In my last (strangely space themed) blog, I covered the timing of employee behaviour change campaigns; here, I’m going to cover tips on choosing the focus of your campaigns – which specific actions you’re trying to engage employees in doing. I’ll try and keep it free of space references.
When we first started running employee pledging programmes within businesses, we weren’t able to tailor the menu of Do Actions* to suit their specific needs. This was a major drawback as clients wanted to make the menu relevant to their business and sustainability strategy, and so when we rebuilt our platform last year, the flexibility to tailor the menu was the first new feature we introduced.
But now that clients have the full ability to change the Do Actions on offer to their employees, we are increasingly asked “how should I chose what actions to include?”. Here I share the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ behind three approaches that you can take.
1. Make it easy:
There are a couple of ways in which choosing a good list of actions can make it easier for your employees to take part.
Firstly, through the number of actions you’re promoting; there’s a fine balance to be struck between having too many and too few.
Despite a common request for more Do Actions, half of the new actions that people request actually already exist; it’s just that few people bother to read the entire list of almost 50 Do Actions. So narrowing down the list of actions makes it easier to choose and people are more likely to be able to find one that suits them.
On the flip side, it’s good to make sure that there’s something for everyone. Running a campaign focusing on just one action – cycling to work, perhaps – might give great clarity, but it’ll leave whole swaths of people feeling excluded and disengaged.
If there are just one or two actions that you really care about, shine a brighter spotlight on those by all means. But keep some other options available for those who are already doing those actions, or who can’t do them for some reason.
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend keeping between ten and 30 actions in your mix, while prioritising three to five key ones to put the spotlight on.
The second way you can make it nice and easy is through making sure that the actions you include are all realistic for your employees. If your HQ is on the 3rd floor, Step Up could be a great action; but if it’s on the 20th floor, it’s probably worth culling that action from the menu (unless, of course, the meeting rooms are on the 21st floor…).
2. Make it relevant
It’s always a good idea to make your list of actions relevant to your sustainability strategy and / or your business itself. This will not only enable you to frame the campaign clearly, but you’ll also get more senior buy-in to support it.
When it comes to work-based actions, if you have an environmental strategy in place picking those that are relevant should be easy. For example, if reducing Scope 3 carbon emissions is your big focus for this year, include actions like VC calling, On yer bike, and Tin Tin.
Many clients feel nervous about asking employees to make personal behaviour changes at home. Perhaps rightly, they feel like it’s none of their business. But many others see this as an important step to being truly authentic in their mission to build a culture of sustainability. In order to avoid the risk of making your employees feel cynical about your motivations, align your actions to your business operations as far as possible.
For example, a water company could focus on promoting water saving actions – taking shorter showers, installing water hippos in your toilet cistern, using reusable water bottles. The business connection and motivation is clear, so employees are more likely to feel pride than scepticism, and to become living advocates for the company’s consumer facing campaigns.
of users say that as a result of their pledge, they were more proud of what their company is doing to tackle sustainability
To help get you started, we’ve created some pre-built bundles of Do Actions, grouped into the following categories:
3. Keep it fresh
If you’re running an on-going behaviour change programme, it’s important to give employees a reason to keep coming back, to keep them engaged throughout. A natural and easy way to do this is to change the focus with the seasons – encouraging cycling to work in the summer, eating local seasonal food in the autumn, cutting back on drinking in the New Year, for example.
We’ve pulled together suggestions of prioritised actions for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter to give you a helping hand.
If you’d like to hear more, get in touch right away. Ping Richard a line on Richard@wearedonation.com.
* Do Actions are the simple actions and behaviour changes that employees can do.