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Energy»Green shoots in an economic downturn

»Friday, July 17,2009

What measures can your business take to firm itself up for the long termWe can’t directly control the economy, which, in many people’s opinions, is currently on a downturn. So what can be done? The smart organisations will be using the downtime to re-evaluate and re-organise. Many organisations have made savings by reducing headcount and this is an opportunity to engage remaining staff in aspects of the business where it has been difficult, in the past, to get them on board.

Having reduced headcount, it is an ideal time to redesign job specifications and, ideally, the competency framework, to ensure that the changes become established. A job’s level of responsibility, degree of autonomy, and span of control all contribute to employee satisfaction.

So how might this process benefit the organisation? Take an organisation who wants to further implement their environmental policy; reduce costs, enhance their reputation and retain quality staff.

Designing responsibilities towards the environment into management job descriptions is frequently overlooked, yet a powerful way to embed the environmental policy. Naturally it needs to be done with care, consideration and consultation. Redesigning a job description with the job holder’s input allows the process to be engaging and motivating. Doing so without their input is likely to cause the opposite effect, perhaps leading, unwittingly, to a further undesired reduction in headcount!

But is it just as simple as re-writing a job description? It is unlikely that all individuals will have the skills, knowledge and motivation ready on tap to fulfil the new requirements. Therefore, businesses should take a further opportunity to motivate staff by providing them with necessary training and development opportunities. Setting goals is a well known motivational technique. Working with the job holder, new responsibilities can be agreed, similarly defining what skills and knowledge are required, by when, and how the individual will reach the agreed goals.

By investing in staff during a downturn, talent within the business is more likely to stay when the economy recovers. Furthermore, the business will be well placed to continue to run more efficiently due to the up-skilling of management, who can do their work in a sustainable fashion, and lead their teams to do the same. The beauty of training all management to do their work in a sustainable fashion means that you no longer have to run endless campaigns asking staff to “turn off lights” and “print on both sides.”

These small issues are comparatively minimal, though. In most jobs, there are strategic opportunities to move towards efficient working. Coming back to our example of a green business, they have a design department that designs energy using devices. The design manager’s “new and improved” energy efficiency focus, as a result of job redesign, will be ensuring that the design team is designing products that genuinely save the end user energy. Not only will this improve the impact the business is having on the environment, but it will also enhance the business’ reputation and add to sales, as consumers are more likely to buy a product that costs less money to run.

There are some inspiring ways in which management can improve their business by “thinking green.” Writing these into job descriptions means they can be up-skilled to be able to do it, and rewarded for it in the company’s appraisal system.

Recommended Companies

Ampleo Limited
Ampleo offer Environmental Recruitment, Training and Development services as well as Environmental Change Management. Ampleo are a Chartered Therapist
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