate change, but also a place to help embed the knowledge required to do something to about it.
Thirdly, research shows that energy efficiency changes learnt at work are commonly carried over into life at home. So even for those not motivated solely by a desire to save the planet, there is still the dangling carrot of lower domestic energy bills to serve as an incentive to get involved and take action.
All in all, employee engagement on energy efficiency is a winner – for the organisation, for its employees and for the environment. So whilst those looking for glitz and glamour may be left a little unfulfilled, those looking to cut running costs and boost competiveness should take the issue of staff engagement on energy seriously.