RBS and Tesco extend employee engagement programmes

EXCLUSIVE: RBS and Tesco have both confirmed that their respective behaviour change initiatives are being rolled out across the wider workforce after successful trial periods saw increased efficiencies and reduced costs.

The art of delivering a successful behaviour change campaign was outlined in edie’s recent webinar, hosted in association with EDF Energy.

During the hour-long webinar, RBS’s engagement lead for workplace sustainability Michael Lynch reflected on the success of the company’s JUMP project, which encourages employees to engage in energy saving, sustainable travel, waste reduction and other in-house sustainability actions. 


Securing support

Operated by sustainability rewards scheme developer Green Rewards, the scheme organises colleagues into departmental teams, with a leaderboard displaying the performance of each team and individual. Winning teams and individuals are then rewarded with vouchers for outlets such as iTunes and Marks & Spencer (M&S) each month. 

The FTSE 100 firm rolled it out across its UK and Ireland facilities last year after a successful pilot led to a 5% electricity reduction and 500,000 disposable cups being correctly recycled. And just this week, RBS has launched the initiative company-wide to engage 70,000 colleagues across the globe.

Asked during webinar about the biggest barrier to initial rollout, Lynch highlighted the firm’s inability to measure the initial output of activity due to a varied performance of metering systems at each of the company’s sites.

“The biggest challenge was proving the benefits,” he said. “That was probably the most difficult part in terms of securing support for the pilot in the first place, knowing that we wouldn’t be able to attribute much of the benefits that we see directly to the activity that we are launching. That is always going to ask questions or concerns by leaders across different parts of the piece.”

Lynch said that, to measure the success of the project, RBS had to measure the action inputs of each colleague. During the pilot, it was reported that more than 2,500 activities had been undertaken to reduce environmental impacts, with 80% of in-scope colleagues signed up.

“It is sometimes best to start with a smaller sample, like the pilot that we did, and prove the benefits in the best way that you can,” he said. “We’ve done that chiefly through feedback that we have received about how people felt about it, but also through the financial and environmental benefits of the energy saving. Then you can build a bullet proof business case for a larger rollout.”  

Energy Matters

Another company that has secured success in this area is Tesco, which has managed to reduce energy impacts and increase profits across its Bakery and Hot Counter shopping areas.

The company’s Energy Matters initiative trained 4,125 colleagues across 165 stores in energy-saving best-practices. By adopting simple techniques such as switching off equipment during the quieter hours of operation, Tesco achieved significant drop in energy consumption. In fact, the six-week trial saw energy savings of 318,181kWh and 139tCO2e in bakeries alone.

Speaking during edie’s webinar, Tesco’s energy manager Rebecca Douglas revealed that the retailer was in the process of launching the Energy Matters programme across all of its large format stores.

Douglas explained that the key to the project’s success was to integrate it into the everyday activities of Tesco employees.

“We tried to make sure that we built the programme into business-as-usual processes,” she said. “Any processes that are happing already, if you can add the behaviour change programme into the agenda, then that just makes it flow. It will run without someone specifically there to make sure it is running all the time – it just becomes business as usual.”

This edie webinar was recorded on 17 April 2018. The full webinar session can be viewed on-demand here.

George Ogleby

Comments (1)

  1. Bill Fotsch says:

    Industry leaders, like Southwest Airlines, Capital One and BHP Billiton, and hundreds of private companies empower employees to think and act like owners, driving and participating in the profitable growth of the company. These Forbes and Harvard Business Review articles provide more background: https://hbr.org/2018/01/more-than-a-paycheck http://www.forbes.com/sites/fotschcase/2016/05/31/engage-your-employees-in-making-money/

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