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The Hawthorne Effect: How-to leverage your employees in energy management planning

Your most important asset is the people that you employ

Technology continues to penetrate business; however, it’s our people that we continue to depend on the most. Our people know the facilities, equipment, and improvement opportunities better than anyone else.  When I put it like that, isn’t it obvious that your first action to reduce energy should start with your people?

If you’ve been following my recent posts about energy management you know that I encourage companies to begin with a strong foundation built on an understanding of what’s been done in the past, who’s involved in the present, and a clear picture of your historical baseline metrics.  If you haven’t done that, stop, give me a call, get caught up and then read the rest of this post.

Employee empowerment is a strong motivator and by increasing your monitoring ability you will trigger a behavioural change based on the everyone’s desire to perform well.  It’s known as the Hawthorne Effect and its simple really, you haven’t asked them to change, only to be aware and reduce where possible.  It’s an unrealistic expectation to think that every employee will comply and your realized improvement will not be significant; however, the information and feedback will be.


Leverage The Hawthorne Effect to improve your energy management efforts


For those of you who already have your foundation built, it’s now time to build your plan and put it into action.  I suggest starting simple, follow the path of least resistance, and take action by asking your employees to help with your energy management efforts. It will cost nothing and provide meaningful results.

Your employees care about their company and they care about their performance; leverage that motivation to succeed by simply asking them to help.  Involve them by teaching them about your electricity expense and the effect that the rising price of electricity will have on the business. Show them how managing costs works like generating new business – a 1% reduction in electricity costs can lead to a 10% increase in profitability (based on a firm’s net margin %).  Ask them to help you to achieve a target set for the next month, but don’t ask them to change anything in their day to day activity.  Simply request that they be aware, and if they have an opportunity to reduce their usage that they act on it.

Remember to collect employee feedback

Collecting employee feedback will be of utmost importance.  Find out those who were active in reducing consumption, THANK THEM, and find out what changes they made.  Learn from them to understand if you can apply their actions elsewhere and see if they’re interested in helping to implement them.  The early adopters will turn into internal champions and will be your best ally in implementing further improvements; ultimately, helping to lower consumption costs and increase profits.

Try putting the Hawthorne Effect into practice to improve your energy management efforts. Let me know how it goes – I’ll be looking forward to your call.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about energy management planning from Steve, be sure to read his blog series that explains energy management using a hockey-team analogy.

If you have any questions or comments please share them in the comments section below.