Enhancing Corporate Recycling through Communication
Imogen Palmer, marketing communications manager with UK online B2B marketer of workplace supplies, Poole Bay Holdings, considers the use of internal communication channels by facilities managers to promote company-wide recycling schemes.
As the effects of pollution on our planet become increasingly worrying, organisations are facing increased demand from customers and employees alike to ramp up social responsibility and reduce negative environmental impact as much as possible.
The implementation of recycling bins in the workplace is just one simple step that companies are taking to assist with the reduction of recyclable waste being deposited to landfill. Amplifying recycling efforts within an organisation will inevitably make the company more appealing, but will also bring monetary savings, with recycling being a more cost-effective option when compared to the disposal of general waste.
Although the installation of recycling bins is an extremely positive move for any organisation, the success of any workplace recycling scheme is dependent on the motivation of the workforce to ensure their waste is separated and deposited into the correct bins.
Email is a cost-effective and extremely easy way of disseminating information to all your staff at once but doesn’t come without its downfalls. Some of the most challenging employees to communicate with may choose to ignore messages and some emails run the risk of being too lengthy and difficult to read. However, email communication will inevitably form a large part of any internal communications plan. If written well it will encourage discussion and increase motivation amongst your employees.
Facilities managers implementing a recycling scheme can use email communication to relay the project objectives, intended goals and tracking measures before the bins are put in place. This may include the current cost of general waste disposal and the savings target that is hoped to be achieved following the installation of recycling facilities. Upon implementation, concise monthly updates, including easy to read statistics on how the bins have increased levels of recycling and reduced general waste would be interesting and may help to motivate the team as they see their recycling efforts come to fruition.
Unlike email, signage cannot be avoided. Most recycling bins will have some form of signage on them to mark the appropriate waste, but this is usually a small sign on the front of the bin with a visual image of some of the items that can be deposited. By implementing clear signage at eye-level above the bins, staff are continuously reminded of the types of waste for each bin, and the message that the company is taking recycling seriously is reinforced.
It may seem old-school but printed company newsletters, using recycled paper of course, are still a great way of communicating to staff in a more visually appealing and personable way. From personal experience, even those staff members that are reluctant to open emails will happily sit at their desk reading company news in a printed format.
The use of good imagery can show details of the recycling project such as bin locations and statistics, meaning that the text about the campaign can be summarised into an easily digestible piece. The tone of newsletters is often more relaxed so facilities managers could use this medium to add fun facts or perhaps a recycling quiz, keeping the scheme at the forefront of employee minds.
Intranet & Internal Social Media
Intranet sites provide employees with a go to place for all company documentation and news items. Details of the recycling scheme can be clearly stored so employees can find the original project objectives and up to date performance results—whenever they choose to do so.
Internal social media is now also prevalent in many larger organisations. This is great for regular short snippets of information and could be used to show images of team members sorting their waste in front of the new bins, providing approval has been sought from those appearing in the picture.
If you have budget available to do so, low-value staff gifts are always well received within an organisation. Quite frankly, everyone loves a freebie, and internal gifts are often used daily when they are applicable to the working environment. Facilities managers must remember though that any gift should tie in well with the project they are promoting. This could be something as simple as a pen made from recycled materials, branded with your project name.
When thinking about any internal communications, put yourself in the shoes of employees around your organisation to ensure that your messaging is applicable to everyone. It should be clear, concise and free of errors. When you are asking for feedback or suggestions, make sure that you follow it up and communicate the outcome to your staff. This will make your team feel part of the project and therefore motivate them to do more to achieve your recycling scheme targets.
It is also worth remembering that a recycling scheme is an ongoing project and your communications plan should reflect that. It’s easy to start off all guns blazing and then fizzle out when your next project takes priority. For continued success, regular updates are necessary.