Developing a Competitive Environmental Program Within Your Chain

By Arthur Weissman President and CEO, Green Seal, Inc. | September 02, 2010

In our last article, we outlined how hospitality companies can develop and implement corporate environmental programs throughout their organization. In this article we focus on building an employee recognition program that supports the implementation of a new environmental program and can provide staff with training and leadership opportunities. In addition to setting up online tools, reporting templates, and supportive resource staff to help your frontline employees adopt your Brand's new environmental program, a successful environmental program is also able to engage employees on a personal level. By tying an employee's individual motivations to the strategic mission, goals, and targets of your new environmental program, you can encourage a higher quality and frequency of their engagement needed to achieve the performance goals of the program.

Targeting Your Audience

In the development of any program it is important to clearly identify and understand the intended audience or target group. Within your Brand there are many levels of administration and service provision that will be involved in the implementation of your new environmental program. In identifying who will need recognition to adopt the program, consider the following motivational incentives for each type of employee:

  • Senior Management can usually support ideas that assure efficiency, improve general attitudes of employees, increases ROIs and productivity, and build customer/ employee loyalty.
  • Staff Employees can support ideas if their input and contributions are recognized by peers and supervisors, they are provided an array of attractive and individually unique rewards, and there is open communication with all levels of management.
  • Program Managers commit to ideas that support efficient administration, make the workplace exciting, and foster a sense of pride in the workforce.

In developing your incentive program to support the roll-out of your new environmental program, you may also want to survey what motivates the members of your Green Teams on the departmental or property level. Ask them why they are interested in helping to promote the new measures proposed and what they hope to achieve for the Brand, as well as personally, by meeting the goals you have set.

Identify Program Goals and Develop Criteria

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.