As a business owner in the foodservice industry, you may try hard to implement a “green” policy, but without the support of your staff, you’re likely to be fighting a losing battle before the war has even begun. Studies show that restaurants and other businesses who involve their staff in the brainstorming, implementation and execution of sustainable practices, are more likely to see results. Even small things like encouraging staff members to switch off the light every time they leave the room can result in major savings for your company.

An article published in Big Hospitality UK recently revealed that by asking staff to adopt a more mindful attitude towards energy consumption, chains like Pizza Hut were even able to decrease their energy consumption by 15%. While coming up with ways to get your staff involved in “greening” your business may seem daunting, there is an upside. The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce (visit their website for ideas on how to go green) suggests that incorporating environmentally friendlier practices actually makes for a happier work place. That’s right: “greener” practices and happier employees. Do we have your attention now?

According to a statement released by the CRFA in October, Canada’s restaurant industry added more than 30,000 jobs between January and August 2012. As more employers are welcoming new staff, there’s never been a better time to learn how to create your “green” dream team in any work space. So, what are you waiting for? Here are some great tips for getting every employee on board with more sustainable policies in the workplace.

Have your staff team up

When we said “dream team”, we weren’t joking. Bringing staff members together who already have an interest in environmental sustainability and “green” practices is a great way to make sure your policies are taken seriously and get off on the right foot. Restaurant Central has some great tips for bringing together the perfect staff members for the job, among the most important of which include integrating management into the group and ensuring the presence and active participation of representatives from every department (kitchen crew, accountant, server etc.) within the business.

Engage your employees

When things get hot in the kitchen, it can be hard to find time to sit down with your entire staff in an effort to brainstorm sustainable ideas. In reality however, when it comes to motivating staff to take part in company policies, involving them in the decision making process is the best way to ensure they’ll be on board with the execution. Try to avoid delegating and making too many decisions at the top without discussing it with your staff. The more involvement employees have in the making of a policy, the more likely they are to see it upheld in the long term.

Appreciation and Rewards

Showing your appreciation is a huge part of getting people excited about green policies. Staff members understand that their job may ride on living up to standards put in place by business operators and managers, but when it comes to keeping morale above the bare minimum, a small “thank you” can make a big difference. Another way to get your staff to pitch-in on the “green” front is to offer rewards for members who live up to and exceed “green” expectations. From something as small as an appreciation certificate or a sweet treat to something as substantial as a quarterly prize like a donation to a charity of choice or half a day off for being the “greenest” employee on the scene – there are endless ways you can raise the morale of your staff through incentive programs and rewards.

Encourage professional growth

As an employee, you don’t always have the time, or the motivation, to commit to something that won’t contribute on paper to your professional development. A great way to spark employee engagement is by offering participants or team members complimentary workshops with the dual function of increasing awareness of sustainable trends and introducing new knowledge or tools that can be used throughout their career. Taking part in workshops that discuss concepts like energy efficiency and leadership is a great way for team members to feel as if their involvement in the implementation of “green” policies will contribute to their professional development in the long run.

Create a competitive and fun atmosphere

Last but definitely not least, create a fun environment for members of your staff who are involved in the implementation of “green” practices. Keep it light and, once in a while, spice things up with a little competition (this is where incentives come in handy). From pop quizzes to brainstorming challenges – Who can come up with a “green” mascot? Who can create a “green” slogan for your business? -  everyone likes a little recognition and by ensuring your employees are supportive of sustainable policies, everyone comes out a winner.

For more information about how to convince your employees to go “green”, read this informative brochure, published by CBI, called Getting Involved: a guide to switching your employees on to sustainability, a great resource for all operators within the industry looking to engage employees in sustainable practices. Full of case studies, it just proves that you too can create a “green” dream team that you, and your business, can be proud of.

Questions or comments? Leave them below in the “comments” section! We’d love to hear from you.

 image credit: TenerifeLanparty