Bring everyone on the journey

Educating and motivating staff about energy efficiency is proven to help businesses save energy and carbon emissions for relatively low cost.

Staff ultimately decide how things get done. Bringing them on the journey is critical to implementing strategies on the ground, and opens the door to accessing a heap of pragmatic ideas about how to do things better.

In a smaller business, everyone can get involved. In a larger business, an energy management team can support your energy manager and motivate the wider workforce.

An energy team can reach the whole business

Many large businesses have seen great results spearheaded by an energy team – a core group of people from across the business formed to push energy management along. This recognises that big projects affect people in a range of roles who need to be involved and consulted.

The team can be as big or small as you need, so long as there are enough people with the right range of skills to get the job done. They could include staff and senior management from project management, operations, communications, HR, procurement and accounts.

A diverse range of skills and perspectives can help keep the ideas flowing and make sure all elements of the project are coordinated and don’t get stuck.

Formalise the roles

Changing staff behaviour is a big challenge that deserves formal recognition. To make sure your energy team doesn’t run out of steam:

  • Recruit team members who are interested and willing.
  • Make it part of their jobs and set performance targets around it.
  • Have a senior-level sponsor in the team.

Formalise the processes

  • Start by working out roles and responsibilities. Write them down.
  • Schedule regular meetings.
  • Set effective goals using the SMART framework.
  • Record meeting minutes and action points in writing.

Engage and motivate staff

A long-term planned approach will see the best results. Some tried and true ways to engage staff about energy efficiency are:

  • Send a short survey to all staff to find out how much they know and care about energy management and climate change. Include a question about ways your business could improve energy use.
  • Find out what messages motivate your staff – they might be more excited by 'climate action' than 'energy management'.
  • Develop a theme people can relate to. 'Reduce the juice' was used by one Kiwi business.
  • Share climate-friendly actions and ideas every month through newsletters, the intranet and/or posters around the site.
  • Have the CE give a presentation supporting the programme.
  • Hold competitions to get people interested and involved.
  • Measure your progress and share the results.

Recognise staff efforts

Embed a good energy management culture in your organisation by showing people you value their efforts.

  • Have a clear recognition criteria. Set up rewards for specific achievements, such as best energy savings idea or greatest emissions reduction.
  • Reward outstanding people, teams or facilities. This could be certificates, morning tea, cash bonuses or wage increases.
  • Invest savings for good. Saving energy and emissions saves money too. You could ringfence savings to fund further projects, improve staff facilities, or donate a percentage to a charity selected by staff.