Bee Net Zero

Why is staff engagement crucial to reaching your Net Zero targets and saving money on energy bills?

  • Wednesday, November 30, 2022
  • Posted By The Growth Company

Investing in energy efficiency could cut your company’s energy bills by an average of 30%. However, investing in these technologies, even without onsite renewables, comes with a financial outlay for a business. While energy efficiency pays for itself in the long term, it won’t always see a big return if you don’t have the support of individuals within your organisation.  
The money that you save through improving the energy efficiency of your building won’t stick for quite as long if you don’t engage with your employees and encourage them to change their everyday behaviours. You could have the most energy-efficient building in the world but if staff are leaving laptops plugged in overnight, turning up the heating while leaving windows open and plugging in electric heaters in the warehouse, you’re going to run into a problem.  
If you’re trying to save energy bills, there’s only so much that improving the energy efficiency of your buildings can do. You need to also engage employees.  
Net Zero is not just the responsibility of the leadership team to implement. Engaging staff with your energy goals is key to becoming a truly sustainable organisation and reducing your energy consumption. Here are just a few reasons why:  

Small actions make a difference

There are very small steps that make a huge difference to your energy consumption and contribute to your energy bills as well as your business's overall environmental impact. Reducing energy bills isn’t all about investing large amounts of money into onsite renewables or revamping your office to have the smartest green tech. Small things like turning electrical equipment off rather than leaving it on standby, ensuring windows are closed when the heating is on and recycling correctly can make a huge difference for many businesses.  
However, without getting employees on board, these small actions can be difficult to implement. Really, it will only be those who are already environmentally conscious that will pay attention to these small actions. Therefore, you must communicate with employees, make your environmental ambitions clear and show them the small things they can do that will make a positive contribution.  
Perhaps you should involve your employees in training or start a staff awareness campaign to ensure your environmental ambitions are mirrored in the smallest of actions.  

Meet less resistance  

By engaging employees, you can also ensure that your business meets less resistance when working towards net zero goals. If your energy-saving ambitions are communicated clearly and employees understand the role they can play, they’re more likely to help you along the journey.  
For example, office spaces usually have challenges with aircon and heating, some employees are normally warm while others are always cold. Explain your energy goals and work with employees to discover where the warmest points in the office are and shuffle your seating plans to marry up and you’ll see far fewer under-desk heaters, less sneakily turning up the heating and fewer opening windows while the heating is on full blast. Similarly, if employees know you’re trying to reduce waste and have signposted recycling stations, they will be more inclined to help.  
Businesses are made up of people and so, if you’re serious about reducing your carbon footprint you have to get your employees on board too or your efforts will just meet resistance and your goals won’t be achieved.  

Get realistic ideas  

In many businesses especially in sectors such as manufacturing, your staff are the ones on the ground experiencing the day-to-day activities in your workplace. Therefore, it’s likely that they have ideas of how you can save energy and improve efficiency. Perhaps they know of machinery that doesn’t need to be left on overnight or they have heard of other energy-saving technologies that could be useful to keep costs down. Handing over energy-saving ideas from management to the people who work for you day to day provides an opportunity for more practical interpretation and therefore, real results.  
Many businesses are now appointing Green Champions to help come up with unique, energy saving and sustainability incentives at the ground level. Senior management teams can only see and do so much, but Green Champions or groups can create real change with ideas that will make an impact. It’s a great way to bring together minds and encourage wider thinking around sustainability.  

Incentives can change behaviours  

For many employees, helping your business on the journey to net zero means changing pre-existing behaviours like how they get to and from work, reducing the amount of waste they create and more. If a business is truly committed to becoming net zero, having all employees drive individual cars to the site will stand in the way of progress, as will the use of single-use coffee cups and water bottles. However, it’s not that simple to encourage people to change the habit of a lifetime as many of us are very set in our ways. Therefore, leadership teams need to make it easy for employees to change their behaviours.  
This could come through actions like implementing cycle-to-work schemes, and season ticket discounts on public transport to encourage active travel and public transport. Or if driving is necessary businesses could consider installing EV chargers and even support EV financing to help employees adopt a low-emission form of transport. There are also simple, less expensive solutions that can make a difference such as installing secure bike racks or giving every member of staff a reusable metal water bottle and a reusable coffee cup that they can refill again and again.  
By engaging staff in your net zero targets, you’ll be able to identify areas that may need more support and encouragement to drive change, then you can use creative incentives to promote behavioural change that lasts.  

How can Bee Net Zero Help?  

Bee Net Zero Partner, the GC Business Growth Hub offers training for businesses to help all employees understand the measures the business is taking to become net zero and the reasons for doing so. Through one-to-one support and cohort support through the Journey to Net Zero programme and Skills for Growth, Business Growth Hub aims to embed training and knowledge into an organisation, to build up competence and capability which will help contribute to net zero targets.  
To find out more about how the GC Business Growth Hub can help to engage your staff, visit their website.  
To find out more about how the Bee Net Zero partnership can help your organisation to save money on energy bills and lower your carbon footprint, contact us.