How to Get Employees Engaged in Energy-Saving Practices
The Environmental Protection Agency says that many small business owners believe that improving energy efficiency is the fastest, least expensive, and largest single solution for simultaneously saving energy and money. To get your employees involved in energy-saving practices, implementing positive and motivating energy campaigns around the office can help you achieve your energy management goals and boost office morale.
How employees can help save energy at work
Depending on how much time you want to invest in encouraging employee engagement and energy-efficiency in the workplace, you can find here both simple and advanced tips for going green at work. First, our employee engagement ideas provide a simple approach to energy-efficiency in the office and how to implement subtle workplace changes. Then, Small Business Trends’ Anita Campbell lends some advice on 5 examples of fun campaigns aimed towards energy efficiency.
As you look for ways to save electricity in an office, it’s crucial that you are engaging your entire team in this process. Change can be a challenge for some employees, so present it as a positive change, and remind them that as the business thrives, it benefits them personally. Here are some ways to begin saving energy at work by engaging your employees in a subtle way:
Make it personal. When people understand why they are doing something new, and not simply told to change long-time energy habits without a reason, they are less likely to push back against new policies and procedures.
Post business energy saving tips for employees in conspicuous areas around the office. Friendly reminders can be a good nudge in the right direction, especially if they’re about turning off lights or powering down equipment.
Upgrade equipment. When employees see the business’s officials investing in energy-efficient appliances, devices and office equipment, they take notice. Making moves like this within the company can cause a workplace culture shift in an energy-efficient direction.
Encourage energy innovation. To start off, you could encourage employees to bring innovative energy-saving ideas in the workplace to regular staff meetings, or have some way for them to share anonymously. Based on your staff and the culture of your office, find a way that would be most effective to get everyone on board.
Use your platform to draw in the right employees. You can draw in energy-conscious employees by simply using your company’s public vision. Small business expert Anita Campbell agrees that savvy small business owners use a company’s culture as one way to attract and retain employees. “It’s one of those factors they will take into account, a secondary factor,” she says. “Does the company have the same values? Will the workplace be the kind of place where they will feel comfortable?” Workers are increasingly drawn to companies that share their values. Building a company that values sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint can be one way to recruit and retain employees for whom this is important.
Employee engagement examples and campaign ideas
So, how do you motivate employees even further to improve energy efficiency in the workplace? Small Business Trends’ Anita Campbell offers these five tips to engage your employees in ways to lower your energy bill in the office:
5 employee engagement ideas to help create an energy efficient workplace
Adopt a slogan about saving energy in the workplace. Campbell tells a story to illustrate the potential effectiveness of a slogan and a few simple posters. In a former corporate job, her company had some issues with punctuality. “We got some posters that read ‘We can’t be great if we’re late’ and put them near the coffee machines and water coolers and other places around the office,” she says. “It was amazing the impact just having that slogan posted around had. It really drove home that promptness is important.” Campbell suggests creating similar posters and slogans about key energy savings tips for the workplace. “Make it your own,” she says. “Try to get everyone caught up in the sense that it’s important.”
Convey that saving energy in the workplace can be fun. People love games, Campbell says. Employees also love taking a break from the daily routine. She suggests taking time out of the work day periodically — perhaps once a quarter — to create a game around how employees can save energy at work. “Have a scavenger hunt every so often,” she suggests. “Everyone takes an hour to search for something where the business is leaking energy — a leaking faucet, computers that stay on too long, a leaking toilet. Give prizes. The idea is to make it fun.” Pro tip: Everyone loves free food! Anita suggests to “Maybe order in a pizza” to help people get excited for any of these employee engagement examples.
Ask for solutions for how employees can save energy at work. “Have a brainstorm session. Ask, what are your suggestions for how to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint?” Campbell says. “You’d be surprised. Everybody thinks differently. I guarantee someone has thought of something no one else has thought of.” Doing a brainstorming session openly rather than through a suggestion box makes it clear this is a company priority and offers an opportunity, Campbell says, to publicly praise someone with a good idea. “Then that person is a hero,” she says. “Give him an attaboy.”
Create team projects that make employees responsible for coming up with ways to improve energy efficiency in the workplace. One group, for instance, could be put in charge of monitoring utility bills and then offering suggestions for ways to reduce them, Campbell offers as an example. The person or group in charge of ordering office supplies could be told to add sustainability as one of the considerations in ordering office supplies. “Instead of ordering Styrofoam coffee cups, everyone might bring in his own mug,” she says. “[The point is to] make it part of their job.” Pro tip: This concept is a variation, Campbell says, on that tried-and-true business adage: inspect what you expect. “As a small business owner, you want to inspect what you expect from your people. What you’re telling them [by adding energy savings tips in the workplace to their job description] is this is important to us and the company. We’d like you to be the watchdog of this, the steward for the company.”
Give awards and invest in bonus programs. Add “being a good workplace environmental steward” as a criteria to existing employee of month awards and bonus programs, Campbell says, or create a new award to celebrate employees who help meet certain energy conservation goals. “It’s a signal to the company that this is important,” she says.
Using these and other employee engagement ideas in the office can help save energy in the workplace while retaining great team members. Who knew you could lower your small business energy bill while also engaging employees with fun, sustainable business practices that align with your company’s values?
Constellation’s workplace tips for employee engagement and energy-efficient offices don’t end here — check out these resources for more ways to save on business costs: