Employees are MVPs when it comes to winning the energy game.

Saving energy is a team sport! It’s not rocket science – it’s as much about profitability as it is about food and labor costs. The global financial firm Deloitte recently conducted a survey finding that 60 percent of company CFOs questioned saw sustainability as a key driver of financial results. Just think about it – if you could cut energy use by 10 percent in your business, what would that do to your profits?

But there’s more – much more. It’s also about competitive advantage. In a poll conducted by the research firm Technomic, 52 percent of consumers asked said they would visit sustainable restaurants more frequently than restaurants lacking a commitment to the cause. Now that’s a loyalty program that won’t cost you a cent!

There’s no doubt that conserving energy requires thought, a clear action plan and quantifiable goals, but you’re not alone in the effort. Your employees can be your most valuable players in this game. If they don't buy in, it cannot be done. So, how do you win them over?

  1. Define sustainability and its value to your organization. Sustainability is a great buzzword, but what does it really mean? Definitions range from the highly philosophical to the highly practical. What resonates here, however, is the concept of resiliency and the ways that companies can weather challenges over time. Sustainability speaks to the business case and its importance to the financial health and longevity of the organization.

  2. Gather your team. Profitability requires everyone to pull together. So does energy conservation. Bring your most important asset – your employees – into the game. Put your own commitment behind it to brainstorm and collaborate on specific ways each member can contribute based on job function. Develop the plan together. Contribution builds buy-in.

  3. Set goals. Just as you regularly set sales projections and financial goals, include energy conservation in the mix, setting quantifiable and achievable goals. While employees can’t affect the cost of electricity, they can reduce the amount used within their work area.

  4. Share the rewards. Energy conservation requires daily attention in order to keep everyone enthusiastically onboard, so bring it up in your weekly meetings. Ask for new energy-saving ideas, share your progress, and celebrate a job well done.

  5. Keep it fun. Your program will be infinitely more successful if you keep it positive. Applaud results, but don’t turn them into yet another performance measurement. Instead, brainstorm with your team about the kind of incentives that are most meaningful to them. We’re not talking raises and bonuses – at least not at this point. Could your employees use two tickets to the movies? A gift card? Tickets to a local amusement park? This one’s all carrot and no stick!

  6. Sing it proud. Customers care about sustainability, so leverage your energy-saving program to your competitive advantage. Consider how you can get your energy-saving message to them. Whether you decide to use social media, your website, store signage, or another method, make sure your message of sustainability reaches your customers so they know you’re doing your part.

Tracking the numbers can be difficult, as most energy bills don’t tell you where the energy is used or when. Your answer could be in a straightforward, cost-effective energy management program. For more information, visit the Powerhouse Dynamics website.

Expert Takes, Feature