Yesterday @ LCIE Manchester
At yesterday’s Low Carbon Innovation Exchange in Manchester I facilitated two sessions on staff engagement. Both sessions went really well, although like last month’s event in Harrogate, there was a reluctance to move up the ladder of participation towards actually empowering staff to take action. The closest that participants had come to this was the use of suggestion schemes.
Most people started with simple ‘switch it off’ schemes. Using surprise tactics is increasingly popular – chocolate mysteriously appearing overnight on the keyboards of switched off computers with no explanation has been tried and tested. An interesting variation is an unexplained green sticker on ‘off’ computers and a red one on ‘on’ computers – it would take staff a few days to work out what was going on.
Other successful tactics included educating people about savings at home, providing cycle purchase schemes and holding one-off green fun events.
The groups concluded that effective communication requires a mix of channels (intranet, e-mail, newsletters and posters had been used) and careful understanding of culture and language. One multinational reported that their overseas HQ, obviously not understanding the sarcastic nature of the phrase in English, wanted to call their sustainability engagement programme “In Your Dreams”… they were quickly educated why a new name was required in the UK.
Interestingly there was a lot of grumbling about getting senior management to engage and show leadership on sustainability – an MD launching a sustainability campaign then choosing a gas guzzling company car was one example of not walking the walk. We got into discussing guerilla tactics to get things moving – mainly focussing on economic benefits of energy saving actions, or using the popularity of green schemes amongst staff to embarrass the higher echelons of the organisation.
A great event – the participative powerpoint-free environment leads to maximum learning and minimum boredom. I’m already looking forward to next year.