With the new financial year on the horizon, now is a great time to start planning how to engage your workforce in sustainability over the coming year. And perhaps the first question to tackle is “when?”
So we thought we’d kick off our ‘How To Nation’ series with the all-important question of timing: “when should you launch your employee engagement programme?”
(On the mere mention of ‘launching’, Richard got rockets on the brain. I blame him for the terrible string of space-themed analogies…).
1. Around a public event
If you were the creative brains behind a new Man-in-the-Moon themed cheese brand, you’d be pretty smart to coordinate its launch with a new moon expedition, given the public frenzy there’d be for all things spacey.
Lucky for us, environmental awareness days happen more often than moon landings.
Earth Day (22nd April), World Environment Day (5th June), and Climate Week (Autumn 2015, TBC), to name a few. All are great events to anchor your programme around, providing a point of focus and help employees to feel like they’re part of a bigger, wider movement. That tends to get them excited.
We first saw this in action with Anglian Water’s programme for Climate Week last year, where they received 252 pledges in just one week.
2. For a workshop
Keeping with the moon-cheese theme for a minute (I like cheese): moon landings aside, another good time to promote Man in the Moon Cheese might be at an astronomy convention, or a food fair, for that matter. Better still, an astronomic food fair. People want something to take home to remind them of all their moon / food fun.
Similarly, if you’re holding a workshop or seminar on sustainability, that is a perfect time to ask people to start acting on the lessons they’ve learned – to do something when they leave the four walls of the session.
This week, University of Chester are demonstrating this perfectly: they’re hosting a Fix It Fair, running workshops on fixing everything from mugs to mobiles. In line with this, they’re launching a new programme on Do Good for Business, encouraging students and staff to make a pledge to lower their impact – with a specific spotlight on our new Do Action: Fix It.
3. After restructuring
Enough of moon cheese.
Anyone who’s gone through a company restructure knows that they’re not fun. After the turbulence of redundancies, relocations, and reassignments, employees tend to feel a little disengaged and lost.
This makes it a great time to instigate employee-focused sustainability programmes, re-building pride and loyalty in the company on the way. Boots Opticians demonstrated this point nicely, after their merger with D&A in 2009 they put a heavy focus on building team culture, and soon after were listed in the Sunday Times Top 25 companies to work for.
4. When setting up green teams or champions
Setting up green teams or networks of champions is a great shout. But it’s important to give them the right tools and support – otherwise they might crash before they even take off, much like NASA’s unluckily NOAA-19.
In the case of Lacoste Chaussures, four team leaders used our Do Good for Business programme to go head to head, competing against one another to get the most colleagues on board making pledges. Within a month, not only had 54% of Lacoste Chausseurs’ employees come on board, but our platform also gave the team leaders a clear measurement of their success and a list of proactive, supportive colleagues who they can call on in future times of need.
5. Alongside other facilities or projects
You’d be a bit of a fool to dedicate your life to becoming an astronaut if your country had no space mission.
Similarly, employees don’t tend to want to make an extra effort to reduce their energy use at work if their company isn’t showing any signs of doing anything themselves.
On the flip side, many top-down sustainability initiatives go unnoticed by employees, and often fizzle as a result.
For both these reasons, the moment that a new facility or initiative goes live – whether it’s a new bike lock or boiler – is a great moment to launch an employee engagement campaign. Last year, in line with launching their new videoconference system, ERM focused their campaign around our VC Calling Do Action.
If you’re interested in how we can help, please drop me a line on Hermione@WeAreDoNation.com. I’m usually fairly well grounded here on planet Earth, but I might well be nibbling on some moon cheese.