Green Teams can be invaluable during the initial project phase of a sustainability programme and will then provide the continuous momentum that’s necessary to create an enduring culture of sustainability within the company. Read on to find out how to make sure your Green Team is as effective as it can be.
A mix of enthusiasm and experience
The key to the success of a Green Team is ensuring that there is representation from all levels of seniority within the business. The team will hugely benefit from the enthusiasm and fresh ideas of junior staff members who are closely attached to the hotel’s working practices, but it must be balanced by senior staff members who have the authority to ensure that proposed initiatives are effectively implemented.
"Our Green Team was initially a staff idea and is made up of people who have a natural interest in the subject. There’s nothing imposed. If the ideas come from the team, we find they get introduced much more quickly than if it was just a diktat from above."
Orient Express Hotels
Representation from all departments
Your Green Team should have a reach that extends throughout your entire hotel. Most importantly there should be representatives from Facilities, Housekeeping, Purchasing, Catering and Front of House. This will make sure that the whole spectrum of the hotel’s operations is considered.
Training and development
Providing your Green Team with basic project management and sustainability training will empower them to be much more effective in their roles. It will help to develop them from people with good intentions to those who can really affect change, whilst sticking to budgetary and time constraints.
Investing in their professional development is also a great way to thank your employees for devoting their time to helping to make your hotel a better place.
Maintain the momentum
Meetings should be scheduled on a regular basis, although the frequency is best agreed by the team once it has become established. Some businesses find that monthly meetings are effective because they allow them to focus on a broad range of initiatives and keep the momentum and enthusiasm high. Others find that quarterly or bimonthly meetings are better because they allow more time for actions to be completed, resulting in more productive meetings.
Come up with a 12 month campaign calendar to allow the focus of the Green Team to shift to different topics throughout the year and link these topics to the hotel’s broader sustainability goals.
Each meeting should result in an action plan with persons responsible and timelines for completion, together with any associated costs.
Create subcommittees for passion projects and specific interests
Encourage team members to take ownership of their own projects to allow them to work on areas that are of particular importance to them. For example, one team member might be particularly interested in running a community outreach programme which could run throughout the year alongside other scheduled Green Team initiatives.
Senior management support
Senior management must stand behind the actions of the Green Team. This means more than just agreeing a budget for their activities. In addition to this, there also needs to be a defined reporting structure that links the Team to senior management. Most importantly, the Green Team members need to be allocated time within their weekly schedules so they can complete actions from their meetings.
It can be extremely beneficial to include the head of the Green Team in Management quarterly environmental meetings so that they can act as a conduit between the units.
Spread the message
Create posters, a blog, a newsletter or a twitter account to spread the sustainability message to other staff members and to show them how they can get involved. You can also use these to share and celebrate successes and to name check those people that brought about the success. You could even share tips and advice on how people can bring sustainability into their own homes – the further the message can be spread, the deeper the change will go!
Make it fun
The best ideas will come when people feel relaxed enough to be able to suggest them in a friendly and fun environment. By breaking down the natural barriers that exist between people who are coming together from different departments and with different levels of seniority, you will help your team to come up with way more inventive and adventurous ideas to make the hotel more sustainable.
Your Green Team members are giving up their time and taking on extra workload to make their company a better place. So make sure they feel appreciated!
As discussed above, investment in their professional development is one great way to show them how much you appreciate the work they’re doing. Another is ensuring that they’re given the management support to get their sustainability work done.
Make sure that the Green Team are publically recognised and thanked for their achievements too.
"Our team view the Green Team as a very significant unit in our Hotel. Without their efforts, our commitment to the environment would not be so successful."
Landmark Hotel, London
How we can help
With an extensive background in training and engaging staff in sustainability initiatives, Green Steps will help you to create an effective, energized Green Team.
We deliver fun and informative training on sustainability and project management, which will give your team the tools they need to make lasting change within your hotel.