When you’re working to make green choices for your restaurant, it’s important to make sure everyone on your team is on the same page. It’s likely that many of your staff members will whole-heartedly jump on board with the environmentally friendly plan, but there will probably be others who are a little more unwilling to change their habits.
In order to avoid work conflict and to make the biggest improvement to your bottom line, it’s important that everyone understands the why behind the new procedures. When people understand the bigger picture, they are much more likely to get on board with the new plan than if the incentive is simply “because the boss said so.”
Here is a short list of the best ways to educate your staff on energy-saving techniques.
- Training Sessions
Conduct regular training sessions specifically focused on energy conservation. These sessions can cover topics such as the importance of energy conservation, how to use more efficient equipment, and practical tips for reducing energy consumption. Like any audience, your staff will be more engaged with a presentation from a dynamic speaker, so consider wisely who will give your talks. These sessions can be as short or long as you feel necessary, and it always works well to schedule them immediately before or after a shift.
- Financial Impact
Share with your staff that the new energy efficient procedures will give your bottom line a boost, allowing the restaurant and its employees to flourish. Once the energy bills have lowered, that money can be reinvested in other areas, such as employee incentives or equipment upgrades. Or, to make an even bigger difference in your community, a percentage of the savings could be donated to a charity or environmental group. Once your employees understand the potential financial impact, they will likely be more dedicated to the green plan.
- Create an Energy Conservation Policy
Develop an energy conservation policy for your restaurant that outlines your commitment to reducing energy consumption and sets specific goals. Share this policy with your staff and encourage them to actively participate in achieving the energy conservation targets. Consider posting this policy on a board where all the staff will be able to see it regularly and make note of the progress that has been made toward the goal.
- Involve Staff in Energy Audits
Conduct energy audits to identify areas where energy is being wasted. (Not sure how to conduct an energy article? Read this article!) Involve your staff in the process and, if you are doing the audit yourself, have trustworthy employees assist you in the process. Not only will this teach them new skills, but this involvement will make them more invested in the energy conservation efforts. After the audit, discuss ways that energy consumption could be improved.
- Recognize and Reward
Establish a recognition and reward system to acknowledge and appreciate staff members who consistently contribute to energy conservation. This can include incentives like employee of the month awards, small bonuses, or other meaningful rewards that demonstrate your appreciation for their efforts. This will help your employees to know that their hard work is seen, and it will motivate them to follow the new procedures.
- Continuous Monitoring and Feedback
Regularly monitor energy usage and share the results with your staff. This feedback can help them understand the impact of their actions and motivate them to continue practicing energy-saving behaviors. Consider having monthly meetings or emails to share where the restaurant is at in relation to your energy goals and encourage your staff to give you feedback as well, sharing their ideas of ways to improve.
Remember, educating your staff about energy conservation is an ongoing process. Encourage an open dialogue, be receptive to their ideas, and continuously seek ways to improve energy efficiency in your restaurant. While you, the restaurant owner, will personally profit from lowered energy bills, it is important that you do not make personal financial gain the focus of this initiative as that may decrease morale. Rather, foster a culture of energy conservation, and you can make a significant positive impact on both your business and the environment.