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  • Hamish Sherlock

5 tips to incentivise your team to go green


So you have now decided to run a Greener business, you have formed your Green Team and you are rearing to go. If you are not there yet, have a look at my last two blogs, they might help you make the final decision.

Like it happens with any project, even with the day to day running of your business, you need your team behind you. You all need to work towards a common goal, in this case, reducing your business Carbon Footprint, becoming a Greener business and reducing your energy, water and waste bills.

But the Hospitality industry as I know it, is a fast paced industry. Introducing changes can be hard and people can fall into old habits quite easily as decisions might be made in a split second.

Sustainable culture

Embedding a culture of sustainability within your team, is one of the keys to success, and also one of the most difficult things to do.

If you have followed my past two blogs, you probably have created a winning Green Team by now, this is excellent progress, now you need to keep them (and the rest of your staff) motivated, throughout the coming months, so that sustainability becomes second nature to all decisions taken in a daily basis.

Here are some suggestions:


- Share everything with everyone. Your Green goals and your Green Action Plan is not a secret of the management team. Tell everyone what you are trying to achieve, and how you plan to achieve it. Keep them informed of results periodically. Maybe you could release a monthly sustainability report, or quarterly. Email it to every person of your team, from the housekeeper to the finance manager. Display it on the staff cantine, even release it on your website and social media channels, however good or bad, sharing your results will show people you are trying to do something to make things better.

- Never knock back an idea. Encourage your team to come to you, or your Green Manager, with any Green ideas they might have. However big or small, if you do not feel their idea is implementable right now, thank them for bringing it to your attention, ask them to flesh it out a bit more, what would it take for the Green Team to implement this new idea? What are the barriers for implementation? How can it be broken down into small actions to implement over a period of time?

- Give your team training. People can only perform to the level of their knowledge, if they do not know how to segregate waste properly, they simply will not be able to do it. Identify their training needs, and find the best method for your operations, this might be departmental training with your Green Manager, or bringing in external trainers, or perhaps you want to try Online Training? Whatever works for your business, as long as you ensure it is not a once off scenario, training needs to be reinforced periodically.

- Create a Green suggestion Box with a reward system. Place the box in a staff area and tell everyone about it. Ideas can be written and placed on the box. Open the box monthly or quarterly, select the best or a few of the best ideas and rewards their owners. Rewards do not have to cost you a lot of money, it could simply be a dinner voucher, or swap vouchers with other Hospitality businesses over the year and use them as your prizes. You should also encourage the owner of a winning idea, to be the person in charge of implementing it at the business. This will give them a sense of ownership and satisfaction to see their idea implemented.

- Set departmental goals and challenges. A bit of competition can be a good thing! For example, set the baseline of each department, how much waste are they generating per month per department? What changes can they implement to reduce their waste? Or their department’s energy consumption? Set a clear goal, for example, the kitchen team will reduce their energy use by 10% in the next 3 months, or the bar will reduce their waste by 5% in the next 3 months. You can set goals by department or the overall business, as long as all members of the team know they are working towards something. If they manage to reduce the business energy consumption by 10% in 3 months, could you take them on a night out? The savings those reduction will generate for your business, are much larger than the cost of the night out!

A team that works well together will foster a spirit of camaraderie, loyalty, and synergy that will go on and shape the company culture. Working in a positive environment boosts morale and overall happiness and satisfaction, creating a feeling of belonging to something bigger than yourself.

Be a leader to a great team, and you have won half the battle.

Until next week

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