Using people power to reach energy efficiency goals in business

June 16, 2017

Employees discussing the benefits of sustainable business practicesWorking toward energy efficiency is most successful when approached collectively. While energy managers may head the team exploring how to reduce energy costs in business, it’s an overall group effort that yields the best results.

That’s the overarching message in an article published by Smart Energy Decisions, which describes how increasing employee engagement improves the chances of reaching corporate social responsibility goals.

From the article:

One underutilized approach is to engage the broader workforce to get all of an organizations employees involved in identifying and achieving energy savings opportunities. Doing so can create substantial benefits. 

According to a study cited in the article, when employees at manufacturing facilities were active participants in energy conservation initiatives, there was an average savings of 5.96%. That’s nearly double the average energy savings rate of 3.30% found at companies where staff members knew about various initiatives, but did not participate. Traditional office buildings also noted improved energy savings when employees were actively involved.

While energy managers may excel at reducing energy costs using energy audits, revamping buildings or equipment and redesigning overall processes—they may not have the people skills to make these efforts as successful as they could be.

That’s where the human resources department can step in as a natural ally. In addition to communicating and promoting programs to employees, HR can also play an important role in finding workers who are most likely to get involved. According to the article, hiring and retaining top talent increasingly comes from a pool comprised of Millennials who want to be actively included in pursuing the benefits of sustainable business practices.

Ultimately, engaging employees around the companys energy and sustainability goals is a win for everyone. The energy team gets deeper and broader savings when they can influence individual practices and find energy savings opportunities that arent easily identified through traditional means, while HR gets a powerful recruitment and retention tool.

Another study cited in the article stated 70% of all employees (and 82% of Millennials) reported they would be more loyal to organizations that gave them a role in corporate sustainability efforts. That means energy managers can enjoy greater success by involving people directly, while the company can concurrently use those efforts to attract top talent. Tapping into that kind of people power is really a “win-win-win”—for the organization, its employees and the environment. 

Related links:

How to build a compelling case for energy efficiency programs in 8 steps

INFOGRAPHIC: The triple bottom line: A sustainable model for success

PODCAST: Learn how sustainable business practices can benefit your organization

INFOGRAPHIC: 8 things sustainable businesses care about

10 simple ways to reduce business energy costs

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