Learn more about how your organisation can implement a staff engagement programme on energy saving in the workplace. Our supports focus on behavioural change and how you can manage this successfully.
Introduction to staff engagement
When working on your energy management strategy, it is important to address the role of all staff in its implementation. The co-operation and enthusiasm of all staff will determine the benefits gained by the company and the longevity of energy savings.
For organisations undertaking ISO 50001, there are compliance requirements relating to internal and external communication activities and staff involvement in the application of the standard.
Below we have set out a structured and logical sequence of activities that will minimise the risk of not achieving the programme objectives. We have selected some key downloadable templates that will support your overall strategy. We have also included an example of a completed strategy and action plan document, for a fictional company.
To support your staff engagement programme and make it more accessible, we have adopted the Plan-Do-Check-Act approach. This structured approach consists of 6 stages.
- Demonstrating senior management commitment
The key to a successful staff engagement programme is commitment from senior management. Without this, it is likely that the programme will fall well short of achieving its full potential. Support from senior management should be visible to all staff in your organisation.
- Make the business case for staff engagement on energy.
- Link the staff engagement programme with corporate goals.
- Compare with similar organisations or competitors.
- Create opportunities for management to make public commitments.
- Seek awards and programmes for the organisation to receive recognition sustainability commitment.
Senior management should publicly show their commitment to the programme and its objectives, allocate the necessary resources to implement the programme and regularly review progress.
Requirements of senior management in terms of a behaviour change programme include:
- Appointing an ´Energy Coordinator´ (or manager) and establishing a team with responsibilities and powers for implementing the programme
- Appointing a representative from senior management to act as a Sponsor or Champion for the programme.
- Ensuring the availability of adequate resources for implementing and maintaining the behaviour change programme.
- Key decision makers are assigned roles and responsibilities for implementing a programme and are given the authority and resources to do so.
- Key decision makers are held accountable for carrying out their roles and responsibilities.
- Carrying out other strategic energy management measures to ensure that the programme is implemented effectively.
- Reviewing the programme at regular intervals.
- Demonstrating their commitment to energy and/sustainability issues (being seen to be committed)
Management should be seen to demonstrate commitment. Some examples of how managers can achieve this include the following:
- Make sure that the Energy Policy is visible throughout the organisation.
- Managers should practice what they preach. If managers do what they are asking employees to do then the employees are more likely to follow.
- Individuals and/or teams should be recognised for positive actions and achievements which they make. Reinforcing and giving credit to employees who get involved is crucial.
- Cutting energy waste should be included in team meetings on a regular basis.
- Participate in National, European and International programmes and awards.
- Staff survey questionnaire
- Stakeholder analysis
- Engaging stakeholders
- Unsustainable behaviour
- Target audience matrix
In order to develop your strategy, you should assess your current situation. The type of information that you need to collect includes:
- Staff, facilities and scope
- Corporate goals and drivers
- Energy use & Significant energy users
- Staff knowledge, awareness, attitudes and motivation on energy issues.
- Significant factors ‘external’ to your programme
- Current unsustainable behaviours
- Target audiences
- Systems, codes, programmes, initiatives
- Current communication channels
- Achievements to date
- Initial planning checklist
- Staff training needs assessment matrix
- Programme checklist
Starting out with a clear idea of your destination, will help ensure that the steps you take are always in the right direction. You should therefore begin with the end in mind.
You should consider what things you need to think about upfront before you develop and finalise your programme. You can use the simple questions in the Initial Planning Checklist to ask yourself and your colleagues if there are any significant gaps or uncertainties, and consider what you need to do to address them at the outset.
Sponsor, steering group, and programme team
Depending on the type and size of your organization, you should consider appointing the following:
- A senior management Sponsor or Champion for your programme.
- A Steering Group and a brief outline of membership, e.g. the job titles of the main members – if appropriate.
- A team to help you implement the programme.
In order to carry out an effective programme of staff engagement on energy issues you will need to organise what needs to be done, who will do what and when.
- Feedback worksheet
An energy awareness day or an energy awareness week is an event or series of events that can form part of your programme or can help to launch it.
Cork institute of Technology launched their three year programme with an awareness day. It is dedicated to providing people with information about energy, the importance of conserving it and simple ways to do so. It is an ideal way in which to demonstrate to people why it is necessary to change their behaviour and actions and how to go about it.
As part of an energy awareness programme, it is useful to establish a network of volunteers to assist with the promotion of energy saving values and messages to colleagues. These ‘Energy Champions’ can be very effective and a good resource. However, they need to be carefully recruited, trained and equipped for their role. They also need ongoing support to stay effective and active. You can use the energy champion role profile example to help you develop your role profile when recruiting.
Providing feedback is an important part of implementing your programme. Decide on who needs feedback; what information / message they need to receive and how you will provide it. You can use the feedback worksheet to help you list the target audiences and collate your feedback.
- Evaluate and improve
At various points along the way, you need to measure your organisation’s progress towards its set targets.
For example, if your target is based on your energy consumption, you will need to review your energy usage regularly. You can use the ‘Evaluate and improve’ worksheet to help you measure your progress and make the necessary adjustments to your programme if there are any ways it can be improved.
- Long-term success
Although the momentum phases will not be addressed substantially until Year 2 and Year 3 of your programme, it is worth considering the subject at this stage and recording any opportunities for maintaining the momentum in subsequent years. You can use the long term success worksheet to assess where the best opportunities are for maintaining momentum.