How to Get Staff to be More Eco-Friendly
According to the environmental protection agency, 73% of consumers value the environmental records of the companies they buy from. Knowing this, and also just wanting to do good, has made businesses more savvy to the world of eco-friendly business. Simple switches can have huge results for sales, but what about internal productivity?
Labour turnover, for example, can be reduced through a positive working environment, that’s a given, but a workforce that is acting positively for the environment is also a great way to keep your best talents. Millennial employees especially value their company culture, and don’t want to feel that they are simply clocking in, following orders for X hours, and then clocking out. There is something much bigger at play… purpose.
Considering all of this, we’ve put together a Green Alchemist 23-point guide on how to get staff to be more Eco-Friendly
- Start from the top - A great leader sets by example. If you’re the boss, the head of a department, or a manager, you should start making more eco-friendly decisions and impart them onto your staff.
- Create collaborative policies - Sit down with your staff and get them to brainstorm amongst themselves about what makes good policies. You can prepare some ideas and research yourself and guide them in the right way, but if they suggest the ideas themselves, they’re more likely to do them. Put the ideas into writing and create a manifesto or some new policies.
- Share the company vision - Explain the benefits of eco-friendly behaviours to your team from a financial level, and why it’s good for the company. Talk about how you hope it will affect costs, sales and culture. If there’s a clear vision, it’s easier to support it. Make use of the ‘feel-good factor’.
- Be transparent about performance and set new targets - Staff will be more likely to get involved in eco-friendly activities if the benefits are measurable and are being tracked. Set new recycling targets, or something ambitious like a ‘paperless by Christmas’ goal, and keep them updated on the results.
- Start a team of green champions - It’s quite likely that you already have some eco-friendly activists in your company, so appeal to them to start up a green team, and give them the opportunity to run some internal projects, or even give them a small budget to make some positive environment changes.
- Education and training - Having an external expert come in to educate your staff on what it means to be sustainable, eco-friendly, or environmentally conscious is a great way to share the message. You may not be a great orator, or have the knowledge and case studies to backup the benefits - an expert will.
- Provide incentives - It doesn’t need to be cash based, but a prize for the top recycler, the most green person of the month, or the biggest sustainable advocate is going to get people involved. Put an extra day’s holiday up for grabs each month and you can be sure to get participation!
- Make it fun or competitive - If there is an opportunity for departments to compete with each other on eco-friendly targets or sustainable measures, you had better believe that they will! Keep it lighthearted and fun, and you’ll get the results you want.
- Monthly challenges - Try a different challenge each month to keep things fresh, such as who can walk or cycle to work the most, who can procure the least (or reuse the most), or who has been the best at switching off lights.
- Place physical reminders - Stickers by light switches, taps, and the thermostat to remind people to be resource efficient will help make being eco-friendly at work simply second-nature.
- Work with procurement - By procuring more intelligently, you can bring in more eco-friendly products and supplies to the workplace, showing your staff that your money is where your mouth is. Eco-friendly cleaning supplies, recycled paper and sustainably sourced furniture are a start.
- Free charging for electric cars - Getting electric vehicle charging points installed is a wise investment for the future, especially if you own your premises (and plan to stay for a long time). Eventually most people will be driving electric, but you can spur some innovators to make the leap now. Try offering priority parking and see if that helps!
- Set one big goal - Our favourites are zero-to-landfill and paperless. If you can work with your teams, your processes and your departments to either go paperless or create zero waste, you have a huge PR opportunity that will earn a massive boost for company culture and reputation. Start digitizing your files now, and team up with an intelligent waste management company.
- A green space - There are two great options here, either encourage everyone to bring in at least one office plant to make the place greener, or make one communal space into a green space, with plants, herbs and flowers. Bring nature inside and people will subconsciously think twice about harming the environment.
- Maximise natural light - Motivation and enthusiasm for work are boosted by natural sunlight and the vitamins it brings. If your workspace is open, airy and even better, green, then it is a more positive environment to encourage eco-friendly decision making.
- Green commuting benefits - Create some incentives for electric cars, carpools, walking or cycling. The incentive doesn’t need to be large, but enough that people will reduce driving solo to work. This will slash your carbon emissions and will allow people to make an eco-friendly decision before they even get to work! You can even consider organising the carpooling internally through your green champions or volunteers.
- Work from home days - A huge part of a staff member’s carbon emission is actually getting to work. Then there’s the energy they use at work. Cut out both of them by introducing work from home days. Of course, this doesn’t work for every role, business or industry, but you’d be surprised how many organisations, even in the public sector, are doing it and reaping the benefits.
- Reuse or repair assets - Any time something breaks, like a desk, or a chair, consider having it repaired instead of chucking it out. Equally, if you buy something new, and the old version functions well, try and find a new home for it within your organisation or with your teams, instead of binning it. Throwing assets in skips is a surefire way to say ‘I don’t care’.
- Stationery Amnesty - These are becoming increasingly popular in large offices. Simply get everyone in the office to clear their drawers and cupboards of all of the things they don’t need or have multiple versions of. If someone has 2 staplers, one can go to the amnesty. Then, display the contents of the amnesty, and allow people to come and stock up on the things they don’t need. This will help reduce the procurement of stationery that your business already owns!
- Start with HR - The hiring process is a great opportunity to find out whether someone is eco-friendly or not. Draw up some questions for the interview to see if the interviewee will buy into your company culture.
- Collect information on your products and services - If your staff know how eco-friendly your products and services are, they might tell their friends and start a word of mouth revolution. More importantly, it’s an amazing sales tool for your salespeople to know exactly what green credentials, sustainable aspects or environmentally friendly components are a part of what you are trying to sell.
- Experiment! - Let your employees and departments experiment for themselves. With becoming more eco-friendly, there is no one-size-fits-all, there’s no secret formula and no golden ticket. You have to find out what works for you and your company, so let them get creative and don’t hold them back.
Green Alchemist is your eco-friendly partner
We help businesses to turn their waste into money, and that’s the bonus 23rd point in this article. Finding small investments for eco-friendly changes might not get support from higher up in the business, but if you can sell your recyclable waste, or reduce your waste management fees, you’ve got a little bargaining chip that might just win support for your culture change project. If you are ready for this kind of support, get in touch today. We will be waiting.