Motivation and Empowerment

Written by Jenni Yarwood, our Environmental Intern:

As part of my internship at the National Trust, encouraging behavioural change to reduce energy use across the Midlands, was a massive part of my role.

Through initial research and discussions, it was apparent that there were very different factors that motivated staff and volunteers to reduce their energy use. Discovering and using these factors would enable us to be more effective at encouraging and empowering people to reduce their energy use.

By conducting a survey, we aimed to find out what motivated people on a scale of 1-5 to reduce energy. I then produced graphs based on whether respondents were volunteers, consultancy, whole trust or operations so that communication through the different channels could be adapted, based on what motivators were shown to be more relevant in each case.

Consultancy and Operations were considerably more motivated by saving money (unsurprising as many will be budget holders), than the volunteers were. As a result, our communication with our volunteers needs to be more focused on the environmental benefits and conservation opportunities arising out of reducing spend on energy.

The survey also looked at whether people knew about the Midland’s Energy Strategy and in how much detail. This was so that more focus could be made on communicating with these people, so that they were aware of the aims and purpose of the Energy Strategy and could help us achieve our targets.

We also asked whether people intended on taking any steps to help the Trust meet the energy KPI targets, which showed that a large percentage of volunteers did not. This led us to question whether our volunteers felt empowered enough to make these behavioural changes to reduce energy use at properties. It is essential to make sure that all our staff and volunteers understand the Trust’s energy use and enable them to feel empowered to make behavioural changes, question current practices, or to motivate others to do the same. This will be the focus of the Environmental Practices work within the Midlands during 2013.

We will soon re-run the survey and hope to be able to see changes occurring as a result of the work we’ve put into our communication over recent months. We’ll let you all know how we get on….

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2 Responses to Motivation and Empowerment

  1. George Stevens says:

    Sounds like a really useful piece of work; understanding what motivates and drives staff and volunteers is critical in understanding how values and behaviours can be changed to help meet the NT’s energy reduction targets. I’ll be very interested in seeing how you develop your communications and awareness as a result.
    Well done.

  2. Behavioural change is often the cheapest and most effective energy saving measure, but is not always easy to implement. We have looked with clients at providing financial incentives to staff, based on savings produced, but the political implications of doing so vary widely from company to company. I look forward to hearing how the communication develops.

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