Matt Whitehead

Behavioural Change as a Transformation Tool

Matt WhiteheadIn every job there are things that you like and things you don’t. I don’t like the idea of having to take the car for work so much. I’d rather use my bike to get around more but accept that having decided to live in Gloucestershire, I need to. However, working with people is always one part of the job I relish. Our strapline: ‘making buildings work harder’ highlights the need to make changes to buildings for the benefit of people – be they staff, customers and visitors. This can also be done in tandem (no pun intended!) while delivering benefits to the business bottom line and the environment.

It makes sense then to obtain the feedback of occupants and users of that space when determining what to change in a building. After all, they will know better than anyone, how their part of the building actually performs. Although they may not always know the reasons why. Delivering a happy balance of enhanced user satisfaction and productivity together with savings in operational cost and carbon emissions is what LCMB works hard to deliver.

Making physical changes to a building will only produce a proportion of the levels of carbon and cost savings that organisations are increasingly demanding. A step change comes about by developing awareness, accountability and responsibility amongst occupiers of the building as to the part they need to play in their everyday actions to make their buildings work harder.

It’s often said that a well-planned behavioural change or staff engagement campaign, requires top level support. One of the most successful aspects of the change campaign we are running at Birmingham International Airport has been to develop locally devolved organisational accountability. At the Airport we agree a target level of energy savings for each distinct business unit to be met over the course of each financial year. As might be expected, once it is linked to individual targets and bonuses this behavioural change campaign is greatly elevated in importance.

To keep management focus and attention in a world of competing priorities, a continued, relevant and interesting dialogue is needed. We kept up this interest through monthly energy reports, broken down by business unit, to clearly show progress, focus actions and build some healthy competition between departments.

With senior management engaged, working with a supported group of operational staff becomes a whole lot easier.

We have had no shortage of keen volunteers for our ‘Energy Champions’ group at Birmingham Airport, and we are finding the same with a group of ‘Carbon Champions’ we are developing in a new piece of work at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. In both instances we hold a series of monthly workshops to inform, motivate and coach. The aim being that each individual contributes to delivering benefits in their own right, through for example, energy reduction projects. Just as important is also working with the champions to influence those in their departments and peer groups to also modify their behaviours.

People often ask about measuring the value of a behavioural change campaign. We seek to be very open about what can be expected and measured. Certainty the campaign has to link back to its founding objectives – this may be cost savings, or carbon savings or both. Individual projects generated as a direct result of the campaign with associated savings are a very tangible outcome (typically saving 2-5%). Even more significant than these, however are benefits directly aligned to the organisation; reductions in staff time or improvements in patient comfort in the NHS; or reduced queuing time or better controlled temperatures in retail units within an airport. In this regard, the building is truly working harder!

You can read more about our work with Birmingham International Airport by viewing the recent excerpt from an article in Airport World. The full case study on our work at Birmingham International Airport is available from here.

Contact Matt Whitehead on 01295 722 823 or by email to learn more about what our talented team at LCMB can do to reduce your organisations energy use and building operational costs.

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