Five Tips for HR to Drive Clean Energy Initiatives
We’ve all heard of global warming. Here’s how your HR department should help employees make positive changes to drive clean energy initiatives and reduce your organisation’s overall impact on the environment.
How do your employees arrive to work?
The UK government has joined Germany, Netherlands, Norway, France and California in pledging toward clean energy initiatives, to turn toward electric vehicles. Norway have set the date to phase out fossil-fuel vehicles as early as 2025. Your company has the opportunity to excel and drive change by investing in your employees and the environment. Petrol and diesel vehicle sales will be banned in the UK by 2040. Some news articles covering this announcement suggest a switchover to electric vehicles will occur mid 2020’s.
Here’s a list of five initiatives you might want to consider offering your employees:
1. Add charging points to the company car park
Electric vehicles need charging. It isn’t expensive. A quick google search will tell you it costs about £3 for a full charge, which one average will get someone around 150 miles. Any office based company should really have the option to charge vehicles on site, or at least have plans to integrate charging points in the future. There are even government grants in place for adding charging points to your office!
2. Consider implementing flexitime
Allowing employees to fit individual circumstances into the working equation could increase the number of employees willing to use public transport, or carpool to work. Investigate if there are any reasonable ways you can get your employees on the bus toward a greener work journey.
I previously worked for a large retailer, and my usual working hours were supposed to be 9am – 6pm. To drive my car from my hometown and park nearby cost me around £13 a day. However, to catch the bus cost me £4.50.
My only dilemma was the first bus arrived in the city where I worked at 10 past 9… So, eventually I had a chat with my boss, and managed to figure out a change in my working schedule which meant I could start at 9:30 and finish at 6 still so I could get the bus. It took me a couple of weeks to build up some confidence to ask for a change in my working schedule, as I didn’t want to get in the boss’s bad books so soon after starting. What if you have employees who are right now wishing they could ask you the same thing, but don’t have the courage?
Perhaps opening a dialogue with your employees about flexitime or amended working hours might help to get them catching the bus or carpooling, which would save them money, and (fingers crossed) increase sustainability
3. Set up an electric vehicle contribution scheme
Perhaps your company can afford to contribute an amount per month to employees who are willing to make the shift to electric vehicles. Or inform your employees of available grants – currently up to £4,500 for certain models.
Offering further financial support from the workplace may just be the nudge some employees need to make their work journey cleaner and better for the environment.
4. Get involved in the Bike2work scheme
This is a fairly widespread scheme. Consider investing in a bike storage area, and get your employees fit and healthy whilst saving money and improving sustainability
Here’s a link for more details on how you can register as an employer:
5. Offer to help your employees affording passes for public transport (season pass loans)
A season ticket for the train or bus can be expensive upfront, especially for employees just starting, such as graduates. An example that springs to mind is a friend of mine, a recent university graduate who got himself a job in London. He opted to commute (not wanting to pay London living prices) from an area near Cambridge. He pays around £7,000 a year currently for his season ticket on the train, which is a very large financial commitment for someone burdened with student debt, and lots of other costs to consider having just left university. Fortunately, his parents were able to help him with this investment.
Some people aren’t fortunate enough to be able to afford this sort of payment upfront. With some consideration your company may be able to help! Think about what it might cost for your company to implement a scheme to pay for the tickets upfront on an employee’s behalf, and take the cost out of future wage packages. This may require a further form of contractual agreement.
Not all of these tips will be practical for all companies, due to company size, location, or the nature of the work! Comment below with your stories and how they’ve benefitted your workplace, or any other ideas you might have for reducing your environmental impact.
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