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Environmental Management Systems and Staff Engagement
Getting staff buy-in to environmental improvements or an EMS is much easier if you base your approach carefully around the organisational culture.
Do you recognise this scenario?
You are responsible for your organisation’s environmental management system or action plan. You’ve got a top notch system, but for some reason not everyone in the organisation shares your enthusiasm for getting the recycling in the right container, carefully setting the heating controls, or installing low-flow toilets.
“I’m just busy doing my job, the environmental stuff is someone else’s problem”.
So what’s the solution?
Shelaine Siepel, SBP CIC’s Managing Director, shares her experiences.
“Think about your organisational culture, if the company has established systems in place for incorporating company-wide targets into performance management, then include targets for environmental performance over which people have direct control or influence, such as printing or corporate travel”.
Often though it’s not as simple as that and an approach is needed that is more carrot than stick.
“The best ideas for what improvements can be made come from staff. That said, too many times I’ve seen organisations ask their staff for their ideas, then the ideas go off into a black hole where they’re never heard of again. There is a risk of staff getting disillusioned and they stop wanting to contribute”.
So how do we overcome this ‘idea fatigue’ and get people to take responsibility?
Firstly, before you do anything to engage staff, make sure you’ve agreed with management how any ideas generated are going to be dealt with and what budget is available. Also think about how you’re going to filter ideas down to something manageable (such as scoring them on how achievable the action is, whether they deal with an area of high environmental impact or a company Key Performance Indicator). Then make sure you’ve allocated time to work up clear, costed proposals, including who will take responsibility for the action and the expected impacts, so that management can decide whether or not to take the idea forward.
Planning what’s going to happen with any ideas generated, and communicating that to staff will increase their engagement in the process. People are more likely to get involved when they know their idea won’t end up as another sad post-it note or flip chart sheet in a bin. Then the most important bit: ALWAYS tell those you got the ideas from about what happened, what didn’t, why and what the impact was.
The SBP CIC has helped lots of organisations to get staff engaged with their Environmental Management Systems and environmental targets. We can run short, 60 minute workshops, or longer sessions depending on your needs. Workshop content and focus is tailored to your needs, and the environmental performance data you have available.
Contact us to learn more by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or call us on: 01273 964239