Alex Fowler has been one of our long standing heros, having earned the title of Doer of the Month for his Great North Swim campaign back in July 2013. But that wasn’t enough to satisfy his passion for change, and so it wasn’t long before he got his company, Siemens, signed up to use Do Nation Pro.
As with more and more of our clients, neither employee engagement nor internal sustainability are in Alex’s job remit, but he simply saw the need for change and took up the mantle.
I caught up with Alex to find out about what it all meant for him.
Alex, tell me about your job – what is your role and what does it involve?
I’m a Bid Manager for Offshore Wind with Siemens Service Renewables. It involves developing contracts for new and operating offshore wind farms across Europe, and stakeholder engagement throughout the business and with multiple customers.
What motivated you to sign up to Do Nation?
I liked the concept of asking friends / colleagues to support a challenge but not asking for money. Do Nation’s platform fit wonderfully with my passion for switching people onto making a positive difference on the environment.
How did you go about getting Siemens to buy into it?
Initially, I just talked to people about the platform and how it could help to engage our workforce. I mentioned it in conversation quite informally to our MD who then challenged me to turn it into something real. I put together a business case and presented a proposal on how it could work to the MD and secured his support.
Tell us a little about what running the programme actually involved…
Firstly, it is really fun to watch how the interest and enthusiasm picks up. My experience was that the best results come from face to face engagement. Workshops and catching people on their way into work were methods that served me well.
It does need some personal time investment and enthusiasm, but I was only doing around 2 hours per week as it was not part of my day job remit.
So – what results did Siemens see from it?
We raised 267 pledges and saw more awareness and pride in the excellent work Siemens are undertaking on sustainability.
The most pleasing legacy for me is that people actually talk about several of the common pledges and share stories on how they are continuing to stick to those new improved habits in their lives.
And what did you get out of it personally?
I found it really rewarding to see the programme make an impact within quite a large organisation. It has raised my profile within the business and allowed me to practice presenting to senior management.
My communication skills increased as a result. I’ve also learnt not to get deflated from the occasional setback.
I didn’t think I was the type of person who would just be greeting people and engaging them coming into work (as an introvert personality) but it’s an enriching experience and a great way to get to know people! It’s incredibly rewarding when people approach me now and say “you’re the chap who started DoNation aren’t you?” – then they follow up with a genuine interest on what we have done and you know they will tell their friends and colleagues too!
Brilliant, and very well deserved it seems. Anything else to add?
Don’t be put off taking action on the environment because of the scale of the issue. The figures around climate change are pretty scary and it can be easy to feel disempowered. However, small, incremental changes are essential not only for mitigating against the intensity of climate change we are likely to face, but also adapting to its impacts.
Being sustainable is going to be an essential aspect of how we live together and it makes sense to start right now. So, I’d recommend making pledges now!
If you want to follow in Alex’s footsteps, why not create a campaign for your organisation now? It takes just minutes, and no upfront commitment or credit cards are required.