Staff engagement event write up

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  • 1. At our network event, we reviewed some of the best experience in getting staffengaged in saving energy, carbon reduction and sustainability. The event was wellattended with many of the major employers represented – we estimated that theattendees represented more than 70,000 employees in theregionThe session kicked off with hearing some of the main challenges facing participantsin engaging staff. These are:: Getting senior commitment Getting people to realise that climate change is a problem Drawing attention to the issue with so much else going on High staff turnover Engaging busy, disparate teams.Our pre-event survey also helped shaped the event by telling us that most people wantpractical ideas and experiences that can be used within their organisation.Ben Kellard, Forum for the Future’s own staff engagement expertstressed in his presentationthe importance of integrating all your activities in staff engagement -everyone needs to feelthat it is core to what they are doing.He pointed out 4 key areas for staff engagement: 1) Direction – The reason for engaging in initiatives is not obvious to everyone. You need to link it to the vision and business (e.g. Unilever with its sustainable living) 2) Performance – Research says engaged employees perform 30% better, so it makes sense for businesses to do it. You can set environmental KPIs for employees and it is important to give positive feedback. M&S for example have allocated 10% to Directors of their bonus towards performance in green initiative ‘Plan A’. 3) Capability - For example,M&Shave embedded sustainability into their business by having an energy champion in each store and depot. They’ve also made sustainability part of their procurement process and will not work with businesses that have no green credentials. 4) Involvement –Make it their own and give responsibility to your employees. Nobody has all of the answers but by working together in a way that is right for your organisation, you can make improvements.Katie Hyson from O2 then introduced their ‘Think Big’ campaign and explained what theorganisation had done to engage their 11,000 staff in the UK.Her key question for engagement was Why?And presented a few tips on engagement: It can have a positiveimpact on the bottom line –To get senior level commitment, you need to demonstrate how it can save the business money. For example, there are 97 million missingmobile phones in the UK all of which have value so it is in O2’s interest to encourage consumers to send them back. The example of
  • 2. Unilever’sAriel30 is another product which is not only better for the environment but savedconsumers money on their energy bills and cost less to produce. Hearts and minds – Be a bit more inclusive and try to find that common thread with employees. Katie referred to a call centre employee who was not engaged at all but found an opportunity though one of his passions – fishing. It does not necessarily have to be directly related to what you are trying to do, but make it fun, challenging and competitive. Focus – Focus on the things that are important and ‘join the dots’ to tell a coherent story. It is important to set a goal and purpose and work towards that. O2 have set out a plan to tackle ‘The Big 6’. This includes being first for sustainable products and services, reducing energy, reducing water, reducing travel, engaged and supporting young people and reducing waste. Embed – Make sure youembed it across your business or organisation. It is important to tell positive stories and stay focused. You must also consider everyone is different and you will need to find different things for different people. Katie introduced the curve ??Katie useda topiary bush as a metaphor for engaging staff. First of all, let them go a little bitwild and let them do what they are interested in. Once they’re engaged you can then start toshape what they’re doing and integrate it into your business.The presentations were then followed by discussions to help people refine their challenge,and generate ideas to address it.A couple of resources you might find useful:Our last event details -We recently took part in an event on The Guardian web-site about SME’s engaging staff incarbon reduction, you can read the discussion and write up here.The Guardian have a live Q&A titled ‘Getting staff buy-in for cutting carbon’ on Thursday 15thMarch 12-2pm. Link is hereThere is more on the O2 ‘Think Big’ blueprint in an online webinar on 28th March (16:00-17:00). You can registerhereThe Carbon Trust have developed a new staff engagement carbon tool called ‘Empower’.Take a look here