What is staff engagement and behaviour change?
Staff engagement means adapting the corporate culture to include sustainability values. It can take many forms, and can be tailored to become part of an organisation's existing culture. Behaviour change refers to the efficiency measures that rely on staff changing their habits at work. This can mean regularly turning off lights and equipment, proper use of the recycling system, changed printing and photocopying habits and more.
Why do it?
Staff engagement delivers many benefits, over and above the potential energy savings and reduced greenhouse emissions to be made from changed habits.
A staff engagement program help match your staff expectations for sustainable behaviour, make you a preferred employer, contribute to greater staff satisfaction, potentially even reducing staff turnover. Recognition can be gained in the market place, via awards and accreditation.
When it comes to the measurable energy, water and bills savings, the impact of behaviour change can be measured and communicated it to staff. This sets up a positive feedback loop on their achievements and a culture of constant improvement.
Behaviour change can also complement increased automation, for example on computers or lights, helping people to understand and take ownership of changes in the workplace. Changing behaviour will work best if it is integrated with efficiency and sustainability measures across the organisation, with strong management support. How people act in the workplace influences staff perception of their organisation – giving a clear sense of how it lives its values. Support for sustainability at the top is vital for behaviour change programs to work.
How to approach staff engagement
Engaging with staff can go far beyond simply putting up some posters or reminders to turn off the lights. The overall goal is to incorporate new behaviours into the organisational culture, making them a daily habit and the norm or ‘how we do things around here’. An engagement program can include green champions nextworks, friendly competitions and more
All organisations who have run successful engagement and behaviour change programs have some things in common, including high level management support and a network of champions or ambassadors. Other ingredients include a clear program tone or identity, multiple communications channels and feedback or reward.
Following initial campaigns, consider how to sustain energy saving behaviours as a permanent part of work practice.